Gulen deems terrorism as the greatest blow to peace, democracy, and humanity and he always condemns any terrorist activity no matter by whom it is carried out or for what purpose it is committed. He issues statements in this regard on various media platforms.
The Gülen movement is one of two marginalized groups in present-day Turkey along with the with Kurds. However, the situation was quite different 10 years ago.
The Gülen group did not infiltrate the bureaucracy but participated in it. If there is to be a “responsible” party, then it is the AKP government that made the political choice to hire the movement’s followers.
Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, one of the most respected Islamic Sciences centers in the world, and the Islamic Research Association, has examined the works of Gulen found no contradiction to the school of Sunni Islam. Beyond these works, in some universities, especially Al Azhar, many master’s and doctoral theses on the subject of Hizmet and Mr. Gulen have been published.
At its core, the Gulen Movement is a faith based social movement that takes inspiration from Islamic ideals to reinforce the civic, moral, and ethical goals of Islam. The goal is to transform individuals and society in such a way to produce a “golden generation,” which in turn provides leadership to all walks of human life.
There is the issue of Hizmet schools. We operate hundreds of them in Turkey and in some 170 countries around the world, more than 1.400 schools. Erdogan wanted to control our network as a tool to further his aim of dominating the entire Islamic world, as caliph. But Hizmet refused to be used in such a way. Then Erdogan thought: if they don’t help me in this, they can’t exist, and started to close our schools.
Despite the outward appearance of Islamic observance, Erdogan regime represents a complete betrayal of core Islamic values. These core values are not about a style of dressing or the use of religious slogans. They include respect for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, accountability for the rulers and the preservation of inalienable rights and freedoms of every citizen.
Every social or spiritual group may have both institutional and non-institutional aspects. In relations between the individuals who have an institutional role and those who do not, the group must comply with the aforementioned principles of legal compliance, ethical legitimacy, transparency, and accountability.
What Hizmet also illustrates is the resilience of a truly paramodern spiritual movement. Despite sustained attacks over a number of decades the movement still exists. The Turkish government may be successful in closing down visible symbols of Hizmet like schools and media outlines, but as previous governments found with Nursi, destroying an idea and mindset is not so easy.
While it is an Islamic movement at its root, today the movement has become a strong network, able to successfully combine tradition and modernity in an authentic way, and embrace social life as whole. It is believed Gulen, as a visionary religious leader, opened doors for Turkish people in the modern world. And during last three decades he has become much more than a religious leader for many Turkish people who are inspired by Gulen’s thoughts.