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The Journalists and Writers Foundation

by Enes Ergene on . Posted in An Analysis of the Gülen Movement

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The Journalists and Writers Foundation was established in 1994 accompanied by intensive coverage by the Turkish media. The first dinner gatherings, which illustrated expectations of goodwill and the spirit of reconciliation, later gave birth to the "Abant Platform," which was followed by publishing activities. Those who participated in these gatherings started new personal friendships, and formerly opposing sides quickly realized the richness of diversity. Especially, the spiritual leaders of different religions set a great example of togetherness in difference. All participants expressed their strong support for dialogue. Many probably had not expected such a warm welcome, and they similarly did not expect that these dinners would some day transform into an attempt to cultivate dialogue between religions and civilizations.

Undoubtedly, Gülen's broad sense of tolerance, his foresight, and his reconciliatory attitude created a wave of excitement and hope that could not have developed otherwise. Here we cannot disregard the powerful spiritual effect of his sincere piety and deep attachment to religious and cultural values of the society. In both the media and in political and intellectual circles, Gülen's religious identity became a subject for discussion. Apparently, how a religious figure like Gülen could catalyze such social activity they could not comprehend. Because these people had confined Gülen to the mold of a classical mosque imam, a religious identity that they never really embraced, they never realized the potential of his message. They did not know that Gülen was well-versed in Western philosophy and social science, in addition to the Islamic sciences. Such people were unable to account for Gülen's ability to bring together different cultures in an attempt to find solutions to contemporary social problems.