American sociology Professor Helen Rose Ebaugh, who has written a book analyzing the Gülen movement, inspired by the well-respected Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, has said criticism leveled at Gülen is based completely on ideological fears.
The Gülen movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam,” was speaking at a conference organized by the Antalya Intercultural Dialogue Center over the weekend and titled “Gelişen Türkiye’de Sivil Toplum Hareketleri: Hizmet Hareketi” (Civil Society Movements in Developing Turkey: The Hizmet Movement). Stating that recent claims that members of the movement are trying to infiltrate state posts -- including the police force, the military and others -- are groundless, she said she did not encounter such efforts while researching the movement. She said these allegations are based on ideological fears rather than facts.
The Gülen movement is a group of volunteers engaged in interfaith and intercultural dialogue inspired by the ideas of Gülen, a Turkish Islamic scholar well known for his teachings promoting mutual understanding and tolerance between cultures. Now residing in the US, Gülen has pioneered educational activities in a number of countries, along with efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the world.
According to Ebaugh, who has no doubts about the movement’s success, the reason behind the success of the movement is that it favors democracy, modernization, education and dialogue, which she says make the movement unique. Noting that she has been researching the movement since 1990 when the volunteers of the movement opened up to the world and began educational and dialogue activities around the world, she said the movement is taking on a global dimension with schools in 120 countries and dialogue centers in 180 countries worldwide. Noting that the movement is a pioneer in maintaining global peace, Ebaugh stated that one of many contributions of the movement to Turkey is the promotion of the country in the world.
Published on Today's Zaman, 07 April 2011, Thursday
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