Rumi Forum's blog on Hizmet, Fethullah Gulen, peacebuilding, education and interfaith efforts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Most Recent Reviver in the ‘Ulama Tradition: The Intellectual ‘Alim, Fethullah Gulen

In the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Islamic world underwent a deep crisis and two approaches emerged to offer potential solutions. One of these places emphasis on the state and politics and is committed to building a new society and political entity. The other is based upon social reform and intellectual transformation. The key words for the first perspective are politics and the state, whereas education and spiritual improvement are the key terms for the latter.

Fethullah Gülen is currently one of the most prominent representatives of the second line. Thus, it would be appropriate to consider him as a social reviver whose origins are in the ulama (Islamic scholars) tradition. This paper will draw attention to the features of Gülen’s perspectives on civil space and how his efforts to raise a new, educated generation differ from other reformist or revival movements.

The framework of civil society is shaped by religion in Islamic history; in other words, the most powerful civil space is implemented by Islam, through which religiously derived prescriptions protect the public from its administration. In connection with this, religious communities, Sufi orders, ahi (trade guilds with attached religious scholars), foundations, and dervish lodges have traditionally constituted the most influential, permanent, and functional civil organizations.

In many ways, the norms of these organizations continue to have a strong presence, despite radical splits.

However, contrary to what Montesquieu, Witfogel, or Marx argued, the fact that civil society has not been formulated as a concept in the Islamic world is not because there is an absolute state despotism, which effectively puts all societal life behind bars. In the historical experience, there have been a greater number of free and autonomous spaces in the Islamic world than the West has ever had. These spaces were not patriarchal or hierarchical to the exaggerated extent that has been claimed. Islamic societies never felt the need for a civil society similar to that of the West.

As far as civil society in Turkey in its simplest form is concerned, it is NGOs, which represent the space outside the official domain that first spring to mind. Modern civil society groups or associations, which operate within the secular framework and aim to be influential over decision-making mechanisms, are alienated from society, for they are based upon a different historical and social legacy. In the final analysis, they favor the state’s presumptions over the interests of society and civil initiatives, much like a trade union, which always sides with the employer. Leaders of these modern civil institutions distance themselves from the public, in a way similar to that of secular intellectuals who have a self-proclaimed mission to illuminate society in the framework of Enlightenment philosophy, as they place their allegiance with the state authority, and not with the civil space. As a result, we can argue there is a serious problem of “civil representation” in Turkey and much of the Islamic world.

In contrast, Fethullah Gülen is truly a civil leader. The community, which has gathered around him is carrying forward a profound historical legacy with a modern approach, and thus it is possible to talk about a natural representation within this formation.

If the Muslim world is to have civil spaces, then this cannot occur if they are separated from religion or from community leaders who have taken as their basis the historical and intellectual heritage of Islam. In this regard, a powerful return of a new group of scholars and thinkers whose reference is the religious sources—not those intellectuals who expect a signal or an invitation from the government—to what is social and public, is necessary, at least at an intellectual level. The example of Fethullah Gülen indicates such attempts will prove successful.

State Islam and Civil Islam

Historically speaking, the pioneer of State Islam was Jamaladdin Afghani, while the pioneer of Civil Islam was Muhammad Abduh. Not in their references but with regards to socio-political objectives there are essential differences between these two approaches. Anyone wishing to consider the various attitudes of the Muslim actor and how he has been influenced by Islam and the spirit of the time must be aware of the significant divergence between these lines of thought; for failing to be aware of this distinction will always lead to an incorrect appraisal of the matter.
State Islam: Reforming society was also important, but capturing the state would necessarily involve securing control over the society and institutions too, and this would facilitate the realization of social reforms within the state organization. To achieve this, the first Islamist generation adopted a top-down policy for Islamicization. Thus, State Islam, in accordance with its nature, would be based upon an official religious ideology with obscure totalitarian tendencies. The objective was to reform the world, not by “becoming Muslim” but by “making Islamic.”
Civil Islam. Civil Islam is based on a societal project, which embarks on the mental reformation of individuals. This line takes as its basis the individual’s introspection into his or her religious convictions in order to make corrections, thus freeing himself or herself in the face of tradition, and actively using reason. It lays a higher importance on the society than on the state, and it is motivated to achieve the general reformation of the society, not the state, for it is founded on the acceptance of diversity and is, therefore, at peace with variation. Its cultural and social identity is dominant over political and military identity. Thus, it seeks a bottom- up change, which advocates “becoming Muslim.” Its emphasis is on the periphery and change, rather than on the center, though it does not explicitly exclude what is political.

Civil Islam is an alternative to political or military challenges to the world, and since it emphasizes a pluralistic worldview, it is more tolerant of different lifestyles, religions and cultures. As opposed to State Islam, Civil Islam maintains democratic participation rather than the central ideology of sovereignty, and brings politics one level down.

Islam, according to the viewpoint of Civil Islam, is not just a state organization or a political movement; rather, it is an umma or community project, which surpasses politics without rejecting the political dimension of life and its positive and essential effects. God’s absolute will is not manifested simply within the state, but rather on a society comprised of individuals who are aware of their rights and responsibilities. A universal social project can be used as an alternative to the homogeneous universal-state of modernity. This project should shrink the state and strengthen society.

Civil Islam argues that social reform is so wide-reaching that it cannot be handled only by politics and state. The question, “Why did the Islamic world fall behind the West?” asked by Islamists so frequently since the previous century, needs to be replaced by the question, “What is Islam’s answer to the modern world?” Today, historical, theoretical, and practical answers need to be found to this second question. For the first question makes us think strictly in a Cartesian, progressive, and analytical way, and leads to confusion—and a right answer can never be found for an incorrect question, or one asked wrongly. Therefore, while Muslim activists are aggressive, Muslim intellectuals are apologetic.

Questions like, “How can we become a political government?” or “How can a state be taken over?” do not make any sense in the context of Civil Islam. Rather, questions about the democratic legitimacy of a government’s cultural and societal background, the democratization of the state and its institutional structure, the efficient operation of a state based on the superiority of jurisprudence, and how to make the public more influential over decision-making mechanisms are prominent today. State Islam acceded to the government from time-to-time or became a joint partner (Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Senegal, etc.), but this did not generate any serious improvement in the overall situation. This means that forming a government on its own or engaging in politics (as a nation state, on modern terms) is not sufficient for becoming a universal alternative.

Islamic rhetoric deals with the problems of humanity and the world; therefore, its agenda is not confined to certain national problems but rather concerned with what is universal. Islam demurs to classic modernity, as do Judaism and Christianity. This is an important point requiring a dialogue between religions stemming from the same source, and other holy and ancient traditions. Fethullah Gülen’s emphasis on dialogue is, therefore, not a coincidence.

Fethullah Gülen: Intellectual-’Ulama

Having endured a difficult period in its modern history, the Muslim world now seems to be heading towards a new intellectual- ‘ulama period. Ernest Geilner and Serif Mardin try to understand the modern Muslim world by categorizing it as High Islam and Low Islam, but this conceptualization is erroneous. In fact, Islamic society is composed historically and intellectually of two main groups: when it comes to their intellectual capacity people are of the educated elite or scholars (havas) or the laypeople (avam). Belief, however, does not vary in Islamic society. In principle, there is no difference in belief between the educated elite and laypeople, but their speech, expression and exposition levels are different. Just as there is no difference in belief between Baki, the most distinguished person indiwan literature for example, and Karacaoglan, a folk poet, or between Mawlana Jalaladdin Rumi and Yunus Emre, so there is no difference in faith, deed, vision and the understanding of the meaning of life between the elite and laypeople people of the Muslim world either. Based strictly on the differences in speech, expression and exposition, it is more appropriate to call educated Muslims kitabi (lettered ones) and uneducated Muslims ummi (unlettered ones). Of course, ummi does not mean ignorant; in Muslim society, there are numerous ummi but wise (arif) people.

The concept of janahayn (the dual wing) refers to having knowledge of both Islamic sciences and western science and education. Of the very few contenders, Gülen is perhaps the foremost representative of janahayn. His outlook has several key features: a profound understanding of Islamic sciences; a deep knowledge of biography (ilm al-rijal) in Hadith narration; and a thorough understanding of Islamic methodology (usul). These features are all of almost the same weight in terms of knowledge. His book, Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism (originally published in Turkish as Kalbin Zumrut Tepeleri), is an extremely important work in terms of thought and Sufi tradition. Gülen’s most important characteristic is that he analyzes contemporary issues and brings forth solutions using the traditional methodology of Islamic jurisprudence and Hadith.

If one looks at the individual profiles of those who have participated in terrorist activities recently, one will observe that the participants have generally not had a quality Islamic education and do not follow traditional Islamic methodology while attempting to issue religious rulings (fatwa) without being eligible to do so. Generally, they participated in Marxist or Nationalist movements during their university education and joined Islamist movements later, while retaining their tendencies towards rebellion and insurrection. In stark contrast to such people, Fethullah Gülen has the great advantage of his knowledge of Islamic methodology, the ability to give references from Islamic sciences, and knowledge of the intellectual, scientific, and artistic history of Islam. This sound methodology is a protective frame.

Thus, when making an effective sociological study of modern Turkey, it is impossible now to disregard the work of Fethullah Gülen. He has proved able to unite and mobilize large numbers of people from very many diverse backgrounds to work on significant social projects. The Gülen movement schools and other associated educational activities, which he inspires around the world are also probably the most notable contribution of the nation of Turkey to global development and progress today.

Personal Profile: Civil Revivalist

In recent Turkish history, the effects of social decay and disruption have also been reflected in the crisis of social leadership. The first reason for this crisis is that those who are decided on modernization have tried to assume a kind of social and cultural leadership of others. Secondly, when leaders are needed in society, they typically come from the spheres of politics or academia. However, as we have seen, society has not recognized the leadership of such self-proclaimed scholars or of those put forward in this way by the state.

This situation has resulted in the growth of the new leadership type, which is primarily a profile that merges the intellectual and the ‘ulama. A typical example is Fethullah Gülen. While he can analyze a hadith meticulously in terms of authenticity, he is simultaneously able to manifest his interpretations on current issues. This new leader type uses the canonical sources of the Qur’an and the Sunna, and has a good knowledge of Islamic sciences and Islamic history, along with contemporary sciences and current developments. In fact, a leader’s efficacy diminishes when either of these characteristics is lacking, as in the case of the current Turkish ‘ulama, who are cut off from the contemporary world, and Turkish intellectuals, who know nothing about Islam and history.

In essence, the consciousness of Turkish society appears to have been split into two main sections. While one portion takes references from the East and the past, the other takes guidance from the West and the modern. So, Turkey is like a cart with two horses puffing it in opposite directions. Something needs to be done to prevent a devastating split. For that reason, the different segments of society need to engage in dialogue and exert effort to understand each other, and Fethullah Gülen is one of the most important leaders contributing to this effort.

There are two aspects to the dialogue efforts of Fethullah Gülen: the first of these is interfaith dialogue instead of the oft-predicted “clash of civilizations;” the other is dialogue between the two different social segments, state society and civil society. Both dialogue efforts are absolutely vital, and it is important to understand them.

It is necessary to build a bridge through dialogue between Civil Islam and the society supported by the state. When we examine in depth Fethullah Gülen’s approach to issues such as the state, politics and governance, we realize that he is also opening a door to a dialogue between Civil Islam and state society.


Summarized from the article “The Most Recent Reviver in the ‘Ulama Tradition: The Intellectual ‘Alim, Fethullah Gülen”byAli Bulaç in “Muslim Citizens of the Globalized World: Contributions of the Gulen Movement” edited by Robert A. Hunt, Yuksel A. Aslandogan. 2007. Pages 101-120.

Ali Bulaç is a prominent writer, [Islamic] thinker, and intellectual of Turkey. He is a sociologists, has written many books and published dozens of scholarly articles.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Thought & Practice Series: Gülen on Dialogue

This publication is about the thought and practice espoused and practised by Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet movement. Fethullah Gülen is one of the most important Muslim scholars of our time for whom dialogue is not just about overcoming problems of the globalising world but is necessitated by the essence of humanity and the spirit and teachings of Islam. Therefore, dialogue is an ever-present and underlying theme for Gülen in addition to being a particular area of thought and practice that he seeks to promote and develop. What is significant about Gülen, however, is that he is not just a scholar and thinker but also a doer who has inspired millions to think and act alongside him in what has now emerged as a civil society movement known as the Hizmet movement.

This publication provides a short biography of Gülen’s life in relation to his dialogue efforts and then goes on to study the main features and characteristics of his dialogue thought such as: love, tolerance, empathetic acceptance, positive action, and humility. It then explores how Gülen’s notion of dialogue, dialogically developed and practised by the Hizmet movement, is now being put into practice in different parts of the world. The section on practice concludes with a list of the twelve ‘dialogue principles’ extrapolated from Gülen’s teachings and the Hizmet movement’s practice.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gulen calls for respect for the sacred, denounces terrorism

Gülen calls for respect for the sacred, denounces terrorism 

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen has called on everyone to respect each other's sacred values while at the same time strongly condemning the use of violence and engagement in terrorism in so-called attempts to protect these sacred values.

Gulen shared his views on the recent violence in Paris, which began with a terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead, in his latest speech broadcast on the website on Saturday. In the speech, titled “Respect for the sacred, condemnation of terrorism,” Gulen said everyone is free to choose whether they believe in God, but insulting others' sacred values cannot be explained with humanistic values.

Referring to Charlie Hebdo's cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, Gulen said these cartoons were disrespectful to the Prophet, who is believed, loved and respected by 1.5 billion people in the world. However, he said, this is just one side of the coin.

“On the other side of the issue, there is a certain way of responding to such negative things. You cannot go and do something to those who showed disrespect for the sacred; refraining from such acts prevents a vicious cycle. Why aren't you acting with good sense and showing your reaction in a way that does not disturb anyone and teaches a lesson of humanity?” Gulen asked.

The Islamic scholar, who is well-known for his inspirational speeches on interfaith dialogue, has always voiced staunch opposition to radical groups engaged in terrorism.

In an earlier statement, Gulen condemned the attack on Charlie Hebdo and a series of shootings in Paris suburbs earlier this month that left 17 dead, and extended his condolences to the families of the victims. He said these revolting acts of terrorism are deplorable and serve no purpose but to bring about "destruction, sorrow and grief."

"I reiterate my condemnation of all forms of terror regardless of its perpetrators or their stated purposes," said the statement, published on behalf of Gulen by the New York-based Alliance for Shared Values.

The Islamic scholar said he sends his deepest condolences to the victims' families, loved ones and the people of France.

Twelve people were killed when two Islamist militants burst into Charlie Hebdo's weekly editorial meeting on Jan. 7, opening fire in an act of revenge for the paper's past publication of satirical images of the Prophet Muhammad.

Yemen's al-Qaeda branch last Wednesday claimed responsibility for the Paris attack. Al-Qaeda had in the past threatened Charlie Hebdo and cartoonists who depicted Islam's prophet. Editor Stephane Charbonnier, one of those killed during the attack, was on a hit list published in a 2013 edition of Inspire, the English-language publication issued by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Source: Today's Zaman

Friday, January 9, 2015

Gulen`s Interview with the German Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung

Interview with German Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung ‘Charge of the Preacher’, dated 13th December 2014

Interviewers: Tim Neshitov and Christiane Schlötzer

Question: The Turkish government demands your extradition from Barack Obama. Do you still feel safe in the US?

The US is a democratic country with the rule of law. No one can be convicted arbitrarily and without due process here. There is no legal basis for the Turkish president’s extradition request. By doing so however, the only thing that is being is achieved is the violation of international law and the degradation of Turkey’s international standing and reputation.

Question: Once you supported of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conservative-Islamic AKP party. What has changed since then?

AKP was founded on the promise of democracy, human rights, EU-membership, an end to corruption and stigmatization of ‘others’, and economic development. In the first years they undertook steps in accordance with these promises and accordingly participants of the Hizmet movement supported them. However, after coming to power for the third time in 2011, the AKP government started to govern in ways that was completely contrary to the democratic steps they had taken in their first two terms.

For example, the political pressure on the media, the granting of super powers to the intelligence services (MIT), the use of Stasi-like methods, the disregard and contempt of judicial decisions, the mistreatment of protestors and many other such measures and steps all prove how far we have gone back on our democratic gains. To cover up their corruption and to form an authoritarian system, the government has declared me an enemy of the state. But there is a saying that fits well in this context and that is: ‘a liar’s candle only burns till sunset.’

Question: Together with Erdogan you have forced back the influence of the army on Turkish politics. Is this all forgotten?

In the past Turkey has experienced four different military coups. Governments have been brought down, ten thousands of people have been interrogated and arrested, and many of them got tortured. In Turkey terrible things have happened which are not imaginable in the EU (which we want to join). In a 2010 referendum 58% of the Turkish population voted for a change in the law. This constitutional change allowed bringing officers who had attempted a military coup to a civil court. If the AKP hadn’t politicized the referendum so much, maybe 70% would have approved it. For the first time in my life I made a recommendation on a matter of public vote (i.e. the referendum). I had said, ‘even the dead should rise and take part in this referendum’. After the country had been freed from the repression by the military, the AKP connected all state bodies to the executive and thus made institutions that supervise and keep illegal activities in check completely dysfunctional. As a result, the judiciary was no longer independent, creating a tutelage of a political party. Just as we took a stance against military tutelage in the past, we are against a political party’s tutelage today. That is why we have been labelled as traitors.

Question: Where is Turkey heading for?

During the recent period, the Turkish Republic gives the impression that it is no longer a social, laic, constitutional democracy. It has rather become a one-party state; even a one-man state. The separation of powers has been suppressed except for the constitutional court which is still putting up resistance. Today, Turkey is experiencing an internal polarization and is losing any international reputation it has. Turkey is getting lonelier. I am saddened by the current situation that my country finds itself in.

Question: Erdogan says that he wants to raise religious youth. Don’t you want the same thing?
The objective of the state cannot be to raise religious youth. Otherwise, the state would be imposing one worldview on its citizens. Freedom of religion and belief is a basic human right. It is the state’s responsibility to create an environment in which its citizen are able to freely practice and teach their faith and religion, whatever that might be.

What was expected of Erdogan, who has been in power for over 12 years, was to pass laws that protected and provided this freedom for religious minorities in Turkey as well. Whether this has been done or not is a matter of debate. What’s more, a religious person should not compromise upholding people’s rights and justice. In this sense I wish for a religious generation. But if you mean a generation which has no idea of its own religion that sows division and hatred in the society, then my answer is very clear: No.

Question: Recently you published statements in five major US newspapers taking a stand against Isis. How dangerous Isis?

In the history of Islam radical groups have come up. In fact, these groups suppressed other communities, murdered people and hereby betrayed their religion. A few years ago there was Al-Qaida. Now there is Isis; that’s all we needed! Isis defiles the image of Islam. What they are doing is nothing but barbarism. Whoever was prejudiced against Islam feels vindicated now. The situation is dire and scares our sleep away.

Unfortunately, the Islamic World has not taken an unequivocal stand on this matter including the Islamic scholars of Mecca, Medina, Egypt and Turkey.

Question: Did you expect more protests?

Sadly I haven’t seen any large demonstrations. Furthermore it is alleged that Isis is being supported from other countries with weaponry and logistics. If these claims are true, world peace and the future of Islam are in danger.

Question: Are Isis fighters Muslim?

They are victims of a mass psychosis. In Europe this phenomenon is well known. People followed movements, which were responsible for massacres. Isis members are ignorant people who don’t know their own religion in the least. They made up a ‘holy war’. It is a system of madness.

Question: How can young Europeans be protected from this madness?

Although this might appear to contradict the ideals of freedom in the Western world but we need to better control our youth. They should be better educated through seminars and conferences. The responsibilities of the countries that these young people come from should not be forgotten, too.

Question: What do you recommend to the politicians of the Turkish government on this subject?

I cannot recommend them anything. They will not listen to me. They have brilliant minds and know everything.

Question: How do you like Erdogan’s palace?

Every state needs prestigious buildings. However, instead of erecting a palace with 1000 rooms, they could have renewed the existing buildings. There was a court order to even freeze all work on the new constructon. The Prime Minister ignored it. Such behaviour shakes the citizens’ respect for the rule of law. In the Ottoman Empire the most splendid palaces were built during the time of their decadence and decline. Today many heads of states work in modest buildings. That’s why this magnificent building has in fact harmed Turkey’s reputation. 60% of the Turkish people regard it as wasteful. From a religious perspective this is “haram” (sinful and forbidden).

Question: Erdogan accuses your movement of infiltrating the judiciary and the police.
A citizen cannot infiltrate the institutions of his own country, he serves them. Anybody who has the necessary qualifications can be a public employee. I wonder whether what is disturbing these people is that such employees or civil servants have not sworn allegiance to their particular party. The current political practice does not only stigmatize Hizmet sympathisers, but anyone who keeps themselves at arms length from the governing party. They see everyone within this spectrum as harmful elements in the state. This is called a witch-hunt.

Question: Thousands of civil servants have been moved and dismissed. How many of them were Hizmet members?

I don’t even know a tenth of the people who feel connected to this movement. After a certain time it will be recognized that many of the concerned prosecutors, police officers and teachers that have been dismissed have nothing to do wit the Hizmet movement. It is possible that they are doing all these things with two things in mind. On the one hand, they try to present us as a big threat by stigmatizing so many people. On the other hand, they want to get rid of everybody who keeps him or herself at arms length from the AKP. Most recently a leading member of AKP has also admitted to this strategy as well.

Question: The officials had collected corruption allegations against sons of ministers and pro-government businessmen. What do you think about these allegations?

No one has been able to get to the bottom of the matter now that the judicial investigations have been derailed. Had this happened in a western democracy, the government would have resigned. Ankara went so far to portray the investigations as an international conspiracy – again, a typical strategy in authoritarian regimes.

Question: Has the Hizmet Movement been weakened?
Indeed, it cannot be denied that the propaganda by the state-controlled media has tarnished the image of Hizmet. People who send their children to our schools and support us with donations are being scared. But some day these lies and propaganda will eventually turn against those that manufacture them.

Question: The government plans to close down all your schools in Turkey.

These schools have won high praise and many awards. If Turkey is a state of law, we expect that nothing will happen to these schools. Otherwise, Turkey will lose.

Question: Recently Gülen Schools have been closed down in Central Asia. Is the Turkish government’s influence responsible for that?

The Turkish government tries to find different arguments against us in every country. In the republics of the former Soviet Union they say we are American spies. In the US they call us religious fundamentalists and in Islamic countries they allege that we are luring their children away from religion. They are pragmatists. Yet, in this way Turkey is breaking down bridges of friendship and is harming its international standing. In this way, Turkish paranoia is being transported abroad.

Question: A former US ambassador once described you as second most powerful man in Turkey. How do you see yourself?

I seek refuge from God of such entitlements. Anyone who knows me a little can confirm that I do not want to be known or famous. I have never tried to obtain spiritual or material gain by being known. My life of 76 years attests to this. If there is any success worth applauding in this movement that should be directed towards the many voluntary participants of it.

Question: Will this movement exist after Fethullah Gülen?

People who do not necessarily share my worldview have supported this movement. Our view has always been universal values. People in Africa whom I have never met co-financed the schools and hospitals there. These were people from whom we were not expecting anything. Every night when I go to bed I doubt whether I might wake up again. But I do not have the least amount of doubt about the future of the movement.

Question: Do you think about returning to Turkey?

I miss my country very much. I am an emotional person. I have got family and friends. Recently my brother passed away and I wasn’t able to attend his funeral. This was also the case with other relatives. I have spent 60 years of my life in Turkey. I feel very connected to places and even to objects; the village I was born in, the graves of my father and my grandparents, the neighbourhood in Izmir where I lived for many years, the books in my library there… All of these are always in my mind and I can’t hold back my tears when I recall them. If I returned to Turkey today, some people working at the highest levels of the state would abuse this for their ill intentions.

Question: Can you imagine reconciliation with Erdogan?

We didn’t start a fight. That’s why they have to make the first move for reconciliation. If some day Erdogan confesses to everyone that everything he said at his rallies and meetings against the movement were nothing more than lies and slander, then I will be I will be content with such efforts. [In a later comment, Gulen says “provided that they are allow for an independent judicial process to take its course and adjudicate on the corruption allegations”.]

Question: Is there anything which makes you happy nowadays despite all difficulties?
I have never been happy for a long time. After each military coup I was persecuted. But what I experience today is even worse. Still, on the bright side ‘coals and diamonds are now separated’ (Turkish saying). The world is now recognizing the meaning of this movement.

Question: Many in America were amused about Erdogan’s recent statement that Muslims had discovered America before Christopher Columbus. What are your comments on this?
It is up to researchers and scientists to discuss when something is first discovered. There are people who say: “Who is Einstein anyway? And who is this Edison?” They argue that Muslims knew all about this in the 5th century. It is not right to say ’only Muslims could have done’ a certain thing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Rumi Forum Condemns the Attack on the French Magazine Charlie Hebdo

The Rumi Forum condemns, in the strongest terms, the heinous attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead and several others injured. This despicable crime is committed against freedom of expression, democracy, peace and humanity. Acts of terrorism and killing of innocent people cannot be justified by any reason including religion. As our honorary chairman Fethullah Gulen stated we believe that no true Muslim can be a terrorist and no terrorist can be a true Muslim.

In these hard times we stand by the people of France and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased while wishing a quick recovery to those who are injured. We pray for patience and perseverance, and for their suffering to be alleviated. 

Please also read Fethullah Gulen's Condemnation of violence and terrorism:

See other announcements.