What is Gülen’s attitude to commemorating or celebrating events and people of the past?
Fethullah Gülen emphatically refuses the model of citizenship that reflects a certain kind of racial, ethnic, cultural and religious homogeneity based on some (often imaginary) society in the past. In point of fact, he stresses that none of the seventeen states that the Turks historically established were based on any such homogeneity. Fethullah Gülen has argued that consoling oneself with re-telling the heroic deeds of others indicates a psychological weakness peculiar to the impotent who have failed or who are refusing to shoulder their present responsibilities to the present society. He says, “Of course we should certainly commemorate the saints of our past with deep emotion and celebrate the victories of our heroic ancestors with enthusiasm. But we should not think this is all we are obliged to do, just consoling ourselves with tombs and epitaphs. … Each scene from the past is valuable and sacred only so long as it stimulates and enthuses us, and provides us with knowledge and experience for doing something today. Otherwise it is a complete deception, since no success or victory from the past can come to help us in our current struggle. Today, our duty is to offer humanity a new message composed of vivid scenes from the past together with understanding of the needs of the present.”
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