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Preventing Violence and Achieving World Peace

The Contributions of the Gülen Movement


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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Chapter 3: Fethullah Gülen and Peace as Horizon of Tolerance and Dialogue Wilhelmus G.B.M. Valkenberg 41


• C H A P T E R T H R E E • Fethullah Gülen and Peace as Horizon of Tolerance and Dialogue Wilhelmus G.B.M. Valkenberg ne of the significant side-effects of the many recent events in which the religion of Islam is mentioned together with brutal forms of violence is that many Muslims have developed a more acute awareness of the blatant contradiction between the way in which they perceive their religion as a power that contributes to peaceful relations and the negative perception of this religion in the public relations media. Consequently, one can regularly meet Muslims who argue in public meetings that Islam is basically a peaceful religion and that those who appeal to this religion in order to justify their atrocities fly in the face of the peaceful nature of Islam. Very often, these apologetic defense mechanisms fail to convince the vociferous crowd of skeptical scholars who suggest that the prophetic traditions of monotheism may imply a hidden violence against those who do not accept their universal message. While many of them are willing to admit that Jesus wanted to bring peace rather than violence, they will point to many belligerent texts in the Hebrew Bible and specifically in the Qur’ān, suggesting that jihād or “holy war” is one of the most important duties for every Muslim, and in some cases even a sixth pillar of Islam. Of course, better informed scholars will say that the verb from which jihād is formed has...

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