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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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Chapter 4: The Role of Education in Achieving World Peace Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad 55

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• C H A P T E R F O U R • The Role of Education in Achieving World Peace Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad ducation is the most important tool we have in teaching about tolerance and trying to achieve world peace. The question is how can tolerance be taught? I do not think you can teach tolerance the way you can teach a skill. Let me preface my remarks by asking you to consider the amount of violence in and around so many of the government schools here in the United States. This is not a new phenomenon. Even in my own day going to such a school back in the 1950s, a relatively genteel time, there was bullying, and there were also gang wars, as was illustrated in the musical “West Side Story” that was on Broadway and made into a popular movie. If tolerance is mentioned as one of the American values taught in the government school system then why is it that it seems to fail to give fruit as far as peacemaking on the school grounds? I think the problem is that the government schooling is only partly educational, as it also has the objective of socialization, including the indoctrination of a sense of national identity that sets the pattern for and facilitates military enterprises. This is seen in ways that may not be obvious. The so-called school spirit around a football game, the extreme intensity of “pep rallies” in getting students to identify with their school as...

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