Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fethullah Gulen as a model and his approach to "the other"

(Video Duration: 4 mins. 1 sec.)

Martin Marty, Ph.D.
Martin Marty, Ph.D.
Hizmet Movement and Civic Engagement was the topic of the second panel at the “International Conference on the Gulen Movement: Paradigms, Projects, Aspirations” held at the International House of University of Chicago in 2010.

In the panel, Dr. Martin Marty of the University of Chicago presented his paper on The Risks and Promise of “Engagement” in Gulen’s Writings. Below are some excerpts from Dr. Marty’s presentation:

I think, three options we’re seeing around us in the world today when you see “the other” around:

You destroy “the other”. The opposite of destroying would be convert, that is to try to make everybody like yourself. Is the Movement out to do that? Some people are suspecting it.. You certainly betray the nature of civil dialogue, if you convert a dialogical session into an attempt to convert the other. And the third option would be merger/fusion: taking all the elements as you can and coming about to a single thing.

Fethullah Gulen
I think that Gulen’s humanism -richly formed by his piety, his knowledge, his concern- provides another model…

So what are you going to do when you have these differences along the way? The answer you get from Gulen is ‘tolerance’ but not only tolerance, I’ve chosen the word and I also distill this in his writings a much better and stronger word: hospitality. That is not only a habit, it is grounded in an approach to life and set of beliefs that I think he carries over and he makes a great deal of it…

And I think, it is so interesting that the Gulen Movement has spent so much energy not in politics, which is only one form of civic engagement, but in voluntary activities, in education, in philanthropy, in business, in charitable work, and so on…

We need a model, and in this field I would argue that what Gulen has achieved beyond his movement and scope is to serve as a kind of a model.