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Preventing Violence and Achieving World Peace

The Contributions of the Gülen Movement

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Edited By Ori Z. Soltes and Margaret A. Johnson

How can we address the seemingly endless conflicts in the world, particularly those arising from misunderstandings of Islam by both Muslims and non-Muslims? Preventing Violence and Achieving World Peace: The Contributions of the Gülen Movement presents the essays of eight scholars who consider the diverse ways in which the Gülen Movement or hizmet («service to others») – inspired by contemporary Turkish social philosopher Fetullah Gülen – has worked to answer this question. Drawing from various intellectual and theological sources, particularly Sufism, these essays indicate multiple instances of positive interfaith and/or multicultural dialogue. In addition, they consider how the writings of Gülen and the works of the Gülen Movement, through an extensive program of education and communication, have contributed significantly to efforts that oppose violence and shape universal peace.

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Foreword: Preventing Violence and Achieving World Peace: The Contributions of the Gülen Movement Akbar Ahmed vii

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• F O R E W O R D • Preventing Violence and Achieving World Peace: The Contributions of the Gülen Movement Akbar Ahmed dangerous and wide gap opened between Muslims and non-Muslims instantly after 9/11. In spite of the efforts of all those who believe in bridge-building and inter-faith understanding that gap remains as wide as ever ten years after that tragic event. In fact, the gap may even be increasing. Incident after incident that creates anger and hatred around Muslims confirms this impression—the controversy around the so called Ground Zero Mosque, women wearing the hijab being attacked, the Qur’an being desecrated and mosques being targeted. The media in the meantime, apart from some honorable exceptions, fan the flames of distrust and hatred against Muslims. Even leading politicians have succumbed to these negatives feelings and thus allowed the high-minded politics of this nation to be tarnished. Today non-Muslims are confused and distrustful of Islam. Muslims are not sure how to respond. To be a bridge-builder in this time poses special challenges but also creates special opportunities. It is a time for noble thought to be combined with resolute action. In the current volatile relationship between the Muslim world and the west, voices of compassion, dialogue, and bridge building are needed more than ever. In this the movement inspired by Fethullah Gülen has been very significant. Gülen has successfully brought a mystical form of Sunni Islam from his homeland in Turkey to America, and his influence in the...

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