Fethullah Gülen Difference

"Politicizing religion would be more dangerous for religion than for the regime, for such people want to make politics a means for all their ends. Religion would grow dark within them, and they would say: 'We are the representatives of religion.'" This is a dangerous matter. Religion is the name of the relationship between humanity and God, which everyone can respect.

"Some are harsh in their defense of secularism; others attack secularism and democracy unjustly. Secularism has not been in danger to date, and I don't believe that it will be endangered in the future either.

"I didn't find the 8-year uninterrupted education system dangerous, as others did. The issue of whether it should be uninterrupted or not can be settled by consensus.

"As Turkish society has not yet proven its maturity and fully digested democracy, a crisis is occurring. The republic and democracy comprise the foundation for the continuation of Islamic thought. It's a mistake to interpret them as being opposed to Islam.

"In religion, 95 percent deals with belief; 5 percent deals with rules."

Gülen wants to bring secularists and antisecularists, who have been artificially separated on this issue, together on common ground. He says: "Secularism should not be an obstacle to religious devoutness, nor should devoutness constitute a danger to secularism." If I understand this correctly, this is Fethullah Hodja's aim.

The biggest difficulty being experienced in Turkey, or any Muslim society that wants to politicize Islam, is this the "conflict between secularism and antisecularism."

Suleyman Yagiz, Takvim daily, 4/18/97