Does Hizmet engage in political rhetoric or partisan politics?
The character of the services (that the participants are engaged in providing) keeps them away from the everyday and largely pointless partisan fights and rhetoric of political parties; participants do not divert or exhaust their energies in political skirmishes. The effectiveness of Hizmet’s activities arises from its openness and receptiveness, and the efficiency of available forms of representation. This quality of Hizmet contradicts the dominant understanding of social movements in the West, which sees movements as always contentious and conflictual.
The Gülen Movement’s conscious avoidance of political contention reflects Fethullah Gülen’s evaluation of the failures in the last few centuries in Turkish history. He has been critical of those past failures and indicated what he believes to be the reasons for them: “Those who were in politics and those who supported them considered every means and action as legitimate and permissible if it would gain them position for their own team or party; they devised and entered into complex intrigues and deluded themselves that by overthrowing the dominant group and changing the party in power they would change everything and the country would be saved. Action should have been guided by thought, knowledge, faith, morality, and virtue rather than by political ambitions and hatred.” Thus, rather than any kind of politics, it is the religious and cultural vision of Hizmet that is central to its activities.
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