The Contributions of the Gülen Movement
Edited By Ori Z. Soltes and Margaret A. Johnson
Chapter 5: Fethullah Gülen and the Education of Peace: How Shared Jewish and Muslim “Teaching Tales” Echo the Contemporary Movement Thomas Block 67
• C H A P T E R F I V E • Fethullah Gülen and the Education of Peace: How Shared Jewish and Muslim “Teaching Tales” Echo the Contemporary Movement Thomas Block ethullah Gülen, a source of ongoing interfaith work, dedicates himself to education as a tool of understanding and peace. Contrary to authoritarian and narrow readings of religious texts and practice, he emphasizes ethical interaction among different peoples, as well as honest and open dialogue to help bring morality to the center of interfaith interactions, as well as a person’s individual path. Gülen considers education the ultimate means through which we can improve the world. As such, Fethullah Gülen operates in the world of Prophetic Activism: that is, he translates a spiritual belief into specific social action. Following in the legislative prophetic tradition of such great medieval thinkers as Muhyiddin ibn Arabi (d. 1240), Moses Maimonides (d. 1204) and St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226), Gülen believes that prophetic understanding without action is little more than an academic exercise, affecting few and leaving no lasting impression on the world. Therefore, he has marshaled healing energies through varied educational curricula, traditional media outreach, and Internet programming to positively influence society. In this way, he disseminates the curative energy of interfaith understanding and education. Moreover, the Gülen Movement seeks peace through constant effort and struggle (Greater Jihad, in the Islamic tradition— striving to make oneself a better submitter to God’s will and the world a better...
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