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A New Phase

by Gungor Mengi, Sabah on . Posted in Commentaries

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It was wrong to show Fethullah Hodja as an instrument of a state conspiracy, because his interpretations that brought him into opposition with the RP were not produced after the RP danger.

"Everyone will be accepted as they are, and no one will condescend to another because of their religion or lack of religion. No one will be looked down upon because of their way of dressing."

Of course the words I quote from Fethullah Gülen create hope and excitement. For a long time people have wanted an organization of social reaction against the RP, which has used religion as a sword and shield for its political work. Trying to claim a monopoly on Islam, the RP has opened the most dangerous kind of division.

The discussion begun by Fethullah Hodja can lead to a much sounder deterrence against religious fundamentalism than that which the state has produced. The door he opened can be a stage on the road to having the chance to live Islam within our own national identity.

The great support he received to save religion from the RP monopoly can cause other parties to take action. We have misunderstood secularism for years. We thought it meant that politics should not show any interest in religion, and so left religion defenseless. This great power, which comprises the foundation of culture, became the plaything of exploiters.

To open the people's way and secure peace and tolerance, religion must be protected by contemporary thinkers and institutions. If developments of the past few days have taught us about this need, how fortunate we are...

Gungor Mengi, Sabah daily, 2/16/95