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The fundamental question that inspired the research for this book was the following: What enables the Gülen Movement, originally a Turkish-Muslim social movement, to reach out to communities across the world that are socially, economically, and politically quite different from one another, and to function in all of them almost equally successfully? Movement participants have established educational institutions, schools or cultural centers, in more than ninety countries. What is it about the Gülen Movement that appeals to the local people in those countries? Is it something to do with what movement volunteers provide in practice in the communities where they are present, or with the way they relate to local people, or with the socio-economic and political context of the communities where movement participants live and work?

This study is an effort to understand how the Gülen movement, named after the prominent Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen, has a sphere of influence on the global scale. Active in more than a hundred countries with schools and intercultural centers, the Gülen movement is considered to be one of the most significant social movements that arose from the Muslim world.

The Gülen Movement was born at a time when a rapid social change was taking place in Turkey. However, at the same time a parallel movement was taking place in the world: emergence of political Islam or politization of Islam, in response of globalization. What was transpiring in Turkey at the time? As rapid urbanization, class differentiation, and cultural shifts from village and small towns were flocking to the cities, alternative frames of reference were needed. A balance had to be struck between the traditional values that people were socialized in and modern values; these new behavioral patterns would help them to navigate through the challenges of modern city life.

A number of conferences have been organized in recent years emphasizing the social, civic, and educational activities of the Gülen Movement (aka Hizmet), as well as Gülen's contribution to interreligious dialogue. However, very little attention has been paid to his formal and informal education, his scholarly works, and his interpretation of basic Islamic sources and disciplines in the modern period. In fact, his expertise goes beyond the limitations of modern academic compartmentalization of Islamic studies. This edited book aims to explore Fethullah Gülen's personal and theological profile in relation to Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir), Prophetic tradition (hadith), Islamic law (fiqh), Islamic systematic theology (kalam), and Islamic mysticism or Sufism (tasawwuf). Fethullah Gülen's private study circle and the texts and style of education that he continues to teach is also separately covered in order to reflect his mastership over Islamic disciplines.

In a world that is too often seen as a “clash of civilizations,” some believe there is another way—a path that involves engagement, dialogue, and respect. In Thomas Michel’s new book, Peace and Dialogue in a Plural Society, he explores how Fethullah Gülen is one of those speaking most vocally in favor of a world community, where different faiths and nations can come together at one table to solve the multitude of problems facing today’s world. Exploring the spiritual roots of Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet Movement, as well as drawing parallels between his own work as a Catholic priest, Michel shows how Hizmet has helped build a blueprint for intercultural communication in a time when too many voices are trying to stoke the fires of discord. Through education, dialogue, and a respect for basic human dignity, Michel finds a foundation in Gülen’s faith and Hizmet’s service upon which a healthy, diverse society can be built.

The Hizmet (Gülen) Movement is one of the most influential initiatives that should be taken into consideration in this context. Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish Muslim scholar whose ideas have inspired and influenced many Turkish intellectuals, educators, students, businessmen, politicians and journalists inside and outside Turkey to establish schools, educational and intercultural centers, and humanitarian aids organization in more than one hundred fifty countries. Furthermore, it cannot be denied that the Hizmet Movement is of greatest interest to contemporary journalists and academics. It is currently the topic of numerous academic conferences, daily articles in major newspapers and conversations in social circles. Gülen is loved and praised by many Turkish people and others, but is also severely criticized by some people inside and outside Turkey.

This book seeks to develop an appropriate discourse for studying the Gülen Movement and phenomena like it. The established discourse concerns itself with social movements as "protest," as "challenge" to the System, as contentious actors looking to alter or even overturn existing structures and/or policies in some field, usually political or economic. Approaching the matter from social movement theory and taking an insider's perspective, the author argues that the Gülen Movement is, as it has always been, non-contentious' it is not a marginalized actor working on the System from the outside. On the contrary, it has always worked within the System - within the boundaries of the laws and public norms that obtain in the different local and national settings where it has set up institutions.

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fgulen.com is the offical source on the renowned Turkish scholar and intellectual Fethullah Gülen.