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 herkul.org 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