how the world sees america

Finding an Islamic Movement on Santa Monica Beach

Santa-Monica-Muscle.jpg
Muscle men and taut bikinis.

ISTANBUL – In 2002, on the sand of muscle men and taut bikinis, Leo T. unfolded his sajjada on Santa Monica Beach and prayed to Mecca. A drunken homeless man rasped, “‘There is no God, man!’” and waddled away.

Leo, as his American friends call him, just laughed: “At least he knew I was praying and not throwing up . . . America is tolerant of showing your religion in public; in Turkey people would say I was trying to spread Shari'ah if I prayed outside.”

Leo, who grew up here in Istanbul, went to America in early 2001 to figure out his future; he found religion.

Its messengers were followers of the controversial Gulen Movement in Turkey, which claims to “blend Islam with modernity” while resisting secular states’ restrictions on religious expression. Opponents, especially secular Turks within the military, have accused the Gulen Movement of being a cult-like organization secretly plotting to establish an Islamic state by placing its followers within the civil service, police and educational system of Turkey.

A local teacher, Siman, says of the Movement, "The U.S. thinks it's supporting moderate Islam with Gulen, but the Movement is really a Trojan horse that will make Turkey theocratic. America is repeating her mistake...financing short-term friends who will hit them in the end." The Movement's leader, Fethullah Gulen, currently lives in Pennsylvania, fueling rumors here that he's America-backed. He moved there in 1999 for health reasons and to avoid recently-dropped charges of conspiring to undermine the Turkish state; he has 400,000 to 4 million followers worldwide.

Before Leo went to Los Angeles, he was a drummer in a rock band, “prayed without really meaning it,” sampled alcohol, and slept with a girl before marriage. Back then he says he didn't think particularly well of followers of Gulen. But his mind started to change in Los Angeles’ Wilshire-Center or Koreatown.

The year was 2001. He was twenty-five-years-old, fresh out of mandatory Turkish military service, and living in the Chancellor Hotel, "famous for prostitution,” paying $300 per month to live there, and another $300 to attend Language Systems International to learn English and figure out his future.

Getting used to America was tough. “America looked like a dream from the movies, but downtown LA was a nightmare,” Leo says. “Drugs, violence, no police.” He dated a Peruvian gogo-dancer and then a Russian saleswoman, “who was using me for a green card,” in his first year. “But I felt very alone.”

His safest, most fulfilling social interactions occurred Friday afternoons at King Fahd Mosque, where he’d mingle with other Turks. One afternoon after about six months in the U.S., a 40-plus married Turkish man struck up conversation with Leo and invited him over for dinner.

Santa-Monica-2.jpg
"There is no God, man."

“In Turkey I would have been suspicious, but in the U.S. you feel alone for a while, and if you see one of the Turkish guys you just trust them right away.” So Leo went, found the man "righteous," and a friendship began. Over the coming year, it expanded, and Leo was soon attending weekend picnics and group lectures organized by the Gulen Movement.

It happened slowly. First he quit school to change his visa status and drove a taxicab for a while. He’d spend his weekends with Gulen followers rather. One of them eventually offered him a job at his used-car dealership. The employees were all Gulen. Leo ended up renting an apartment with them.

“My environment changed - my lifestyle, friends, my job, my vision changed. I didn’t have many things to share with the secular people anymore, even if they were Turks...I needed to talk about reality [with other Gulen followers].”

Leo says, “It was my destiny to come to the United States. If I didn’t go, I would not have been involved in the Gulen Movement. Now it is my future.” He explains it like this:

“The United States is a big opportunity for everyone to improve their religion and their business. It is a free zone for everyone…to realize their capacities. I felt more free in that Christian country than my Turkish Islamic country. Unfortunately Turkish secularism is like French secularism, it is an enemy of the religion. But in America no one said anything bad about Islam. They asked you about it and tried to learn. I could learn there.”

After five years in the U.S., Leo went back to Turkey and fell in with the Movement there, running part of their travel division through Alternative Travel, owned by a Gulen follower. Leo now organizes tours for foreigners to come see Gulen foundations, schools, and media outlets like Zaman.

As we drive across the city, he’s constantly pointing out establishments owned by Gulen followers like Gulluoglu, where he tells me to get baklava, and Pirpiram, where we get dinner. I couldn't verify that their owners were Gulen.

When we part ways, I ask my least favorite question: “Can I use your full name in my article?” to which he replies, “No, please, I do not want my family to know I follow Gulen. They will think differently of me. They are not ready yet.”

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Comments (84)

Caterina:

Personally, I believe that much of what is said here is just a load of crap! Islam, teaches intolerance and hate towards the "infidel" non Muslims.It also asks for the deaths of any Muslims that object to the teaches of Islam. Is that tolerant?

To often people you who call them selves "Muslim" are really just intolerant biggots. They have two faces especially in Turkey. The scream "dialog", "liberal Islam" etc., but what they want to say and really mean is "freedom only for US the muslims". Sad, but true all too often. NO one really practices the ideal and true form of Islam. Accept it.

VICTORIA:

well ,since i asked first- you go first

zubaida Finkel:

Victoria

"respectfully, may i ask where you have gotten your ideas about islam from?"

You have asked this strange question and I must ask it you.

Gauging people souls or nearness to God is impossible. It is always the humanbeing and his creator at the end.

Islam has many axioms. Islam doesn't mean imposing religion on others. All prophets of God Peace Be upon them must not be insulted under no conditions--unless they are insane or have no brains.

Islam doesn't mean killing non-Moslems or oppressing women.

Moslems don't go over these axioms no matter what

spidon:

@ Victoria,

Does the American government also have Virginity laws like they have in Turkey?

Please see the following for a clarification:

hrw.org/doc?t=europe&c=turkey

A Matter of Power
State Control of Women’s Virginity in Turkey: June 1, 1994
"...An investigation of the prevalence of forcible virginity control exams and the role of the government in conducting or tolerating such exams, this report cites several separate incidents in the spring of 1992 when young females committed suicide after authorities ordered them to submit to examinations of their hymens."

****

Victoria, it appears that you are incapable of reading though you are very good at copy/pasting irrelevant information.
We are not talking about human rights abuses against women in America, we are discussing the need to objectify women in Turkey and thereby impose such things as "Virginity Tests" on them.

I would like you to read the article I posted to you above since it will clarify another position on the matter of the treatment of women in Turkey.

web.amnesty.org/library/index/engeur440062003

I will quote from the first page, another passage for you since you are having trouble:
"Although all women are at risk of violence, due to specific patterns of discrimination in Turkey Amnesty International is concerned that Kurdish women, particularly those living in the south-east, and women who hold political beliefs that are unacceptable to the government or the military, have been at increased risk of violence at the hands of agents of the state. Such violence is in violation of their internationally guaranteed right to be free from torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. Women who have the courage to speak out about their experiences have extreme difficulty in obtaining justice and both state and society combine to silence them."

****

Please answer me about your thoughts on the above two items. We can discuss the violence against women in the US when the issue becomes necessary.

Thank you for your cooperation

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

victoria:

thank you spidon- i live in america- we have the highest domestic abuse stats in the world

so its definitely widespread

spidon:

@ Victoria,

To answer your question on violence against women, you will find quoted below, the first sentence from a report by Amnesty International tittled:

Turkey
End Sexual Violence Against Women In Custody!

"Every day women across Turkey experience sexual and other physical violence. Women from all social and cultural backgrounds have been abused, assaulted and raped by state security forces, acquaintances, complete strangers, and by family members, including their partners. In a twisted and paradoxical use of the term, the concept of "honour" can be used to attempt to silence women who are sexually assaulted. As a consequence sexual violence flourishes and perpetrators act with impunity."

Link:
web.amnesty.org/library/index/engeur440062003

****

Please note that this problem is wide spread and it is not just the police and Security forces that engage in this act of violence.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

victoria:

o, yes jawad-

let your women and girls into your mosques

if you educate them, they wont even imagine to do such a thing to begin with

do not disregard the wishes of the Prophet(pbuh) who did not segregate women in the mosque, and when asked, stated they were not to be forbidden entry

the qu'ran also states the mosque is the refuge of the woman.

if you do this, you wotn be having such hypotheticals to discuss

so what about beating women?

victoria:

o, yes jawad-

let your women and girls into your mosques

if you educate them, they wont even imagine to do such a thing to begin with

do not disregard the wishes of the Prphet(pbuh) who did not segregate women in the mosque, and when asked, stated they were not to be forbidden entry

the qu'ran also states the mosque is the refuge of the woman.

if you do this, you wotn be having such hypotheticals to discuss

so what about beating women?

victoria:

jawad-
dont re-edit in your mind

i LEAN towards hanafi teachings
i dont follow hanafi mehzab

why do you care about a ridiculous hypothetical?

i answered you- if you dont like the answer-thats your prerogative

is this a problem in turkey?

im in america jawad, and in america children generally follow the religion of their mothers-

not because anyone can decide this- because thats how it seems to manifest.

mothers are the first teachers of children, thats why im always exhorting my fellow muslims to teach women recitiation of the holy qu'ran

so, let me ask you a question now-

do you think men can beat their wives in islam?
sura 4:34

that is also a simple question

its a real and important question, one that affects millions of women-

t shirts in universites?
how many people does that affect? if it happens at all

basically jawad- you can set limits and restrictions on people

but that doesnt mean they have to obey you
do ou think women shoud be able to wear hijab at universities?
do you think it is alright for a muslim man to beat his wife?
peace


Jawad:

Victoria

Just a simple yes or no please.

Do you think that Turkish Girls can wear Tshirts showing the Danish cartoons in Turkish universities?

Since you follow the Hanafi Mezhab , do you think that a Turkish Moslem Woman can marry a non-Moslem? what about their children should they follow the father's religion or the mother's?

peace to you too

Jawad:

Victoria

Just a simple yes or no please.

Do you think that Turkish Girls can wear Tshirts showing the Danish cartoons in Turkish universities?

Since you follow the Hanafi Mezhab , do you think that a Turkish Moslem Woman can marry a non-Moslem? what about their children should they follow the father's religion or the mother's?

peace to you too

victoria:


well, my philosophy is that i always look to the seminal impetus of anything- the core- the root cause and intention

i guess a turkish college girl is either finding her own identity, wants attention, is following her crowd, or trying to rebel against her parents.

personally- i think there cant be a really very noble motive to outwardly insult a group of people or try to deliberately inflame them.

so i would find it somewhat childish and probably ignore it.

i find denigrating others beliefs rather distasteful in general and extremely unimaginaitve.

if the secular turks are comapssionate and good mannered people, id like them as well as i like any good hearted people (which is a lot)

if they were pushy and angry about it id ignore them like i ignore any rude people

that sure is a funny question

the arificial boundaries of a nation are about the most contrived and superficial delineations one could imagine

if you're talking about nationalists- i have little use for flag wavers in general

but id have to meet them- how could i know if i like someone i never met?

peace jawad

Jawad:

Victoria

Do you think that Turkish Girls can wear Tshirts showing the Danish cartoons in Turkish universities?

DO you like secular Turks?

victoria:

bekdil- that barn door has been closed ane the horse has escaped.

zubaida, what?

although there is an insight there-
for the christian city of god, and the jewish new jeruslaem to take place (one for the 2nd coming of the messiah, the other for the first) neither will the have any use for each other.
and be compelled to kill the unbelievers (depending upon whose perspective it is)

ive asked both zealot christians and jewosh people (although i dont know any believing zionists) and its simply a discussion no one is willing to have yet.

thats why ive always considered the relgious right evangelicals and israeli zizonists a most unseasy alliance

actually though- my overarching point is and has been the unacceptablity of intolerance and bias from any perspective.

muslims against jews or christians, greeks against turks- christians against jews against muslims against hindus against buddhists against...............................

actually, the british helped bring jewish people to israel

Bekdil Karayol:

can

"dedicated to God"

you are making poor old Victoria a Christian Nun!

zubaida Finkel:

Yes Hon!! It is not only Catholics but all other Christian sects including all those Rednick Christians in the US who think if they help gather Jews from all over the world in Israel, they will help hasten the descendence of Jesus(PBUH)to earth and kill all the infindels including the Jews who will refuse to become Christians and whom the brought to Israel!

Can:

victoria
thanks you for your great effort and dont care what the some are trying to insult. because they have problem with God and they are criticizing God so it is normal for to criticize people who dedicated themselves to God.I ll pray to you Victoria. Thanks again

victoria:

where is virginia usa?

i vaguely remember seeing it- my moms name was virginia- but she has passed on

spidon- this is the second accusation youve made that i post under a falsity- the first time you said i wasnt american- and my nane isnt victoria

i tol you about my mom and my name

now you make an ugly accusation of a lie agian

do you have a guilty conscience that youre accusing someone of what youre guilty of, or what?

whats the deal with you?
you hate me because i dislike prejudice?

you need ot inculcate some suspicion of the good in people in your soul dude-because who knows who else you alienate with your suspicious nature?

why are you so worried about me?
its creepy

spidon:

Sorry to hear you are sick Bakshi.

Take care of yourself and above all, keep up the great work. You have opened a door to a discussion that must take place. Even this discussion is fascinating. I am continuously amazed in seeing how our Turkish propagandists trip all over themselves and each other.

P.S. I am not ignoring your discussion on the Armenian Genocide. I have been quite busy and feel that before commenting appropriately, I should read through all of the issues. I see however that Victoria has infiltrated that discussion under the name "Virginia USA :)"...

What an act...

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

victoria:

zubaida- the very word catholic means universal.

there are many different kinds of cathoics, thomas merton was a wonderful voice of catholicism, he believed in the universality of approaching god.

you will find franciscans, poor claires, vincentians that are non-judgemental

the priest that i had my most in depth conversations with was from nigeria, and raised a muslim. his mother father sister were muslim-

pope john paul II invited khatami to the vatican, a first in the history of the church.

On 6 May 2001, Pope John Paul II became the first Catholic pope to enter and pray in an Islamic mosque. He visited Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria, where John the Baptist is believed to be interred, and gave a speech including the statement: "For all the times that Muslims and Christians have offended one another, we need to seek forgiveness from the Almighty and to offer each other forgiveness." [14] He also famously kissed the Quran in Syria [15], an act which made him popular amongst Muslims.

In 2005, Pope John Paul II hosted the "Papal Concert of Reconciliation," which brought together leaders of Islam with leaders of the Jewish community and of the Catholic Church at the Vatican for a concert by choirs from Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Turkey with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The event was conceived and conducted by Sir Gilbert Levine, KCSG and was broadcast throughout the world.


"Christians and Muslims generally we have understood each other badly. Sometimes in the past we have opposed each other and even exhausted ourselves in polemics and wars. I believe that God is calling us today to change our old habits. We have to respect each other and stimulate each other in good works upon the path indicated by God. In a world that desires unity and peace, but which experiences a thousand tensions and conflicts, believers should foster friendship and union among humanity and the people who comprise a single community on earth" (L’Osservatore Romano, August 1985).


John Paul II has typically called the Muslims "brothers." Only a few months after his election, in an appeal for peace in Lebanon, the Pope invoked Mary as Queen of Peace: "We know that the Mother of God is greatly venerated also by our Muslim brothers."

In 1989 appealing to MUSLIMS AS BROTHERS IN FAITH regarding the situation in Lebanon, he said: "How can we BELIEVERS, sons of the merciful God, our Creator, our Guide and our Judge, remain indifferent before an entire people that is dying under our very eyes?" (September 26, 1989)

Despite modest results, John Paul II has extended the hand of brotherhood and forgiveness to "our younger brothers born in Abraham."

HERE IS HIS SPEECH AT THE UMAYYAD MOSQUE
http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0264qr.htm

so, you tell me zubaida.

do you still think that catholics consider muslims as non-believers, when the most venerated pontiff in the 20th century said these things?

as for the current pope zubaida- his most outstanding quality in determining his inheriting the papacy is his old age- ensuring that he will not be the papa for too long.

he has been known to make some racist remarks, was in the hitler youth at 14, and has raised some eyebrows with his comments.
but only ALLAH knows his heart and can judge him.

bekdil- (and spidon)

stop being such goofballs

ive worked so long and so hard that ive earned my time
its possible my career exceeds your own lifespan, unless youre older than 34.

i answer to no one, but ALLAH- and frankly- it's simply not your business what i do or do not do.

salaams amar, take care of your health and i hope to hear some interesting things on the extremely divided election coming up in lebanon.


zubaida- personally, i have enough of my own soul to worry about to bother trying to gauge the nearness of god to other people hearts, or their value to god.

the person you're praying next to may fall short and not attain paradies.

that christian or jew or pagan you see on the street may have the soul of a muslim lurking within them (lke i did)

your good dawa and example may draw them close to ALLAH- and of course your own soul will benefit greatly from that.

and finally, no dawa ever succeeded by tearing apart another persons belief-
it only makes people defensive and cling more tightly to a doctrine they didnt believe all that much to begin with

we have to offer islam and dawa with gentleness, and exhort its positive qualities to others-

and have suspicion for the good intentions in people, and you will bring them out- even if they werent initially there
peace


zubaida Finkel:

Victoria

Are you telling me that Catholics consider A moslem a believer in their religion!? You think the Pope would when consider other Christians who are not Catholics non-Christians.

Amar C Bakshi:

Victoria, Spidon, was wondering where you guys had gone, and now I find you on this thread! Reading over your posts now. Just landed in Beirut, but have gotten terribly sick, so in bed recouping...

spidon:

@ Victoria,

You sound like you have some pretty serious emotional problems. I agree with Bekdil: You spend too much time hiding from the world.

A job would improve your disposition greatly.

Bekdil Karayol:

victoria

YES.

Please take of your HijaB and get a JoB!!!

peace be upon you


victoria:

bekdil- by the way-


i live in america, iwas born here as were my parents grandparents etc...

if i wanted to look noce to westerners (or myslef i guess) id take off my hijab, and all sorts of opportunities (that dried up when i put it on) would be offered to me again.

but the fact is- i hate prejudice, i hate any xenophobia- i cant stand when people try to justify their prejudices with some negative and ugly accusations-

i lean toward hanafi teaching

as such, i have suspicion for the good intentions in people

so it pains me when i see others looking actively for the bad intentions in people

hope that clarifies my position for you

victoria:


zubaida- i just reread your posts realizing to whom you were referring-

i dont know where you got the idea that hadeeth is equal to the qu'ran, or that it is an interpretation of the qu'ran.

it is not. period. at all.

hadeeth are the sayings of the Prophet(pbuh) and his actions.
and it's source is the fallible and faulty memory of men (and women)

the qu'ran is the authoritative message of ALLAH through the angel jibreel(gabriel) to Muhammad(pbuh)

it is not fallible or subject to men's memory
and is ALWAYS referred to before and above hadeeth

you mentioned that dr al-qawadari is considered a terrorist by turks becuase he suggested muslims live in ghettos?

the good doctor did not suggest that-
he suggested muslims build a strong community in their new homes, but become inclusive in their adopted societies, and at some length and description.

if turls think he suggested "ghettoes" (which is not even a word he used) they need to read his actual words, which are posted here.

peace

DR. AL-QAWADARI
Spreading without Dispersion

I said to our brothers in such lands that they should try to have their own small community inside the large society otherwise they will dissolve just as salt dissolves in water. They should also exert great effort to establish their own religious, educational, cultural, social, and entertainment institutions. However, this cannot be achieved except through mutual affection and cooperation, as one person alone may not be effective, but he is sure to be effective when he is working alongside his fellows; and Allah the Almighty supports [those who are united in one] jama`h [group, community].

The character of the Jews has been preserved throughout history through their small society that has its own thoughts and rituals represented by what may be called “The Jewish quarter,” so Muslim [minorities] should likewise have their own “quarters”.

I am not calling for such Muslims to BECOME ISOLATED FROM THE SOCIETIES IN WHICH THEY LIVE, as this is similar to death. They should be open to the society without exposing themselves to any “dispersion”. The required “openness” is that of a herald of a certain call who seeks to be effective and influential; not that of a person whose only goal is to imitate others and keep up with them in every step they take.

We have been complaining that Arab and Muslim geniuses immigrate to foreign countries where they find a place that they cannot find in their own countries even though they are distinguished in various important and vital specializations.

Since this is an undeniable fact, it is not at all permissible to let those great geniuses forget their religion, nations, heritage, and homelands. We must exert a lot of effort to make their minds and hearts inclined to their native lands as well as their people, families, brothers, and sisters, WITHOUT VIOLATING the right of the country where they live and to which they belong [through their new nationalities].

This can be achieved if their sense of belonging and loyalty are to Allah the Almighty, His Messenger, and the believers, and if they are upset because of the worries of their [Muslim] nation, and as long as their private interests do not take them away from the general issues of their nation. This is what the Jews throughout the world do for the sake of Israel.

Additionally, this is a duty of the Islamic Movement: not to let those people be swallowed up by materialism and opportunism which are widespread in the West. They should always be reminded of their origin for which they yearn.[3]

Since Islam exists in the West and has a religious, cultural, social, and – sometimes – economic presence, it is natural and logical that it would try to complete its political presence, because politics is now interfering in everything; besides, if we disregard politics, it will not leave us alone.

That is why we should answer a number of relevant inquires raised by Muslim minorities living in the West. Some of them are native residents while others are immigrants who have obtained Western nationalities and have become a part of their people.

Their questions include: Should they suffice themselves with the religion and isolate themselves from politics? Or should they adhere to the religion and join the field of politics? If they join politics, will they do this by belonging to other parties, or should they be independent? Therefore, is it permissible to join secularist parties? Is it legal to establish a party which must commit itself to the state’s constitution? Is it permissible for a Muslim to be a candidate in parliamentary assemblies on the basis of this state of affairs where he will have to acknowledge manmade constitutions that are applied in Western and other countries? If a Muslim wins the elections and enters a parliamentary assembly, he will have to swear that he will respect the general system and act upon the constitution: is this in conformity with the creed of Islam and the rulings of Shari`ah [Islamic Law]?

Such inquiries are raised by minorities everywhere; in Europe and other places. I would even say: these questions are also raised by some Muslim groups in many Islamic countries.

Some of these groups maintain that it is prohibited to form political parties, regarding this as an error and an innovation in the religion [bid`ah].

Others say it is unlawful to join elections to obtain membership in parliamentary assemblies. Some even consider this to be against the creed and call it “polytheistic assemblies”. Furthermore, one of them wrote a tract entitled “Joining Parliamentary Assemblies Contradicts Monotheism”!

In addition, some of them object to the wording of the oath taken by the members in which they swear that they will respect and obey the constitution, and so on. Some Islamists remove this paradox by adding “in no disobedience” after the word “obey” in the oath, saying it aloud.

If this is said inside our Islamic countries, what would be the case in other countries?

Hence, a Muslim minority should not derive its political understanding from such groups which have gone away from the correct way of things because of their “extravagance”. This is because they do not acknowledge the need of Islam to exist in these countries unless it is mandatory. They say that living there should be as necessary as using toilets; we have to use them in spite of their impurity, as some of them expressed.

Even some of them say that it is prohibited for a Muslim to obtain the nationality of such countries; they may even charge a person who obtains one with disbelief, because this is – as they say – a form of loyalty or friendship with disbelievers[4] while Almighty Allah says, “… He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them…” (Al-Ma’idah 5: 51)

Some others view that it is prohibited even to reside there if it is not necessary, and “necessity” here is measured according to certain criteria. In this regard, they have doubts which have been refuted by truth-seeking scholars.

The Islamic Shari`ah is realistic, as it takes man’s needs into consideration whether material or spiritual, religious or political, cultural or economic, and whether he lives in a Muslim society or outside it. This Shari`ah considers facilitation in all its rules and rulings; it puts no pressure or hardship and forbids harming others or reciprocating their harm, especially those living outside the Muslim society, for they are more worthy of such alleviation and consideration.

In this connection, among the needs of the Muslim minority is that it needs to live while adhering to its religion, creed, rituals, values, and morals as long as it does not do any harm to others. It also needs to intermingle with the society where it lives; producing, constructing, promoting, participating in all of its [legal] activities, doing what is good, spreading guidance, calling for virtue, resisting abominations, and positively affecting the society through good examples. At the same time, it must not dissolve into this society whereby it would neglect its constituents and religious and creedal characteristics.

Not all Muslim minorities are immigrants. Some – and sometimes all –of them are natives of the country where they live. That is why a minority in any country needs a voice that can express it in legislative assemblies, defend its rights, and prevent the issue of any unfair legislation that may prohibit what Allah the Almighty has legalized, hinder it from performing what He has enjoined upon it, or oblige it to do something that is denied by the Shari`ah.

It would be very beneficial if a number of Muslims are elected to join such assemblies whether independently or as members of a certain party. Those elected Muslims are to defend their sanctities and rights as a minority which has the right to practice its religious life and rituals of worship in a manner that does not harm others. Meanwhile, they should attract fair-minded people who support justice and freedom in all times and places.

The following are a number of Shari`ah rules which are guidelines in this issue:

1. The rule: “That without which an obligation cannot be established is itself an obligation”. Therefore, if Muslims cannot obtain their rights – religious, cultural and so on, – except by participating in politics and joining elections, this becomes obligatory upon them.

2. The rule: “Matters are attached to their objectives”. This rule is unanimously agreed-upon, and it is derived from the famous hadith: “ACTIONS are [judged] only according to INTENTIONS, and every person shall be [judged] according to his INTENTION.”[5] Accordingly, whoever participates in any political activity intending to defend Muslims’ rights, religious freedom, and cultural identity, will be rewarded by Allah the Almighty for this and Muslims will be grateful to him as well.

3. The rule of “blocking means [to evil]”. If a minority’s isolating itself from politics endangers its religious and social existence, marginalizes it, deprives it of many merits, and makes it fall into numerous impasses and evils, they must block the means to such dangers, because there is a Prophetic hadith that reads, “Whoever obviates evil will have it warded off.”[6]

4. The rule: “Necessities allow banned things, and needs are equal to necessities whether they are general or special”. Therefore, if a Muslim community living in a non-Muslim society out of necessity needs someone to defend its rights in a democratic country while this would involve some legally “forbidden” things such as swearing to respect the constitution which may include things that contradict Shari`ah; in this case this “forbiddance” is removed because of necessity or need. Almighty Allah says, “… But he who is driven by necessity, neither craving nor transgressing, it is no sin for him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 173)

5. The rule of “masalih mursalah or public interests” which refer to interests concerning which the Shari`ah does not textually specify whether they are to be legally considered or cancelled, but reason accepts them as they achieve benefits – whether material or immaterial – for the Muslim community. The Prophet’s Companions adopted this rule in many matters. Any public interest must not clash with a decisive text [from the Qur’an or the Sunnah] or a decisive rule of the Shari`ah, and it must bring about a real – not illusionary – benefit for the Muslim community.

In the light of this rule we view that it is more becoming for Muslims to participate in politics in order to achieve their religious and communal interests and to ward off dangers and evils, especially [considering the fact that] if they disregard politics, it will not leave them alone.

Muslims can establish a party of their own through which they can demand their rights as well as those of others if their number and power are sufficient to establish an independent party and as long as the constitution and the law allow this.

Muslims can also present a program of reform and guidance derived from the origins of Islamic thought while being connected with the Western perspective and experimentation with the new prospects which conform with the objectives of Shari`ah and the spirit of Islam.

Moreover, there is no problem if this party has non-Muslim members, as it not only presents itself to the Muslims in particular but also to citizens in general; and it is presumed that any Islamic system should present good and real interests to all people; Muslims and non-Muslims.

Muslims can join any political acting party but they should choose one which is nearer to Islamic principles and that sympathizes with Muslims and their interests at the same time; if it has anything that contradicts Islam, they should consider the situation carefully.

This should seek to make a scientific, practical, and objective study that is undertaken by experts and specialists and discussed by those in authority in the Muslim minority in the country in question. After this, Muslims are to decide which is better for them both in secular and religious terms: to form a party of their own or to join an acting party. Also they must decide which party is nearer to them.

They may also prefer something else which may be better than all this: not to form or join any party, but to remain as a free block which affects elections by supporting a certain party or candidate. By doing so, candidates will seek to draw near to them because it always happens that minorities make a candidate exceed another and win the elections especially when the difference of votes between the two is small; so the votes of the minority will overcome this difference in the interest of one of the two candidates.


THIS IS THE DANGER OF JUST READING THE FIRST PARAGRAPH-
i can understand how someone might get that idea, but clearly, the dr elaborates and discourages isolationism in a society-

peace- the article is called "existence of islam in the west"


here is the link to the full article- (ironically from the international union of muslim scholars link i provided before)
peace
http://www.iumsonline.net/english/articles/2007/08/02.shtml


victoria:

bekdil- have you ever met a turk named victoria?

my statement-
"do you actually know any christians or jews?
i know many many many and it is only the fundamentalists who call muslims infidels"

was in response to zubaidas that all christians and jews consider muslims "infidels"

its not an unusual question for an american to ask at all-

i felt her statement indicated that she didnt know any mainstream christians and jews or she wouldnt portray them in such an intolerant way.

i live in new york, and i cant swing a dead cat without hitting christians and jews- (and hindus and muslims too)

i was raised christian- and i have hardly ever heard anyone call anyone infidels (a peculiar medeival term) and the ones who did, i made a straight shot away from.

so i wanted to know where she got such an idea, and protect my many christian and jewish friends from being defamed and misunderstood.

zubaida- why would i ask a journalist from the nixon center anything about islamic doctrine?

or anyone else?

There is no single verse in the Qur’an which prescribes an earthly punishment for apostasy

ask dr jamal badawi-
http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_1001_1050/is_apostasy_a_capital_crime_in_i.htm

you have a fundamentalist literalist extremist concept of islam that i suspect comes from faithfreedom sites-


spidon- from the quote i provided- muslims are to be peaceful and tolerant of other faiths- especially people of the book (christians and jews) and specifically forbidden from treating their fellow adherents unjustly.

we are to be protectors of each other- not to the detriment of others, but to the benefit of our community

so, i guess there are degrees- but it is in the context of the community of muslims-

i believe jewish people, and christians who strive for acceptance and understanding attitudes toward other faiths also exhort their own fellow worshippers to unity and no backbiting(malicious gossip)

o- i just figured it out-

zubaida do you mean dr al-qawadari?
of the internation union of muslim scholars?
http://www.iumsonline.net/english/index.shtml

so , zubaida. actually its not necessary to ask, as ive read his works, know his position on this issue of apostasy-

another place you can go to is the amman message- a consortium of 500 muslim scholars from all over the world, but i cant link it as it wont go through (after 2 links)

the consensus of the 500 is that no muslim may accuse another muslim of apostasy-
of course, the term muslim is defined to be inclusive of sufis, shi'ites etc...

when a muslim accuses another muslim of being a non-believer- (and the muslim is a believer) the accuse becomes guilty of the accusation themself.

we are not to call each other unbelievers
9this is my own opinion in general, and not directed at you zubaida in any way)

besides, its a rude, and judgemental and ill mannered childish kind of taunt

and has nothing to do with anything
it calls a persons heart and faith into question, thus demeaning their positon

something we, as muslims, are not in a position to judge
as only ALLAH knows a persons heart condition

9:71. The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.

2:286. On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns.


which means that we do not bear sin or blessing for other's actions

we are all uniquely personally responsible for our actions
peace

Anonymous:

the Ottomans delayed the this attack the moslem world is facing today for alomst 500 years. Ottomans were more than able to modernize their country by transfering technolgy with out losing Islam but those mason wanted to wipe out islam. where is turkey today east or werst or in mars.

Bekdil Karayol:

(Victoria(spidon))

1- The only model that explains how Non-Moslems were treated would be the Ottoman Empire, before the Masonic and Zionist Tanzimat Era. The Ottoman Empire at this precise time was a powerful Sunni Moslem Caliphate that used Sharia Law. Non-Moslems were protected by Islamic Committee headed by Shaihuleslam who applied the Quranic teachings to protect the religious and ethnic minorities. The Ottoman Sultan could not do anything for or against religious minorities without the permission of Shailhuleslam.

When the Ottomans became week and people in the Saray bought what Masons like Mustapha Reshid Pasha brought from the Brits and the French who used the rights of minority as a pretext to destroy the Ottoman Empire, Jews and Christians(Armenians) used their wealth they accumulated during the centuries, in which they lived peacefully with protection of the Quranic Laws, to tread over the Moslem Anatolian majority. This thing continues to this day. Armenians and Jews still twist Turkey's arm with the genocide thing and that is a live example. Christians and Jews continue to control the lives of Moslems all over the world to this day. They don't control the Moslems thru their ideologies only but also thru economics, politics, minority rights,…etc. And thru occupation(Israel and Iraq).They run the show.

Again, today no one should ask about the rights of Jews in Christian in the Moslem world since they still run the show.

2- Today's Turks have a severe complex of inferiority to the West. They are trying to be Westerners more than Westerners themselves. An example:

do you actually know any christians or jews? do you actually know any christians or jews?

Who would ask such a question at this day and age?!!!!!


PEOPLE WHO WANT TO LOOK NICE TO WESTERNERS AND GET THEIR BLESSINGS.

Prophet Mohammed PBUH showed that Moslems are linked together like body organs, if an organ is hurt the rest of the body suffers.

The Ataturk has severed the Turks from Islam and the Moslem.

Turks today don't really care about the Moslem world, they care about their image in the West.

They are incapable of understanding that today "Moslems" don't have rights in their own countries so that Turks would worry about non-Moslems' rights.

3- If secular Turks want to laugh, then they should laugh a the Mothers of the martyrs who died because of the policies of the Ataturk. The policies that tried to force Kurds to become Turks and deprived them from their rights. They should laugh at themselves when they say" one country and one tongue" when they cannot even talk sense in Turkey's Kurds who sympathize with the PKK.


zubaida Finkel:

Victoria

This is true Viki there are authentic(strong), weak , and forged(being put by munafiks and enemies of Islam after Prophet Mohammed's death PBUH) Hadiths.

However, statement like this
"one cannot even accuse a believer of being an unbeliever without taking the risk of being a non-believer themsleves if they are wrong
only ALLAH knows"
along with other statement like killing of apostates and stoning of adulteresses must be asked to Dr. Ali Bardakogul.

Moslem scholars have to tell us why did prophet Mohammed stone adulteresses and if such punishments must be abolished from Islam.

Only Moslem scholars, not feminists, seculars, homosexuals, or mason graduates of Roberts College and other Godless campuses of Turkey, would be able to present a good answer.

By the way Vikki ask Zayno Baran about Dr Elkardawy if you are interested

Confused!!!!!!!!:

I read Zaman, the English version on the Internet. It is a good one actually. It explains how Turks have an identity crisis.

For example, one of its columnist called Egyptian Islamists prisoners killers but that writer didn't use the same adjectives for the blackwater people. Which is a clear example that Turks still hate the Islamic world and they don't belong to the Ummah of Prophet Mohammed s.a.s.

When I look at the Expatriates sections, I thought I would read about foreigners(Mainly Europeans and Americans) talk about their life in Turkey. Instead, I see things that are very dangerous and may destroy the Moslem family. Like Moslem Turkish women marring Non-Moslem rejects from the US. Also married Turkish women having an affair with foreigners.

How could an American Non-Moslem give advise to Moslem people? If interracial marriages are failing in the US how could they succeed in Turkey. If Turkish Moslem women marry non-Moslems what will happen to the children. Won't these children become enemies of Islam and Moslem societies. What happen to Islamic Marriage in Turkey. These Americans and Europeans must help their societies before they try to give advise to Turks who have identity problems. After all "CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME"

Another example is another courageous Zaman columnist who believes that Turkey can cooperate with Saudi Wahabis in "Women Rights Issues". God help the Wahabis, in few years their daughters will marry Non-Moslems and wear red miniskirts singing 50cnets lollypop songs!!!!!

spidon:

@ Victoria, November 8, 2007 1:59 PM

I will quote you for accuracy:
"islam is the religion of overwhelming tolerance
ESPECIALLY towards other muslims"

Do you meant to say that Islam is overwhelmingly tolerant but selectively more so to Muslims?

I see!

Victoria, I think we all see that!

I am sorry for laughing so hard but what you said is exactly the type of loose language that makes a lot of people wonder whether Islam is mature enough to appreciate the humour in contradiction.

I am curious how you define 'tolerance'. As far as I can tell, the word does not have variance between minimum and maximum. You can have 'less tolerant' or 'more tolerant' but the word no longer maintains its integrity and meaning.
I am also curious how you define 'overwhelmingly' because as far as I can tell, it is used to connote an overabundance; overpowering; irresistible; or overflowing. Here again we do not have a minimum or maximum quality to the word since it already connotes a maximum. How can something be 'overwhelmingly tolerant' and also be limited?

The other issue is whether Islam is tolerant toward Muslims more than it is toward others? By your definitions of the terms, yes it is. The reality however, when we look at the empirical world around us, we see that the terms used by you and in many cases within Islam are contradictory.
This is a contradiction that is very current in Islamic teaching and thought. The evidence of proof is quite exemplary to the contrary, since we have so many examples of Islam being overwhelmingly intolerant especially to Muslims. I think, unless I am wrong, that there have been more acts of despicable cruelty subjected upon Muslims by other Muslims than against any other religious or ethnic group against Muslims.

I can make lists here but I do not think it is necessary to display the gruesome details.


Spiridon
Montreal Canada


VICTORIA:

zubaida-


All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.


i dont kow who dr elkadawi is.

if he's the world's most respected scholar, why isnt he in the international union of muslim scholars?
i searched for his name there-and there were no entries
i googled him, and there were no links

the hadeeth does not have equal power to the qu'ran

the hadeeth is based on the faulty and subjective memory of man- whereas the qu'ran is based upon the word of ALLAH- is uncorrupted since it's inception

there are many hadeeth that clearly contradict the qu'ran.

we have to make distinctions between strong transmissions and moderate or weak ones.

do you actually know any christians or jews?

i know many many many and it is only the fundamentalists who call muslims infidels

islam is the religion of overwhelming tolerance

ESPECIALLY towards other muslims

one cannot even accuse a believer of being an unbeliever without taking the risk of being a non-believer themsleves if they are wrong

only ALLAH knows

Zubaida Finkel:

Anonymous

Omitting verses from the Holy Quran that angers Jews and Christians is pure disgraceful thing. It is a way to cheat non-Moslems and undermine Quran.

Christians and Jews consider Moslems infidels. Just like Islam, they don't allow their women to marry Moslems.

This verse" There is no compulsion in religion" is used by Turkish masons who talk about fraternity and equality in religions and they forget that the holy verse has a completion.

"There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Tâghût[] and believes in Allâh, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allâh is All-Hearer, All-Knower(256:2)"

No one is forced in religion. A Moslem can apostatize. Moslems cannot force people to follow their religion.

It also shows that right and wrong is defined in Islam and the straight path to paradise is clearly defined.

It also shows that Allah knows everything.

"The last thing Our prophet describe a real muslim saying that "A muslim is a man who the others safe and sound his hand and tongue" depending on this description, A muslim is a servant of security and peace"

VERY TRUE. ONLY IN ONE CONDITION: IF I LIVE IN "PEACE" AND "SECURITY".


Zubaida Finkel:

Anonymous

Omitting verses from the Holy Quran that angers Jews and Christians is pure disgraceful thing. It is a way to cheat non-Moslems and undermine Quran.

Christians and Jews consider Moslems infidels. Just like Islam, they don't allow their women to marry Moslems.

This verse" There is no compulsion in religion" is used by Turkish masons who talk about fraternity and equality in religions and they forget that the holy verse has a completion.

"There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Tâghût[] and believes in Allâh, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allâh is All-Hearer, All-Knower(256:2)"

No one is forced in religion. A Moslem can apostatize. Moslems cannot force people to follow their religion.

It also shows that right and wrong is defined in Islam and the straight path to paradise is clearly defined.

It also shows that Allah knows everything.

"The last thing Our prophet describe a real muslim saying that "A muslim is a man who the others safe and sound his hand and tongue" depending on this description, A muslim is a servant of security and peace"

VERY TRUE. ONLY IN ONE CONDITION: IF I LIVE IN "PEACE" AND "SECURITY".


Zubaida Finkel:

Victoria

Islam has only two sources: Quran and Hadith(which contains the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammed PBUH. Hadith is the interpertation of Quran.Actions of the Prophet has equal importance and power of the Quran.

There are no moderates and immoderates.

and NO ONE PLAYS WITH CONSTANS IN ISLAM!!!

Dr Elkardawi is the most respected scholar of the Moslem world. He is loved by hundreds of millions of Moslems. However, many Turks consider him a terrorist because he speaks the conscious of the Moslem world.

He encouraged moslems in the West to live in ghettoes. This angered many Turks who wanted Moslems(Turks),who live in the West, to mix with Europeans so that they could fit or assimilate into western culture. They wanted their daughters to marry non-moslems.In other words, they want moslems in West to tread over Islamic constants.

This shows that there is a great rift between Turkey and the Moslem world.

Many people in the moslem world mistakenly believe that Islamist won in Turkey and Secualrs lost because of them and Turkey is returing to Islam. in fact, AKP is not an Islamic party and when it won,it told Turkey that it will respect Ataturk stuff. Many of those who voted for it dirnk, fornicate, and believe that they will enter paradise just because they are proud to be moslems!!!

this means that those who were raised with the picture of the Ataturk hanging all over and lived in a very western modern life style voted for AKP.

this is why I gave two opetions to the secular Turks. it is a very disgraceful defeat.

Osmanli:

No one dares to underestimate the fact that Istanbul was a hub for Islam during the Ottoman times(before the Masonic Tanzimat Era). At that time,Istanbul used to send Moslem scholars all over the world.

No one dares to underestimate the Hoca Efendi Gulen and the international achievements of his movement. The Hoca is a blessed Moslem scholar and his parents are also blessed. He is a student of the Great Kurdish scholar Imam Nurasi.


But one cannot ignore the effects of the environment from which the movement originated. The Ataturk was a vocal enemy of Islam. Between the 1920s and the 1950s Islam couldn't be taught in Turkey. 30 years is a long time. Long enough to create a generation that despises Islam. Long enough to distort the "Fitrah"-the innate predisposition to distinguish between good and evil with which God has created human beings- of many Turks.

Many Turks pontificate about the fact that when the Ataturk kicked the Ottomans out he closed all sources or places of foreign interests. But just like so many exaggerated "suppose to be" facts about the Ataturk, that was as another lie. Masonic lodges spread to suburbs and villages. Ali Hasan Yucel, the Turkish education minister in the 1930s, was a known freemason. One only can imagine how dangerous it is for freemasonry to reach the minds of young Turks and their teachers.

Imam Nurasi saw this danger and describe it as an attack on faith . That's why he spent the rest of his life writing the letters or messages of light to try to save what the Turkish seculars and atheists done to the Turk's Islamic faith. Because Imam Nurasi lived during the last days of the Ottoman Empire he saw a vision that materialized today. He saw the Ottoman empire giving birth to atheism and Europe giving birth to Islam. Today, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and in Europe in particular.

This is were the importance of Hoca Efendi Gulen movement exist. As Islam is being attacked in the West, the movement may build a good foundation for those who ask questions about this religion which is coming under fire. Their experience from their international interaction will provide them with the appropriate tool.

However, keeping in mind the environment effect, mentioned above, it is important to see how this affects they way the intellectuals of this movement see the Moslem world from which they were severed. It is also important to see the effect of the past 80 years, after the death of the ataturk and the policies his successors inherited from him, on their understanding of Islam and its role in the society.

Osmanli:

No one dares to underestimate the fact that Istanbul was a hub for Islam during the Ottoman times(before the Masonic Tanzimat Era). At that time,Istanbul used to send Moslem scholars all over the world.

No one dares to underestimate the Hoca Efendi Gulen and the international achievements of his movement. The Hoca is a blessed Moslem scholar and his parents are also blessed. He is a student of the Great Kurdish scholar Imam Nurasi.


But one cannot ignore the effects of the environment from which the movement originated. The Ataturk was a vocal enemy of Islam. Between the 1920s and the 1950s Islam couldn't be taught in Turkey. 30 years is a long time. Long enough to create a generation that despises Islam. Long enough to distort the "Fitrah"-the innate predisposition to distinguish between good and evil with which God has created human beings- of many Turks.

Many Turks pontificate about the fact that when the Ataturk kicked the Ottomans out he closed all sources or places of foreign interests. But just like so many exaggerated "suppose to be" facts about the Ataturk, that was as another lie. Masonic lodges spread to suburbs and villages. Ali Hasan Yucel, the Turkish education minister in the 1930s, was a known freemason. One only can imagine how dangerous it is for freemasonry to reach the minds of young Turks and their teachers.

Imam Nurasi saw this danger and describe it as an attack on faith . That's why he spent the rest of his life writing the letters or messages of light to try to save what the Turkish seculars and atheists done to the Turk's Islamic faith. Because Imam Nurasi lived during the last days of the Ottoman Empire he saw a vision that materialized today. He saw the Ottoman empire giving birth to atheism and Europe giving birth to Islam. Today, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and in Europe in particular.

This is were the importance of Hoca Efendi Gulen movement exist. As Islam is being attacked in the West, the movement may build a good foundation for those who ask questions about this religion which is coming under fire. Their experience from their international interaction will provide them with the appropriate tool.

However, keeping in mind the environment effect, mentioned above, it is important to see how this affects they way the intellectuals of this movement see the Moslem world from which they were severed. It is also important to see the effect of the past 80 years, after the death of the ataturk and the policies his successors inherited from him, on their understanding of Islam and its role in the society.

Osmanli:

No one dares to underestimate the fact that Istanbul was a hub for Islam during the Ottoman times(before the Masonic Tanzimat Era). At that time,Istanbul used to send Moslem scholars all over the world.

No one dares to underestimate the Hoca Efendi Gulen and the international achievements of his movement. The Hoca is a blessed Moslem scholar and his parents are also blessed. He is a student of the Great Kurdish scholar Imam Nurasi.


But one cannot ignore the effects of the environment from which the movement originated. The Ataturk was a vocal enemy of Islam. Between the 1920s and the 1950s Islam couldn't be taught in Turkey. 30 years is a long time. Long enough to create a generation that despises Islam. Long enough to distort the "Fitrah"-the innate predisposition to distinguish between good and evil with which God has created human beings- of many Turks.

Many Turks pontificate about the fact that when the Ataturk kicked the Ottomans out he closed all sources or places of foreign interests. But just like so many exaggerated "suppose to be" facts about the Ataturk, that was as another lie. Masonic lodges spread to suburbs and villages. Ali Hasan Yucel, the Turkish education minister in the 1930s, was a known freemason. One only can imagine how dangerous it is for freemasonry to reach the minds of young Turks and their teachers.

Imam Nurasi saw this danger and describe it as an attack on faith . That's why he spent the rest of his life writing the letters or messages of light to try to save what the Turkish seculars and atheists done to the Turk's Islamic faith. Because Imam Nurasi lived during the last days of the Ottoman Empire he saw a vision that materialized today. He saw the Ottoman empire giving birth to atheism and Europe giving birth to Islam. Today, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and in Europe in particular.

This is were the importance of Hoca Efendi Gulen movement exist. As Islam is being attacked in the West, the movement may build a good foundation for those who ask questions about this religion which is coming under fire. Their experience from their international interaction will provide them with the appropriate tool.

However, keeping in mind the environment effect, mentioned above, it is important to see how this affects they way the intellectuals of this movement see the Moslem world from which they were severed. It is also important to see the effect of the past 80 years, after the death of the ataturk and the policies his successors inherited from him, on their understanding of Islam and its role in the society.

VICTORIA:

:)

Laura:

Thanks Victoria
I agree with you.

VICTORIA:

zubaida- respectfully, may i ask where you have gotten your ideas about islam from?

it kind of sounds like you got a hold of faithfreedom-

stay away from those sites-

http://www.iumsonline.net/english/index.shtml

this is the international union of muslim scholars

i can think of no possible contention or reasoning in any way that would condone secular turks, or any human being in the world committing suicide.

suicide is against islam- is strictly prohibited

if any one who is a muslim ever suggest such a thing to you, you should know immediately that they are either- a fake-
or- do not have any knowledge about islam but are following some provincial tradition

Anonymous:

Zubeide you are talking only from your perspective. you are not fair. İf you would like to talk about İslam you have to depend İslamic evidence and İslamic history. All İslamic evidences and history are against you. For example, I ll point out one verse in Quran: "There is no compulsion in İslam" so Muslim can not force any miniroties to convert their religion and culture. Look at Endulus history, look at Ottaman history. They have never forced any miniroties to convert their religion and culture. Muslim people governed İndia 1000 year, today only 20% percentage of İndia population muslim.
The last thing Our prophet describe a real muslim saying that "A muslim is a man who the others safe and sound his hand and tongue" depending on this description, A muslim is a servant of security and peace.
Take care

Zubaida Finkel:

"And indeed We have written in Zabûr (Psalms) [i.e. all the revealed Holy Books the Taurât (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), the Qur'ân] after (We have already written in) Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz (the Book, that is in the heaven with Allâh), that My righteous slaves shall inherit the land (i.e. the land of Paradise) "(21 :105)

This Kuranic verse is straight forward. Secular Turks are true about the existence of a hidden Islamic agenda. This hidden agenda isn't going to be coming from Hoca Efendi Erbakan, Hoca Efendi Gulen, PM Erdogan,..etc

It will be coming from God.

Secular Turks must either convert to other religions or commit suicide.

Righteous slaves of God don't do the following:

1-Hate sharia law
2-Mix secularism with Islam
3-Create a new version of Islam called liberal Islam.
4-omit the translation of Surat EL fatiha that angers Jews and Christians.
5-Allow Moslem women to marry non-Moslem men
6-The list will go on for ever and Moslems will ask if Turkey really has anything in common with the rest of the Moslem world?! And if the Ottomans took Islam with them.

VICTORIA:

hi leo- i have to makeone quick comment- did any of your family see your photos on this board here?

i understand your hesitancy to possibly misrepresnt the gulen movement-
we have some links here that people can access for themsleves if they choose.

i guess compiling info and deicidnign what to leave in and out of an article is a difficult task, and amar is covering alot of issues in a short time-

gulens message is powerful, and obviously has affected alot of turks, especially young people.

when i first became muslim 9 years ago (im american) there were some foundation press people there and i fell in love with a book by gulen-

i remeber the director of the mosque, saw me, came out and told me to stay away from turks!

but he is turkish!
he knew my proclivity for sufism, and i think as i was a new muslim he was trying to protect me from getting sidelined before i had a fundamental basic understanding of islam.

i still took the book, and have read gulen and nursi since.

i understand you wanting to make a distinction of not praying in front of muscle beach-

i lived there for a year, and its hardly the most spiritual of places.

having said that, it was there that i had my first conversations with a muslim-
i was feeding homeless people there living at the cadillac hotel and a muslim used to come and talk to me for hours- took me to garden grove- gave me my first prayer rug- and a series of tapes by jamal badawi.

funny how such a place could have a spiritual effect on 2 people across the expanse of the world-

however- it wasnt until 15 years later that i rediscovered islam- but the seed were planted there-
maybe thats why im so interested in your story.
(im an old married lady now-)

still though- you should elaborate- or even continue the interview saying what you werent able to get in at the time.

peace to you leo and amar too- i must say one good thing about amar ,leo-

most writers on these boards NEVER coe back and interact with the people- they just drop their opinions and odnt wait to see how theyre responded to-

i find it encouraging and repsonsible journalism that amar comes back to see how his articles are received, and repsonds to them

peace all

Amar C. Bakshi:

That said Leo, regardless, please post away!

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hi Leo, I'm glad your engaging on this thread and fixing anything you feel is left out. I am happy to show you my notes from our conversation if you feel misquoted. As to leaving out parts of the day, I thought your story was by far the most fascinating and unfortunately cannot include everything. Indeed, this piece is ultimately about you, not the whole Gulen Movement. That said, any corrections you feel I must make, please do call me so I can ensure it's you, and I will make them and issue a correction.

Leo:

Victoria
As I said I am not representing the movement by myself and it is not enough space to tell you whole movement.You can buy Mr.Gulen's books or check out his web site over the internet to understand his thoughts about the movement. I was just trying to explain Mr.Bakshi the movement guys righteousness and the pozitive effects of it on me .What bothers me is Mr.Bakshi did not mentioned about the point and picked some words ,put them in the article.Also some words that did not came out from my mouth.
I have never said this guys were crazy before.I just said I had some prejudice about the movement before because I did not know too much about it besides rumors.(He wrote 'I said those guys were crazy)
Praying behind the muscle men and taut bikini girls on the beach never happened.At that time there was only me and one of drunk guy passing by at nighttime and that happened only once. I used to pray whereever is available for me when I was in U.S.because there were not enough mosque or masjid there.
I do not know on purposely or not but It is not really my story and the movement perspective.
So my point is a journalist should be objective and give the truth to people with all details by the end of deep researching.You can be a novelist by using your imagination but not a journalist.

VICTORIA:

leo- why not give the information on the movement in turkey here?

the "there is no god man" caption is referring to the homeless drunk guys comment while you were praying, i do believe.

so you have the floor, give the information you felt was left out.

Leo:

By the way Muscle beach is still venice beach.I have never prayed at venice beach just in Santa Monica beach right by the shutters hotel and there were no muscle man and taut bikini girls while I was praying. That happened only once.Mr. Bakshi is just using his imagination to fabricate a story.
Also I did not understand the comment that says "there is no god man" under the picture of beach.

Leo:

Hi this is Leo hero of the story
First of all I would like to say Mr.Bakshi has used some words that did not come out from my mouth.I have just explained him lots of pozitive effects of the movement on me.I had some habits when I was a young then I traveled to U.S. and met the movement then my life has changed.I feel better now.
For instance he asked me was I drinking alcohol and I said " no I did not but I tried couple of times because I was curious" other then no because I never liked taste of it.
At another point he mentioned about meetint with this guys at the King Fahad Mosque.First of all that was not King Fahad moque just small masjid in San Fernando valley. I told him I have met the most righteous people ever in my life then we built a friendship first and shared wonderfull memories with them.
He has never mentioned about their righteousness.
Also we had very informative appointments at some organizations in Turkey.They gave him very detailed information about the movement but in the article he has never mentioned about it.
Why? On purposely?
At the end I would like to say I am not representing the movement by myself also no one can do it. This is a whole thing and this article is not about the movement it is about myself.I suggest to Mr.Bakshi be objective and try to get more and right information if you write a article.

VICTORIA:
Dincer:

The author missed some important details. The state prosecutor who charged Gulen with the charges mentioned was caught on video tape having sex with a subordinate and was removed from office. Also, the case against Gulen was dismissed last year after not much of a progress. A descendant of Rumi and a sufi master himself invited Gulen to write the foreword for his book on the life and teachings of Rumi, because, in his words, Gulen is "a modern day Rumi among us." Anybody sincerely interested in learning the thoughts of the man should read his own works, in part available at www dot fgulen dot org. A number of academic publications are also available, one coedited by John Esposito.

VICTORIA:

JANE,

that was really long- cut and pastes generally get passed over by most-

but it was worth the read-

http://en.fgulen.com/content/category/293/295/4/

i have taken the liberty of putting the link here- but it seems links arent going through

well, i'll try
peace and thank you

Jane:

Islam and Terror: From the Perspective of Fethullah Gülen

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Written by Dr. Ismail Albayrak
03.04.2006
To associate two radically opposed concepts, Islam and terror, seems nowadays to be considered a 'natural' reaction to comtemporary events; thus we feel that we are an under obligation to bring these two different terms together in our paper. The aim of this paper is to show that there is no direct relation between them. To do this we focus mainly on the question: what is the meaning of terror? We examine what Islam says about terror; the relationship between the notion of jihad and Islam; the status of suicide attacks in Islam; and the false justification of war in the modern world, which can only pave the way for terrorist actions. We address these issues from the perspectives of the distinguished and eminent Turkish scholar and thinker Fethullah Gülen. The paper concludes with a summary of the positive effects of the interfaith/cultural dialogue meetings initiated by Gülen both within and outside Turkey in order to promote national and international tolerance, peace and mutual understanding.

Although terrorist activities are defined with great difficulty today, terrorism's cruel and ruthless disregard of laws and ethics was shown by the attacks of 11 September. In addition, now that terrorists or their organisations potentially have access to chemical, nuclear and biological weapons, the possibility of killing large numbers of innocent people and mass destruction has increased to a frightening extent. Now everybody is vulnarable to a terrorist attack and many live in a continual state of fear. Today we know very well that these crimes are perpetrated across borders and cause global unrest and create anarchy, fear and uncertainty. We unfortunately observe that the terrorists who have unleashed this global calamity against all humanity, do not see themselves as guilty. Furthermore, their attacks on innocent people only serve to increase their internal solidarity, resistance, unity and conviction of their own righteousness. Consequently, these organised activities produce in our modern world polarity between 'us' and 'them'. It is a great pity that, similarly to the terrorists, some media members, scholars, politicians, strategists and other institutions must be held responsible for this polarisation. We observe sadly that in recent years people easily associate our common problem, namely terrorism, with Islam and Muslims, and thus Muslims are quickly categorised as 'them'. The approach of Fethullah Gülen to this complex problem is extremely important due to the difficulty of formulating and sustaining a balanced view. Gülen's approach to terror eschews easy emotionalism and prejudice and seeks to embrace all humanity. Before examining Gülen's approach to the status of terror in Islam, we will consider the relationship between war and the notion of jihad.

As noted above, Islam and terror are now generally debated together; nonetheless, when we analyse the Islamic sources and tradition deeply it will be seen that there is no relationship between terror and Islam. In fact there is no religion in the world which condones terror. Because religions aim at assuring peace, happiness and prosperity, terror is, clearly incompatible with of their basic tenets. It is therefore not reasonable to attribute a terrorist act to the religion of a particular terrorist. The terrorist might be Muslim, Christian or Jewish but this does not mean that his or her act is an Islamic, a Christian, or a Jewish act. Thus the phrase 'Islamic terror' should be regarded as an insult to pious, sincere and innocent Muslims all over the world; a few uneducated, discontented, misled, deceived, brain-washed fanatics should not be taken to represent countless sincere believers. Clearly the association of Islam -which is etymologically derived from the Arabic root silm meaning 'peace', 'submission', 'deliverance' and 'safety'- with terrorism is a grievous mistake. From the Qur'anic perspective, attention should be paid to the relationship between the concept of sulh (peace) and the concept of sâlih amal (good deeds). Sâlih, like sulh, comes from the same root and means 'to cleave to peace or move towards peace.' Gülen holds that this peace is a result of Tawhid (Unity of God/Oneness of God) and that Islam, being a religion of Unity (Tawhid), ensures universal unity, equality, peace and cooperation among the humankind.[1] Briefly, Islam is a religion of peace and safety and 'Muslim' means a trustworthy, peaceful and reliable person. Thus when the Prophet Muhammed describes the Muslim he says that the people are safe from his hand and tongue.

It should first be emphasised that one of the greatest sins in Islam is killing a person. Allah says in Surah Nisa (4:93) 'If a man kills a believer intentionally, his reward is Hell for ever. Allah's wrath is against him and He has cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom.' The eminent companion exegete Abd Allah ibn Abbas interprets this verse to mean that the repentance of those who kill a believer purposefully will be denied, and they will be doomed to eternal Hell.[2] In fact the Qur'an promises not only the punishment of the killer in the hereafter but also the reward and punishment of the smallest (good and bad) action in the hereafter: 'Who do good an atom's weight and who do ill an atom's weight will see it then.'[3] Interestingly, when we look at the main source of Islam, namely the Qur'an, it will be seen that killing innocent people is mentioned together with associating other gods with Allah.[4] If the Qur'an and the life of the Prophet Muhammed are examined deeply it will be seen that both offer a strong condemnation of terrorism, which is the most catastropic calamity facing human kind today. Also, while killing a person is considered one of the most grievous sins in Islam, Islam also strictly prohibits suicide. According to Islamic law, one has no right to end one's own life or damage one's body; the argument that one owns one's life or body is erreneous. The reason for this lies in the Qur'an: 'Verily We have honoured the children of Adam. We carry them on the land and the sea, and have made provision of good things for them, and have preferred them above many of those whom We created with a marked preferment.'[5] The Qur'an thus gives honour and glory to all mankind equally, and considers killing one innocent person equal to killing the whole of human kind.[6] This point is crucially important because it demonstrates that Islam considers killing to be a crime committed against not only Muslims but all humanity. Moreover, the Qur'an places great emphasis on the virtue of peace[7] and this does not permit anyone to respond to an evil deed with one which is worse; instead, it says 'Repel the evil deed with one which is better...'[8]. Sound reason also suggests this teaching. Injustice should not be resisted by sowing the seeds of revulsion and hatred among the people. The Qur'an and the life of the Prophet show us various peaceful methods in the solution of this problem.

Another important Islamic concept is jihad. Considering the life of human kind the most honourable, and issuing many rules for the preservation of human happiness in this world and the hereafter, Islam acts with proper prudence to stop war, terror, injustice and anarchy. Nevertheless, we know that Islam allows Muslims to fight in particular situations, which, however, it regards as arizi (unnatural) and secondary. Peace, however, is essential in Islam. War is justified only to prevent chaos (which leads to wars), anarchy, tyranny, mischief, rebellion and so on. The Qur'an explains this issue in Surah Baqara (2:191) by stating 'tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter'. Thus war is justified in these exceptional circumstances. Islamic law acknowledges that Muslims have the right to protect their religion, life, property, progeny, and their honour and sacred values. But Islam was the first religion in human history to codify regulations of war on the basis of rights and justice. In Surah Mâida, Allah says 'O those who believe! Stand out firmly for God as witnesses to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just; that is next to piety; and fear God for God is well acquainted with all that you do'. Attention should be paid to the issue that Islam allows war only to prevent anarchy; it does not sanctify war undertaken in order to compel people of other religions to convert to Islam or to bring the whole world under Islamic sovereignty, Dar al-Islam. In other words, Islam contains no concept of 'holy war' in this issue. If a Muslim country is secure, war is not obligatory. In addition, it is not legitimate to declare war against any people only on the basis of their disbelief (kufr). There is also no claim in Islam to make the entire world Muslim. The Qur'an states clearly 'Not all people will believe'[9]

It is therefore a great pity that many people simplify the term jihad by associating it with war, offering shallow arguments concerning its meaning. This reductionist approach to the term narrows the comprehensiveness of the notion of jihad, because this key Qur'anic term is one of Islam's most important concepts, which embraces both the material and the spiritual life of mankind. Jihad does not mean simply a holy war. Although the word jihad and its conjugations are repeated some 34 times in the Qur'an, only four of these usages refer directly to war.[10]Jihad, as Fehullah Gülen has stated in general terms, is every kind of effort made by believers to obtain God's approval and to satisfy Him. There are various dimension of jihad (strife, endeavour and fighting). It is possible to categorise them as physical, psychological, sociological, and intellectual jihads. For instance, the Messenger of God equate those who work for widows and the poor with those who make jihad for God.[11] In an other place the Prophet informs us that the greatest jihad is a jihad made against one's self.[12] As Fethullah Gülen explains: Jihad is purification and seeking perfection to please God; cleansing the mind, by means of Qur'anic verses, from false preconceptions, thoughts, and superstitions; expelling impurities from the heart through prayer; asking for forgiveness; austerity (riyada); and studying the Book, wisdom, and other knowledge with a purified heart and mind.[13] Interestingly, the Prophet's description of war as a minor jihad shows clearly the object of the major jihad: in Islamic understanding jihad means an individual's struggle against Satan. Briefly, jihad is a form of worship which embraces the material and spiritual dimensions of mankind. War is limited to the external/physical aspect of this struggle and consititutes only a small part of jihad. Islam fixes the boundaries of both major and minor jihads and it should be remembered that these boundaries and dimensions are not only legal but also humane and ethical.

We should now examine the Islamic principles concerning the rules of war. First of all Islam states clearly that individuals may not start a war on behalf of Muslims. One cannot issue a fatwa (legal pronouncement) to fight against another country, nation, group or individuals. The reason for this is quite simple: according to Islamic law, the declaration or initiation of a war is the duty of a State in accordance with certain principles. No companion during the lifetime of the Prophet) declared a war individually. When the state initiates a war it must obey certain principles. According to Gülen, in war Islam defines the limits that constrain the treatment of the enemy. We see the best example of this at a time near the death of the Prophet. When he was ill, news came that the Northern Arabs, along with the Byzantins, were preparing an attack on Madina. The Prophet ordered the preparation of an army under the command of Uthama b. Zayd, and gave the following instructions to Uthama: Fight in God's way. Do not be cruel to people. Do not go against your covenant. Do not cut down trees bearing fruits. Do not slaughter livestock. Do not kill the pious who are secluded in monasteries, engaged in worship, or children and women…[14] The instructions of the Prophet were enshrined in Islamic legal literature, to the effect that the killing of non-combatants such as women, children, the elderly, the disabled is expressly forbidden.[15] There is no Islamic text which allows the killing of innocent civilians in war, because they are held to be not combatant (muharib). The Qur'an states clearly 'Fight in the cause of God those who fight you (who are liable and able to fight, and who participate actively in the fight) but do not transgress the limits; for God loves not transgressors' (Baqara, 2:190). The Arabic verb yuqâtilûna in the verse is of extreme importance. To explain this in grammatical terms, the mood (reciprocal form) in Arabic denotes 'participation' which, in this sense, means 'those who fall under the status of combatant'. Thus non-combatants are not to be fought against. This must be obeyed rule in war and applies equally stringently when war has not been declared. In addtion to this, according to Islamic law, Muslims may not start a war without informing their enemy, and if the enemy calls on them to negotiate a settlement the Muslim forces must cease figthing.

Thus when the war starts Muslim fighters should not kill civilians; In deed, the Qur'an (Baqara, 2:190) warns Muslims not to transgress the limits of war even against the warriors of the enemy. The meaning of 'transgression' here is not to kill civilians, not to torture enemy's warriors, to respect the dead bodies of the enemy, to meet the basic needs of the enemy and to obey the rules of war. It is important to note that Islam prohibits transgression in the form of reprisal. For example, if the enemy's soldiers rape Muslim women, Muslim soldiers should not rape the enemy's women; this prohibition also applies to the torture of captured warriors, to attacks on civilians, and so on. It is well known that when the Muslims in Andalus (Spain) were expelled from the peninsula, some Muslims asked the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II to expel his Christian subjects from Istanbul as a retaliation for the Christians' attacks on the Andalusian Muslims. However, the Ottoman Shayk al-Islam Zambilli Jamali Efendi objected, arguing that this practice was against Islamic law concerning the rights of non-Muslim subjects.[16] In brief, Islam forbids reprisal and the frame of every action in war is defined by Islamic law, which nobody may transgress.

As shown above, Islam insists on the legal rights of the enemy soldier in war, even though it is difficult to maintain a balance in a combat this situation. If the enemy is protected by Islam, the civilian is protected even more stringently. No one may touch an innocent person; no one may be a 'suicide bomber' who rushes into crowds with bombs tied to his or her body; no one may kidnap innocent civilians and behead them, no matter what their religion. Moreover, as it bans attacking civilians in war, Islam considers attacking civilians in peace as the most grievous sin. The Qur'an, as has been mentioned above, equates killing innocent people with unbelief (Furqan, 25:68; An'âm, 6:151). Thus those who attack the lives of innocent people in the name of religion will lose their happiness in this world and salvation in the hereafter. Islam is a true faith and it should be lived truly. As Gülen has pointed out, faith cannot be attained by the use of untrue methods. In Islam, just as a goal must be legitimate, so must all the means employed to reach that goal. From this perspective it is clear that one cannot achieve Heaven by murdering another person.[17] Considering that human life is the most precious thing in Islam, the gravity of the present situation is obvious. Gülen, who openly cursed the terrorists behind the attack of 11 September, calls upon everybody to curse the terrorists who are darkening the bright face of Islam, and to take collective action against them. As an Islamic scholar and an expert in this field, Gülen finds it unacceptable to associate Islam with terrorism. He declares that a Muslim must not be terrorist and a terrorist cannot be a true Muslim.[18] The individuality of a crime is basic principle in Islam; whoever commits a crime is the only person to be called to account. As repeatedly stated in the Qur'an 'no bearer of a burden can bear the burden of another' (An'âm, 6:164; Nahl, 16:15; Fâtir, 35:18). Therefore it is not permissible in Islam to issue a fatwa allowing a crime against civilians to be carried out. It is obvious that such attacks are indiscriminate except in the sense that civilians rather than military personnel are deliberately targeted. Such indiscriminate attacks are totally incompatible with one of the general principles of Islamic law.[19] The proposition that any action is legitimate in order to achieve an undefined goal is contrary to Islam. The example used by Gülen is as follows: if there are nine guilty persons and one innocent on a ship, this ship should not be sunk; the innocent should not be sacrificed to punish the guilty majority.[20]

As we stated above, individual cannot declare war; only the state can do so. Today, those who carry out suicide attacks are acting contrary to the principles of their religion, and perpetrating irreligious acts in the name of religion. Gülen insists that Islamic principles should be tested by the consensus of the Muslim community (scholars). This shows his reliance on and trust in Islamic sources and the tradition which has carried these sources and their interpretation from age to age up until today. Thus a few unqualified extremists' fatwas approving suicide attacks which are not confirmed by the Muslim community do not represent the view taken by Islam and its true followers. Having summarised the status of suicide attacks in Islam, we will focus on the causes of these activities, their historical background and some solutions in the light of Fethullah Gülen's evaluations.

At the beginning of this paper we noted that Gülen approaches the problem from various angles, considering religious, political, social, psychological and economic dimensions. At this juncture we place great stress on his critical re-evaluation of the approaches to terrorist activities adopted by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Gülen states that both Muslims and non-Muslims are responsible for the instability of the world today. Concerning Muslims, he argues that some thoughtless people who lack the power of discernment narrow the broad scope of Islam. For this reason Gülen suggests that such people must first change the image of Islam in their mind. Because they have no comprehensive understanding of the sources, they take as reference only some sections of the Islamic sources without exploring the Qur'an and the Prophetic tradition, or the understandings of prominent Muslim scholars. They read these texts literally and mostly out of context without examining what precede or follows them. The results are disastrous: they misinterpret their religion and then put this misunderstood religion into practice; consequently they are misguided and they misguide others. Muslims should, Gülen says, begin to re-evaluate the fatwas of the people who say they represent Islam today, because today everybody experiences directly or indirectly the damage of the terror which directly results from this intolerance and misinterpretation. Furthermore, Gülen emphasises the danger of the idea that carrying out terrorist acts under the pretence of 'representing the oppressed nations of the world' against the innocent people of other nations; this notion is by no means compatible with Islam. Terror does harm to Islam, Muslims and humanity at large. In fact Gülen thinks that an Islamic world does not really exist today, as Muslims are divided and scattered throughout the world. Today Muslims are not able to contact one another and constitute a union, or to work together to solve common problems. Thus he believes that at the moment Muslims cannot contribute to the world peace effectively.[21] There are a number of ossified problems in the Muslim world and the existence of these problems makes it easy for some evil powers to manipulate the vulnerable. Moreover, the ongoing problems of poverty, the lack of education for the poor, states' inability to unite with their citizens, a deficient understanding of the notion of the social state, a lack of democratic goverments which give priority to the rights and freedoms of their citizens, and, most importantly, the neglect of the spiritual and ethical life of the people have led to a detoriation of the general condition of the Muslim world.[22] Besides these factors, some experts say that uneducated youths might be brain-washed or even controlled by drugs to carry out terrorist attacks. All these explanations show clearly that the war waged against the terrorist organisations by police or military forces will not be sufficient to stop them. Gülen has stated that to fight against the ideology of the terrorists we need the arguments of the intellectuals. Gülen also notes that one cannot establish order on the basis of rude power; military measures can only result in disorder and injustice.[23] It is also generally acknowledged that an order achieved by mere force and rude power cannot last long. Gülen expresses his dissatisfaction with the explanation that the reason behind these terrorist activities is religion, and points out that when religion is held to be the source of violence, the major factor and power goes unnoticed.[24]

We will consider now Fethullah Gülen's approach to the problem of overcoming this global calamity of terror. It is important to note that, in contrast to many observers, Gülen, while acknowledging certain negative developments, thinks that the world situation is not detoriating and there will be no clash of civilisations. According to Gülen, those who are looking forward to a catastrophic future for the world and a clash of civilisations, are evil individuals or groups who are unable to impose their world view on the people and hope that global antagonisms will ensure the continuation of their power in the world.[25] Nonetheless, the global political situation does not look hopeful, and we should not be complacent. Gülen emphasises that education must play a very important role in helping to resolve the world's problems; his experience has thought him that the key problem of our modern civilisation is the education of mankind.[26] Today, many schools and other educational centres established on his advice and initiative both within Turkey and outside Turkey are making very good progress to achieve this aim.

Besides education, another important activity initiated by Gülen in the cause of world peace is 'dialogue meetings.' As Ergene has pointed out, these meetings are an extension of Gülen's golabal educational activities; they also serve the education of humanity. Although he has been severely criticised by some people, he bravely argues that these dialogue meetings are primarily concerned with religion and are thus a religious duty. Gülen constantly insist on the religious nature of the meetings because the basic Islamic sources advise Muslims to engage in dialogue with other faiths. Thus Gülen says that the dialogue is not his invention or innovation, but a revival of the most neglected aspect of Islam. His constancy in this regard is very sincere: he has said that even if the sensitive political balance of the world changes a thousand times he will never stop the dialogue meetings; the Islamic sources do allow him only to do so. For Gülen, dialogue and tolerance mean accepting every person irrespective of their own status and learning to live together. He is concerned to show that the rights of the religion, life, travel, trade, property, free speech and so on are guaranteed by the Prophetic tradition, the best examples are being the document of Madina and the farewell speech of the Prophet Muhammed. Although there are ten years between these two events, Gülen says, there is no difference between them in their approaches to the rights of non-Muslims (Jews, Christians) and even of unbelievers. For Gülen this indicates clearly the religious imperative to continue the dialogues. Gülen also accepts that due to a lack of dialogue, some mistakes have been made by Muslims in the history of Islam, but Gülen argues that the history of Islam is also full of good examples of dialogue. It is very important to note here that Gülen makes reference to the synthesis of Turkish mysticism and Islam. Anatolian mystics developed their understanding of love on the basis of the motto 'Because we love the Creator we love all His creatures'. [27] This point is surely crucial for the understanding of Gülen's dialogue activities for world peace.

Thus the key word in Gülen's dialogue meetings is love, and this love derives from his understanding of Islam and Sufism practised in Anatolia. Those who seek to profit from chaos, violence and terror will doubtless fail to understand the conception of love in Gülen's philosophy, and will consequently fail to understand Gülen's world view. Philosophically speaking, Gülen, like his predecessor Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, considers love to be the essence of creation: according to Gülen, love is the most essential element, the most bright light, the greatest power in every creature in the world. If one is grounded in love, every kind of difficulty in the world can be overcome.[28] Thus Gülen introduces love as an unquestionable condition for being human. Without love, it is almost impossible to create an atmosphere conducive to dialogue and tolerance. Gülen's love is not an empty conceptualisation; it is directly related to his religion, whose commandments he sensitively tries to put into practice. Gülen says that religion commands love and peace; love makes people truly human and the spirits of the true will rise to Heaven.[29] Clearly, then, love lights the fuse of dialogue and global tolerance; it paves the way to global peace. For Gülen, man can only communicate actively with all humans and other creatures through love, which leads him to help others.[30] Unlike ideologies based on social Darwinism, which suggest that only the powerful are fit to live and the weak should not survive, Gülen, as a Muslim scholar, holds that love derived from Islam has a great capacity to embrace every person in the world irrespective of their beliefs. Relying on his own conviction and tradition, and on the global transmitters of love such as Abu Hanifa, Ahmad Yasawi, Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi, Imam Ghazali, and Imam Rabbani, Gülen describes love and tolerance as 'the roses and flowers of our hill'.[31] But this love must be expressed ts practical and living dimension, and so Gülen has organised many meetings, in which different people with different religious and cultural background come together to discuss the common problems of humanity. The participants of these meetings have initiated various projects and offered many solutions to ameliorate the chaotic situation in our world. Most importantly, these meetings show the people that dialogue is the real remedy for terror, chaos, and intolerance. Gülen, as a sincere believer in the importance of dialogue, has asked his close friends not to name this unfinished process of dialogue (emphasise that this process is a long way from completation). This also shows his optimistic view of the future.

We have tried to show that Islam and terror are radically opposed concepts, even though some manipulative, uneducated or deceived individuals commit terrorist crimes in the name of religion. We have also drawn attention to the mistaken association of jihad with war. We then pointed out that Islam considers killing innocent people in the name of religion to be the greatest sin, and has never legitimised suicide. Next, we focused on Gülen's emphasis on the importance of dialogue in our World. Despite the ravages of terrorist activities and many wars, Gülen's strong and sincere call for dialogue increases our hope that peace may be achieved. Love is situated in the heart of his understanding of dialogue, and this love mainly nurtured by his faith in Islam and his mystical understanding of religion. Ali, the cousin of the Prophet, declared that he saw Muslims as his religious fellows and non-Muslims as his fellows in creation; Gülen agrees. This love necessitates dialogue not only with human beings but also with all creatures. When humankind realises this dialogue, God's consent will be achieved. This is, according to Gülen, the purpose of man's existence in the world.


Glen:

We believe that forgiveness and tolerance will heal most of our wounds, if only this celestial instrument will be in the hands of those who understand its language. Otherwise, the incorrect methods of behavior, those used up until now, will cause many complications and will only confuse us from now on. www.fgulen.org

Larry:

I totally agree with Zach, I also participated in those activities in Atlanta I felt same things. I think the writer has a big prejudgment for Fethullah Gülen.

Zach Bradley:

In Law, people are judged for what they have done in the past not for what they might do in the future. Mr. Gulen has served for his country and humanity for more than 40 years. History is open to everybody. Not finding any negeative aspects of Mr. Gulen for the years he lived and seeing beatiful positive examples of peace efforts that he did for the all humanity shows clearly who Mr. Gulen is. As an American citizien live in US, I attanded some of the Interfaith activities of the movement, I totally believe that these people are the peacemakers and good representatives of Islam.

John:

Please look at www.fgulen.org

You can find his book, essays, articles then you can have a unbiased idea about Fethullah Gülen.

Anonymous:

What ı learned from Fethullah Gülen (Hoca Efendi), we are in same boat and living in a global village. Only dialog can provide mutual understanding, openness, respect, mutual love, then we can live in harmony and peace. To be against Fethullah Gülen, it means you are against peace and harmony. Look at Fethullah Gülen's life, can you find any bad ideas for human kind. You wont find those things but you ll find a man of compassion.

David:

I think you are so radical in your deep world so that you are thinking for everybody is in same way. I am sure that you can not love human being, only your mission is to give negative things around you. Faith means to behave in positive way, you are not in positive way. It means you are not faithful person. Your world is only consist of secular things.

Timur:

Omar, can you show one single person in Gülen Movement who is bad to himself, to family, to society? You can not show because all of followers of Fethullah Gülen just want to please to God. Maybe you know that the biggest thing is to please to God as Qur'an stated. İf Turkey would not have those people turkey would not have peace. İf Turkey has peace and harmony, those are only throug those people. İf it is true that Fethullah Gülen has a hidden agenda, why he waited until this time. He is now 68 years old with many illness. He is only want to please to God serving people. İf you believe our prophets peace be upon him, he says that "if you would like to serve to God serve to people." You are only looking at from material perspective.

Vic van Meter:

I usually like to take my cues from the writings of people. Man has had some wonderful ideas and they're the ones in the struggle. Their opinions on that matter are first person, so I've always had respect for the strong, the fearless, and the willing. My favorite poem is by an American who, because his country was withholding from World War I, joined the French Foreign Legion. He was killed in action in 1914.

I have a rendezvous with Death,
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade,
And apple blossoms fill the air-
I have a rendezvous with Death,
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand,
And lead me into his dark land,
And close my eyes and quench my breath-
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death,
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes 'round again this year,
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep,
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
When love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear...
But I've a rendezvous with Death,
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not break that rendezvous.

-Alan Seeger

VICTORIA:

heres one of my favorite sayings of the prophet Muhammad(pbuh)


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 135:
Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger."

peace

Akif:

Hello Amar,

It is nice to hear something about Gulen Movement but you just wrote down the story of Leo and tried to reflect the movement with his story which can not be objective for any conditions.

I think you should have mentioned about the actions of the movement and the contributions they have done to the education and dialogue. You followed up a very tricky way to make some attractive article but not reflective at all.

I would recammand you to write something that you have seen and observed from yourself without any biased...Thanks,

Vic van Meter:

I wear a lot of black. I wish Viking mythology was still an acceptable religion, actually. There's a lot of truth to thinking life is a war you're fighting with the world, trying to take every scrap that's precious to you and being ready to die to defend it.

Then again, I agree that it's not acceptable to go to my neighbor's house, pillage his belongings, kill his children, and then dare him to fight me to get his things back. So I had to take a pass on that.

What doesn't kill us does make us stronger, though! What does kill us is not realizing the limit of our strength. I imagine the most common thing said before men in this country find themselves bodily harmed is "watch this."

But there are a lot of forces outside us acting on us and forcing us into neatly packaged deals. Kind of like the PKK-Communist discussion we were having. Sometimes you get funneled into something you otherwise agree with but then you have to make a concession (like paying medical doctors as much as street cleaners). I was just tired of that. There's a religion out there for people sick of being in cookie-pressed religions but still believing in one, true God. Problem is that it's a wee bit stigmatized.

VICTORIA:

well, vic- im a little familiar with your, shall we say. nihilistic take on humanity?

im trying to imagine what you could be vic-
a viking in a long black coat?

the expreiences were alot more dangerous than osctracization - but its over now.

what does not kill me makes me stronger, right vic!
now im going to wonder about what you are



Vic van Meter:

Victoria, I can't believe it?

I'm not knocking you, but to you remember who you're talking to? My opinion of the human race isn't exactly positive. I know exactly how most Muslims felt after 9/11.

Give you an example. I live in Columbus now and one of my best friends is a guy named Omar. His father's Lebanese and his mother is American. Omar isn't really religious at all. I mean, nominally, the guy does partake in a lot of Islamic holidays (which I respect, personally, since I like food and sex way too much to give up for any length of time), but he's about where we all are with our religion.

9/11 rolls around and Omar is suddenly feeling on the outs with the rest of us. It's not like we weren't trying to include him, but yeah, I noticed the surge in "patriotism." Patriotism is usually just a pretty word that means "us over them." And Omar, poor guy, has a father at home flipping out because those muslims weren't HIS muslims, if that makes any sense. So Omar is caught between his natural pride in his heritage and the nation we're living in.

Trust me, I was here. I personally heard things that boiled my blood. It doesn't matter what nation your ancestors are from, what religion you follow, or what you do in your spare time. If you're an American citizen, then that's what you are. I've got a list of ethnicities in my background that I'd need a notecard to recite. I've had ancestors in America since well before the Revolution. And not a single person here has the right to tell anyone else something about where they "come from." If they're here, they're here.

Trouble is that Millvale's in the middle of nowhere (no offense). Yes, I've been there a few times. You're in a place where everyone knows you're a muslim, you don't have a flag on the building (which is fairly normal in Columbus, actually), and Lord knows what other things you may have said and done to turn that bunch nuts. Muslims were put under a microscope after 9/11. It's not uncommon.

Let's just say I don't have much color in my wardrobe. I was paid an awful lot of attention after the Columbine shootings. I'm a pretty well-adjusted guy, but I was pulled into councilor meetings and given weird space in the hallway. I let it go. It was the point where people stared at me and didn't see Victor, they saw clothes, a religion they didn't understand, and a whole lot of what I did from then on got dissected and given meaning. People, I like swords! Has nothing to do with who I want to use them on!

But it passed. I don't wear my religion on my sleeves (it's definetely not that kind of religion anyhow) and I just forget it. I've been given wierd looks when I do talk about it, and I shove it off. Nothing's ever perfect. But if I followed this religion in a good chunk of Middle Eastern countries, I'd be a dead man.

Comparitively, I'll take the ocassional pranking of my house over ostrasization.

gulen can stay in US:

Sneaky Gulen movement should move to US and stay there. They have no place in Republic of Turkey.

Long live Republic!

Fiona.Uk:

Where is Spidon..I think he missed this article which is about Turkey.?

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

I HOPE TO MEET YOU AS SOON AS YOU ARRIVE TO IZMIR AND I PRESENT YOU MY LIFE - A COMMON PEOPLE - A COMMON TURK - NOT A SEPERATIST NOT A ISLAMIC FANATIC.. JUST A SIMPLE MAN WHO GOES TO WORK AND COMES HOME HOPING TO PAY ALL THE BILLS, HOPING TO OWN A HOUSE ONE DAY, RAISE KIDS AND TAKE THEM TO MOVIES ON SUNDAY NIGHT. TEACH THEM HOW TO SWIM AND HOW TO SURVIVE.... JUST A REGULAR MAN.. SEE YOU SOON IN IZMIR.

VICTORIA:

amar- im in america- irish french english heinz 57 mongrel eurocentric type of agnostic atheist cathoic trained parents- and revert thru prayer- study not marriage-
hows that for transparency?

vic- i wish that were true- as youve said youre from pittsburgh with an h-
i converted to islam when i lived in the town of millvale-

youve probably driven through it on occasion-
it would take pages to describe what happened to me there as the sole muslim after 911
especially since i had peace signs nicely painted on my 3 prominent main street windowshades

it was the only building in town without a flag-

really vic- you wouldnt believe it could happen in america

i have to disagree fiona-
ataturk really did try to eradicate the face of islam from turkey-

and the turkish peole voted gul (an observant muslim with a hijab wearing wife- like erdogan- first pm to pray openly in office) as president.

those who love atatruk do so vociferously- but they are not the majority of turks.

there really is an awful lot of paranoia about gulen-

i discovered his writings when i read a snip that said when he saw a leaf fall from a tree- he felt such pain as if his own arm were broken-

well that is extraordinarily sensitve to me-
hes a sufi and poet and political but turkish politics are (to me) kind of like egyptian- not easy to generalize- and passionately polarized-

hey, just like anywhere!

also said nursi is must reading for me-

its funny how terrifyingly threatened people seem to be by the prospect of a deomcracy with muslims living in it-

im not getting into that ataurk vs. islam argument

i never heard anyone freaking out about india being hindu-
but put a couple of devoted freely expressive muslims together in a country and its an islamic takeover

personally i love fethullah gulen-
google his poetry

sometimes the college students are over zealous- but show me a college student anywhere who doesnt know everything and isnt obnoxious in their exuberance

and then we grow up and chill out


but does anyone seriously anywhere imagine for one nanosecond that the american government wants to set up an islamic state in turkey????????????


ill tell you something -

NO ONE had the remotest CLUE about what muslims believe or do before 911 in america

i know because i wore hijab for 2 years and never had anyone (american) know what it was- ever

1 day after 911- everyone became instant experts and the websites grew and grew

people are always telling me what i think and want to do as a muslim

i havent found any yet who came close

but thats only because ANY type of person who is inclined to speak for other people didnt listen long enough to know no matter what or who the subject

peace all

Vic van Meter:

Nice article, Amar. Good to hear that one of the people in Turkey who really likes America is thought of as a Muslim fanatic. The irony of it kills me.

Yes, in America, nobody is going to yell at you for publicly displaying your religion. What most Americans DON'T like is forcing your religion on others. As long as you aren't ramming it down someone's throat, it's not exactly a big deal.

It's strange to see a guy who has found religion, apparantly one that isn't violent or self-destructive, and know he doesn't want to be found out because his parents would freak out. I mean, you'd figure my parents would have a heart attack over my religious choices, but it's always a boon when you can find a moral foundation that keeps you out of trouble. Is the Gulen movement really that hated? It sounds more like the Church of Latter Day Saints or Jehova's Witnesses than some kind of political conspiratorial movement. I'm sure that the Mormon's would LIKE to have their religious beliefs become the unquestioned law of the land, but it's not going to happen. Why is everyone so afraid of this Gulen movement?

It's been good to this Leo guy at any rate.

gulen movement = sheria:

Gulen movement's goal is to bring islamic state and their choice of weapon is stealth. It has been maybe 10 years since I heard a Gulen propaganda but from this article I can tell nothing has changed. Same tactic as usual: "I thought this was a crazy idea...Then I learned it was amazing....blah blah blah"

Their potential followers are the poor and desperate. They set up cells in dorms to approach people who are desperate. They brainwash them really slowly. As their leader usually say "Do not wake up the enemy -and by enemy he means secular Turkey"

propaganda:

First propaganda of separatism and now Sheria. What's next? A detailed plan on how to attack Turkey?

Fiona.Uk:

It is very clear America trying to change Turkey with Mr Gulen.He is actualy not humanity lover or Islamic guru as seen.He is doing the clean part but his commanders like R.T Erdogan doing the dirty part of their hope.But I believe Turkish Ataturk establishment is very secure they cant do anything.And my Turkish friends also believe Ataturk cant be end like Lenin.Turkish people love Ataturk very much...

Aibek:

Its not good idea to compare Iran and Turkey, like, Imamas would ruling Turkey if no Ataturk). Iran is Iran, Turkey is Turkey. This is what usually do Secular minority in Turkey, mistakenly compare this very different states.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Getting around to it Victoria. I plan on getting a range of voices. Muscle beach is still Venice Beach.
Are you based in Turkey or the U.S. out of curiosity.

VICTORIA:

at any point do you plan on bringing somevoices of the people of turkey who voted gul in?

or are you doing a spectrum and getting around to it?
did muscle beach move to santa monica? it was in venice beach 20 years ago.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Tom Miller, this coming week I will have the voices of staunch secular Turks.

Bert:

I don't mind the islam part, it's the chanting,
the torches, and the machine guns part that kind
of bothers me...for the record, I'm a heathen,
and as long as I don't have someone trying to
be 'in my face' with their religious convictions
(that's omni-denominational, by the way, not just christian or muslim, I don't want to participate,
and I don't want to pay for it, whatever it is)
or otherwise trying to influence me with their
belief system, no matter HOW well-funded it might
be, then I'm fine with it. But, as we've seen
in recent times, there's been quite a bit of
horsepower behind trying to use organized religion
to play politics in the United States. Again,
islam isn't the sole culprit here. This is not
a new phenomenon, and these people are canvassing
for recruits, trying to extol the virtues of
their belief systems etc. My view is, their 15
minutes and tax exemption should be over, I
think an in-depth discussion of shariah banking
should be added to this sunshine story, sort
of as a disclaimer...dollar+oil+politics+religion
=killer socioeconomic undertow...

Tom Miller:

Clearly, you need to balance what you are reporting from Turkey. I'm a bit disappointed and no, I'm not Turkish. The PKK threat (30,000 deaths) is a serious matter and the fact that Iraqi Kurdistan won't do anything about it is even more alarming. And yes, the Turks are bitter about the U.S. involvement in Iraq because this clearly de-stabilized their borders but there are more than demonstrations to be said about this. Also in what way is French secularism dangerous to religion? Yes, the French don't want headscarves in schools but religious expression in France is quite free and by being secular keeps the excesses of those who would impose their own self-professed devine inspiration from smothering the freedoms of others. Go to countries where religion is king (e.g. Iran) and then instruct me about religious freedom. In my view Ataturk correctly divorced political power from religious power when the Turkish Republic was established and Turkey rose from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. He may have had to ban headscarves in schools and public buildings to do so but I believe he did what needed to be done. Where would Turkey be today if instead the Imams had controlled political power? You can bet everyone could wear a headscarf but it would not be a democracy. This was interesting at least about the Gulen organization that I will now research.

Michael:

Your article is very interesting and I think reflects the truth that more youth follow the movement and know that CHP (republican pary: these are hard line secularists and are totally against islam, against muslim way of life) is only 20 per cent of the turkish political life while the other 80 per cent is against CHP mentality. But among CHP one can find a lot of people who would support this movement

Jake:

your article is very intriguing as I live in Turkey and haven't heard much about the Gulen movement until lately. I really think you should talk to some CHP Turks to get a balanced view of the Gulen movement. I'm very interested to hear what some people in my çevre (community) would say about the movement.

Jake
http://jakedolson.com/blog

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