The Western Journey of a Turkish Muslim Movement
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».
This book discusses the western journey of a modern Muslim movement. It is a worldwide movement organised by a group of Turkish people inspired by M. Fethullah Gülen (Turkey, 1941), a contemporary Turkish Muslim scholar of the Sunni tradition. The movement he inspired originated in Turkey in the 1960s and expanded throughout the world from the mid-1980s. Today the movement – often referred to as “The Gülen Movement” or “Hizmet” in the media and academia – coordinates thousands of educational institutions in more than 160 countries, mobilises numerous volunteers and professionals for educational, cultural and media enterprises, and employs new networks for the ongoing realignment of public, private and civil society groups.
The followers of Gülen are a small and often less visible group among Muslim minorities in Western countries. They do not build mosques or hold regular prayer meetings like institutional Muslims or Sufi shaikhs, but establish emancipatory educational institutions, cherish networks of business people, publish the newspaper Zaman in various national editions, and start dialogue centres for intercultural and interreligious meetings. Small groups come together in private houses to hold sohbets, meals and spiritual talks on faith, religion and society and to discuss Hizmet-related projects, often while listening to speeches or watching podcasts of Gülen’s speeches from his home in Pennsylvania where he has resided since 1999.
This book provides a broad presentation of Gülen’s thinking and practice, as it was gladly received by some Muslims (mainly Turkish) in...
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