Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet Movement from a global perspective
What Fethullah Gülen and the movement have done is to offer a model for Muslims around the entire planet of how to be thoroughly world citizens, and, at the same time, deeply Muslim… They bring the teachings of the Prophet to the 21st century.
Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor of Theology, Claremont School of Theology
The Hizmet Movement seems to me to be about creating or envisioning a new world where people will be together in fellowship… There’s a serenity and a peacefulness and a dedication, a generosity of spirit.
Gilbert Friend-Jones, Senior Minister at the First Congregational Church of Chrystal Lake
Anywhere that the Hizmet Movement is, you will see education, you will see charity, you will see spirituality... an emphasis on all three of them together… The Hizmet Movement does not distinguish between a believer and a non-believer, a Muslim, Christian, Jew or an atheist or anybody else, does not distinguish in the service of humanity.
Muhammed Shafiq, Executive director of the Brian and Jean Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue and professor of Islamic and religious studies at Nazareth College
When I think of what Hizmet is about, and what I’ve come to know in that Movement and what I’ve seen through Niagara, it’s all about love. It’s not about anything else. It’s all about the transformation of people towards something better.
Kenneth Hunter, Principal of the Prosser Career Academy High School
I think it’s a movement that represents Islam very well. It shows a segment of Islam that understands what it takes to survive, succeed and prosper in the modern world.
John Suthers, Attorney General of Colorado
Thinkers, researchers, and academics need to ponder carefully over the bridge Fethullah Gülen built—the bridge connecting the reason with the heart. Despite the weak and backward state of Muslims and the dominance of the West on their world of thought, Fethullah Gülen focuses on universities, academies, schools, research centers, and many other educational activities.
Fouad Abdurrahman al-Banna, Professor of Islamic Political Theory, University of Taiz, Yemen
I met a number of people who are part of Hizmet Movement. I am very impressed with them. They are very hospitable, kind, gentle people and reaching out to all kinds of people throughout the world. It was quite impressive… I think it’s such a gift to the world that the people in the Hizmet Movement dialogue with people of all faith traditions, because they are so open. I find them just amazingly interested in compassion to all people.
Maureen McCormack, Sister of Loretto
When people really get to meet the folks who are a part of the Hizmet Movement and see their genuine sense of love and respect, then, over time they come to realize that this is not something as a put-on, it’s really who you are, and you are living a legitimate way of expressing your faith… I do believe that the Hizmet Movement is working towards creating connections and lowering barriers, and I commend everyone for that.
Elliot Gershenson, President and CEO of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston
Mr. Fethullah Gülen’s orientation is in line with the noble Qur’an and Hadith, because he is so dedicated to the spread of knowledge, he is so committed to providing everyone with education.
Senad Agic, Head Imam of the Islamic Association of Bosniaks in North America
I think what Fethullah Gülen is doing is an excellent work of formulating the same ideas of dialogue, of impediment to peace, of ideas about why people hate each other and what should be done about it.
Karina Korostelina, Associate Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University
Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi is focusing with great care on the love of God and His Messenger. Rather than expounding on Islamic rulings and judgments in his work, he is making emphasis on the spirit of Islam and its values. To me, the most important quality of Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi is his devotion to God as well as his gradual spiritual training and counselling. He thus becomes a source of inspiration to reflect upon the greatness of God Almighty.
Mustafa Safwat Halilović, Professor of Qur’anic Exegesis and Anthropology, University of Zenica
It’s a movement that reaches out to people; it’s a movement that accepts science, is very open, tolerant and nonjudgmental… I am amazed at the dedication of the teachers. These folks that are teaching are dedicated. It’s not a 9–5 job. They are dedicated. They stay with the kids at night. They work with them, they work with families.
James Harrington, human rights attorney and the founder and director of the Texas Civil Rights Project
What most strikes my wife and me is the holiness, the purity that we see represented in the lives of those who are associated with Hizmet…They are not ashamed—by any means—in what they believe, to the One to whom they have committed their lives.
Daniel Skubik, Professor of Law, Ethics & Humanities at California Baptist University
Here I was in the presence, very humbly, of my Turkish sisters and brothers—I’m a Catholic, they’re Muslims—who had come great distances from their homes, at great personal cost, making great sacrifices every day. Why? To give my young Catholic brothers living in Soweto—and actually my young Catholic sisters in the girls’ school—the opportunity at a better life… Nothing for me sums up Hizmet values and ideals, nothing for me sums up Hizmet’s commitment to dialogue, nothing for me sums up Hizmet’s commitment to service and the deepest of Islamic values than that.
Scott Alexander, Associate Professor of Islam at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago
Mr. Gülen is an incredible individual. I was not aware of him or his work until I met with individuals from the Houston-based interfaith dialogue. From there, I discovered a man who has a vision for the world, in terms of what we can be and what we should be.
Ira Colby, Professor of Social Work, University of Houston
I’m a Christian, but I consider myself part of Hizmet. When I’m doing the work of interreligious dialogue, of interreligious relationships, of social services that include education, healthcare, humanitarian exercises, this is the work of Hizmet.
Paul Parker, Professor of Religious Studies at Elmhurst College
Thank God that Mr. Gülen and his students have come to the United States. It has enriched our country already. It will continue to enrich our country. You have helped open dialogue and interfaith relationships in this country in a way that already has made a difference here.
Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, chaplain at Kavod Senior Life in Denver
This is the attempt to celebrate all of humanity. I think that’s why Hizmet is different from other religious groups.
Sophia Pandya, Professor of Religious Studies, California State University
The Hizmet Movement acts upon what matters rather than talking about what doesn’t really matter.
Zaman Stanizai, Professor of Mythological Studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara
I’m inspired by the Hizmet Movement. I didn’t realize that until I came in contact with the Movement, but all of my life, education and service and dialog have been transformative to me. … This is the work that all of our hearts should be doing.
Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, Founding Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies
The Hizmet Movement is really inspired by Gülen’s philosophy and the message that it isn’t about the “I,” it’s the “I” within the whole. And it’s an organic, holistic system, and so, there’s a real conscious emphasis placed on how the actions of individual members of the Hizmet Movement have ramifications for the rest of the world.
Kathleen Moore, Professor and the Chair of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara
My experience with the Hizmet Movement has been that it is committed to the most idealistic notions of dialogue, education and social justice and not at all really political in its orientation.
Roberta Rosenberg, Professor of English, Christopher Newport University
As Hizmet is serving the Muslims, Hizmet also must serve non-Muslims. Through that service, Hizmet proves to the world that Islam is not limited to certain people. Islam is for all humanity.
Shams Ali, NY-based imam and the director of the Jamaica Muslim Center
As a Western person and a person exposed to the Western media and press I think that the differences that I see most often from the Hizmet Movement and other religious or social movements in the Muslim world, of course, is an emphasis on discussion, dialogue, tolerance, interfaith and a willingness to be open and to share this and a willingness to welcome people from outside the Muslim faith into the world of Hizmet and to share broader understanding of the core values.
Diane Christman, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Development at The Cable Center
The charity activities undertaken by the Hizmet Movement are, in one word, fantastic. They’re willing to go where there are disasters.
Richard Penaskovic, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Auburn University
I feel that the Hizmet Movement and Fethullah Gülen himself represent a moderate and compassionate face of Islam… And I just have, I’ve met a lot of Muslims now, through the Hizmet Movement, and they are the face, for me, of what Islam is; which is compassionate, loving, inclusive, and supportive people.
Roxanne Stoehr, Instructor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Southeastern Louisiana University
Mr. Gülen helps interpret the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad in a way that people can understand more clearly… He helps us see that the Prophet Muhammad also offered peace to the world, and also offered us a way to speak to one another without always being disrespectful, without always accusing one another of not being from God. And I’m very appreciative of that, and think it’s a helpful way of mutual understanding.
Nancy Claire Pittman, Dean at Phillips Theological Seminary
The fundamental goal of the Hizmet Movement, that I have been able to discern, is to be able to serve people in a way that expresses the best and the highest ideals and values of Islam, in a way that also builds bridges, and tries to find common ground with other faiths.
Parvez Ahmed, Associate Professor of Finance, Coggin College of Business, University of North Florida
I think the Hizmet Movement is one of the moderate voices condemning terrorism and violence of any sort, and I’m hoping that now in the light of this increasing terrorism around the world, we’ll hear more of the moderate voices.
Helen Rose Ebaugh, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of Houston
To the extent that the individual members of the Hizmet Movement are motivated by the desire to promote a peace-loving society, that respects the differences of people, that is concerned with education and the well-being of all people, then to that extent, I think the Hizmet Movement brings honor to all of Islam.
Angela Sumegi, Assistant Professor of Humanities and Religion at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
A lot of people do social action, a lot of people care about education, but the way it comes from a spirit of love is very impressive in the Hizmet Movement. I have felt that that spiritual base in love, and in unity, shines through in the way people behave, the way people teach, the way people do interfaith dialog. It’s there and palpable, that sense of love.
Maggie Herzig, Founding Associate of the Public Conversations Project, Boston
I will tell you, the thing that really made the biggest difference for me, beyond the debates, beyond the interviews, beyond the books, beyond the scholarly opinions, the thing that really made the biggest difference for me were some friendships… I got to know these men, I met their wives, I saw their children. They had me into their homes. I had them into my home. And they met my wife and my children, and I saw in them true, authentic people that were living faithfully and caring about their families, and trying to make the world a better place.
John D. Barton, Visiting Associate Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University
I’ve been to some of the Hizmet Movement schools in Toronto, and I think they do a fabulous job in not only balancing the academic curriculum but balancing their ethical behavior as well. And I think that comprises or that creates a complete human being; by balancing your social and your intellectual capabilities together.
Yasmin Ratansi, Canadian politician
Hizmet means “service,” and without a single exception, everywhere I’ve been, every school I visited, every individual I’ve had more than a five-minute conversation with exhibits the same sort of qualities of an interest in doing things for others. Altruism. Helping. Making the world a better place. So my view of Hizmet is a very strongly positive one.
Ori Z. Soltes, Goldman Professorial Lecturer in Theology and Fine Arts at Georgetown University
The Hizmet Movement, I believe, is one that is built on values that we share across many faith traditions and different political perspectives because it brings people together. It’s based on respect, advocates the importance of love and understanding… and that all leads to peace. So, it really has value.
Sandra L. Frankel, former Supervisor of the Town of Brighton, Monroe County, NY
Hocaefendi (Fethullah Gülen) believes that education is the only way to get rid of the problems in the world. Ignorance, strife, conflicts, people who are in poverty, education is the answer to that. …. having knowledge, just seeking knowledge, and doing it together with people who are not your typical group of people that you would associate with makes a difference, and the Hizmet Movement is doing that.
Wendi L. See, Advisory Board Member, Rumi Forum
I very much like that Fethullah Gülen has consistently said that he sees women as equal participants in society. I think that’s a very positive message. I’d like to hear it from everybody, and I think even doing more would benefit the women’s movement.
Annabel Hertz, Senior Associate at the Arch Institute, Sydney
I have tremendous respect for the fact that the Hizmet Movement seeks to help people in need wherever they are, regardless of their faith, regardless of their views. That is a true humanitarian movement. Whenever you cannot look at somebody’s ideas, not look at somebody’s faith, but simply help them because they’re your fellow human being. So for that reason, I like what I see in the Hizmet Movement.
Seth R. Leech, attorney at law, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP in Albany, NY
I think the Hizmet Movement is perhaps the best face that Islam can have to say, ‘Here we are as Muslims.’
Amir Hussain, Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
I think Hizmet goes to the heart of what it means to be a Muslim. The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) was a man who was not teaching a set of dogmas. He was teaching a revolution of life, a whole new way to interact with the world around them, to interact with God, to interact with other human beings, to interact even with nature…
Bradley Hawkins, Department of Religious Studies, California State University
I think that the future success of society depends on people like the Hizmet Movement and its adherence.
Lawrence Geraty, Professor of Archaeology and Old Testament Studies at La Sierra University in Riverside, California
Hizmet Movement is an Islamically-rooted movement, founded on the universal and fundamental principle of peace and—the essential values of Islam—peace, mercy and compassion, as normative, moral objectives and which seeks to translate these principles into—through the dynamic of ta’aruf, the dynamic of coming to know one another, especially coming to know the other—into a reality, into a living sociological and anthropological reality.
Khaled Abou El Fadl, Distinguished Professor in Islamic Law at the UCLA School of Law
I see the Hizmet movement as the best expression of Islam that I have seen anywhere.
Steve Gilliland, Director of Muslim Affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Southern California
I think that Fethullah Gülen promotes Islamic values, Islamic teachings without necessarily rejecting the world and rejecting the West, and I think that’s a very important and innovative development of the past 100 years of Islamic thinkers.
Azam Nizamuddin, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Theology at Loyola University of Chicago
I believe, certainly in the United States as I’m experiencing the Hizmet Movement, I’m experiencing extraordinary hospitality, a great warmth of people, a genuine spirit, an openness, a compassionate style.
Alan Jones, Senior Pastor at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Sacramento
The Hizmet Movement and what Mr. Gülen is inspiring is uniting people around spiritual ideals. And I like the idea in your schools that you don’t really teach religion directly; you teach ethics. I think that’s another hopeful sign that out of this spiritual movement you’re bringing people together of different religious-cultural backgrounds, but they’re uniting around a certain ethical principle of love and care for humanity and service of humanity. If we can all share that ideal, then there’s a positive future for humanity.
Gerald Grudzen, Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religion at San José City College
I believe, through the Hizmet Movement, there are opportunities for people to come together, and understand that we are all human, and we have so much in common.
Robert McKee, Senior Pastor at St. Luke Lutheran Church Sunnyvale, California
To me, Fethullah Gülen is a teacher of great love and great good. I believe he is a teacher for all people, not only the Islamic people but for people everywhere because his message is one that if we lived this way, we would have a world of peace, and we would have a world that works for everyone.
Peggy Price, Minister Emeritus at the Seal Beach Center for Spiritual Living
I admire Fethullah Gülen so much because he has brought an intellectually credible synthesis of modernity with religious tradition.
Dirk Ficca, Presbyterian Minister in Chicago
My knowledge of Islam through the Gülen Movement has greatly increased, particularly understanding its desire for dialogue, its desire to interact with all people. It’s a very embracing, very hospitable religious tradition, which is not always what we hear in the media in the United States.
James Puglisi, Associate Director of Campus Ministry at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas
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