Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Gulen Movement - Civic Engagement, Efficacy and Success

(Video Duration: 4 mins. 54 secs.)

Muhammed Cetin, Ph.D.
Muhammed Cetin, Ph.D.
Sociological Approaches to the Hizmet Movement was the topic of the fifth 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. Muhammed Cetin of the East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania presented his paper titled The Gulen Movement - Civic Engagement, Efficacy and Success. Below are some excerpts from Dr. Cetin’s presentation:

The Gulen Movement guarantees its participants’ access to the immediate and verifiable control of the goods and services organized through collective action. The Movement as a whole benefits from this flexibility, adaptability and immediacy.

…The Gulen Movement really excels; it diffuses a discourse of dialogue and tolerance and the valuing of diversity. It has never shown any inclination whatever towards violence or extra-legal tactics of any kind. It has shown itself to be able to absorb conflicting pressures, and ease tension within fragmented communities. It has transformed the potential to use coercive means to induce changes in political changes into peaceful efforts to produce beneficial services.

…The Gulen Movement consists of a series of networks, and within these networks participants learn and exercise their cultural and political rights. The efficacy of the ‘Gulen Movement commitment’ is one of the results of the participants’ commitment to these networks.

…The social movement organizations of the Gulen Movement are successful because of the interweaving of the service project mentality with integrative strategies. Also what makes them leading institutions in their fields inside and outside Turkey is that employment is based on specialized training on formal certification organized and issued by the states where they are based. Employment and advancement is in accordance with knowledge, achievement, and expertise and competence, rather than seniority or preference given to friends or relatives.

…The Gulen Movement has been extraordinarily successful at convincing the public to use its constitutionally-given rights to serve humanity positively and constructively, and through self-motivated philanthropic contributions and charitable trusts. For this reason, the Gulen Movement has become: First, a vital component in providing an alternative and barrier to egoistic interest in the expense of others, and a remedy for societal discord, conflict and violence. And second, it has become one of the most significant and leading actors in the renewal process towards a civil, pluralistic, democratic and peaceful society.

…The Gulen Movement facilitates, and thus increases, an individual's willingness to get involved in service projects through his/her relationship with larger like-minded, similarly-intentioned people. The Movement becomes an organic part of the society and crystallizes into a professional structure.

…Sources of the frames of reference and resources for the Movement are: Education, cultural experience and awareness, religious consciousness through knowledge and study, participation in social and communitarian representative bodies, responsibility and altruism, belief in societal accord, peace, democracy, and cooperation -as opposed to clash- between civilizations.

…The Movement has established the ideal balance between risks and advantages, so that millions of people are taking part in service projects. The Movement as a whole learns and develops. The Movement stresses the reality and the projects…

…The Gulen Movement gives people hope for the future. Gulen Movement is reflexive, and is successful in weakening or removing barriers between people, that it has received recognition from unexpected resources.

…The Gulen Movement has proved that there is plenty of common ground between different individuals, groups, groups of people, and communities throughout the world. I feel that an understanding of the Gulen Movement can help to reverse the kind of decline in civic engagement that we see in the United States and Europe. I believe that in spite of opposition from groups that benefit from the conflicts from peoples, the Gulen Movement will continue peacefully and successfully in the way it always has.