Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fethullah Gulen and interfaith dialogue

(Video Duration: 1 min. 57 secs.)

Fethullah Gulen: A leading person of interfaith dialogue
Fethullah Gulen and Pope John, II
Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader, educational activist, and preacher emeritus. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide social movement of human values known as the Hizmet (Service) Movement. Focused on education where secular curricula are taught by teachers who aspire to "represent" high values of humanity, this social phenomenon defeats easy categorization. Volunteer participants in the movement, consisting of students, academicians, business owners, professionals, public officials, white-collar and blue-collar workers, farmers, men and women, young and old, contribute to multiple ways of service, which crystallize in tutoring centers, schools, colleges, hospitals, a major relief organization, publishing houses, and media institutions, both in Turkey and in more than a hundred countries of the world.

Starting in 1994, Fethullah Gülen pioneered a rejuvenation of the Interfaith Dialog spirit in the Turkish-Muslim tradition, which was forgotten amidst the troublesome years of the early twentieth century. The Foundation of Journalists and Writers, of which Gulen was the honorary president, organized a series of gatherings involving leaders of religious minorities in Turkey such as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Armenian Orthodox Patriarch, Chief Rabbi of Turkey, Vatican's Representative to Turkey and others. The "Abant" platform, named after the location of the first meeting in Bolu, Turkey, brought together leading intellectuals from all corners of the political spectrum, the leftists, the atheists, the nationalists, the religious conservatives, and the liberals, providing for the first time in recent Turkish history a place where such figures could debate freely about the common concerns of all citizens and pressing social problems.