How successful is the Gülen Movement in changing public attitudes?
To date the Gülen Movement has achieved some significant results in changing public attitudes. Through educational initiatives, new media organs and networks, opposition to violent and coercive means and methods, intercultural and interfaith dialogue, and co-operation on projects and services, the Gülen Movement has succeeded in producing new projects and services that reveal the social and political nature of the definitions previously imposed by the dominant interest groups and their apparatuses.
Fethullah Gülen and the Movement bring to the surface and act towards the elaboration of a neglected side of human experience: the need for meaning. The message of the Gülen Movement is embedded in its actions. While it generally does not ask for goods, advantages, or reforms, it nevertheless brings these forward by making visible new meaning through its practices and services.
The Gülen Movement presents society with cultural gifts through its actions: it reveals new possibilities, another face of reality. When it acts, something has been said by that action – a message has been incorporated into the social arena, and a transforming debate can get under way. The Gülen Movement’s effort is perceived by the protectionist forces as a challenge to the powers within the establishment. Whether or not the messages of the Gülen Movement’s action become topics for political contestation depends on how far they are taken up (or not) by politically relevant agents and how far they become political agendas for the public. Regardless, the Movement proves itself capable of bringing about a change in the way people’s experiences are perceived and defined or named. Thus, it becomes the bearer of the hidden potential for change, and it announces new possibilities to the rest of society.
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