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Gülen-Inspired Hizmet in Europe

The Western Journey of a Turkish Muslim Movement


Edited By Gürkan Çelik, Johan Leman and Karel Steenbrink

The Hizmet Movement initiated by Fethullah Gülen in Turkey in the 1960s is today active in more than 160 countries. The participants of Hizmet are often less visible among the Muslim minorities in Western societies. They do not build mosques or hold regular prayer meetings like institutional Muslims or Sufi masters, but establish emancipatory schools without religious instruction, cherish networks of business people, publish the newspaper Zaman in various national editions, and run dialogue charities for intercultural and interreligious encounters. Small groups come together in private houses to hold sohbets, that is spiritual talks on faith, religion and society, and to discuss Hizmet-related projects in the light of teachings articulated by Gülen in his books and talks.
This book provides a broad presentation of Gülen’s thought and practice. These issues are discussed in the first part of this book. The second part presents six case studies from countries where the name of Gülen has been attached to a great variety of social activities in the field of education, media, business, dialogue, and the support of integration and defence of human rights. These countries are Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Albania as the centre of Muslims in the Balkans. Although the participants of Hizmet are quite small in number and work in an extremely decentralised way, they are among the best educated and most socially active of the Turkish-speaking communities in their countries. This is therefore an important study of a group of Muslims who cannot simply be categorized as «conservative» or «progressive», «pietistic» or «political».
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Diasporic Faith, Faith in Diaspora. Turkish Women’s Public Spheres Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow


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Diasporic Faith, Faith in Diaspora

Turkish Women’s Public Spheres Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow


In this chapter I aim to examine the notion of how the Gülen Movement opens Muslim public spheres to women, from taking part in local interfaith dialogue initiatives and neighbourhood volunteering to crafting new media discourses. Often questions arise as to the role of women in the Gülen Movement, with assumptions that because they do not seem to be among the most public spokespersons that their participation must be limited. This essay focuses on the Gülen Movement and women’s participation in different diasporic locations and I examine notions of leadership through a diffuse network of women rather than attempt to locate a central hierarchy. Experiences of women in the Gülen Movement are so varied, that there can really be no generalizations made that succinctly spell out what a “Gülen woman” is. In a given city or locale, they can be doing any number of things while at the same time aspiring to do still more. My research offers insight into how women become interested in the Gülen Movement and follows their pathways to leadership roles and organisational responsibilities. Here I offer examples of women who have travelled between Turkey, the U.S., and in some cases a third or fourth country where they might have lived for a period of time and taken part in the movement. When put together,...

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