Fethullah Gülen is known and respected among Turkish Muslims as well as Muslims from around the world as an authoritative mainstream Muslim scholar of the Sunni tradition, to which 87–90% of the world’s Muslim population belongs. He is also a thinker, a poet, a prolific author, an educational activist and an opinion leader. His readership in Turkey is estimated at several million. His influence outside Turkey is growing daily as his works are translated into many languages including English, Arabic, Russian, German, Spanish, Urdu, Bosnian, Albanian, Malay and Indonesian. In addition to printed publications, his ideas are accessible to an ever increasing world population through private radio and television networks sympathetic to his views.
Fethullah Gülen has been recognized for his consistent stance against the combination of violence and religious rhetoric. More specifically,
- He was the first Muslim scholar to publicly condemn the attacks of 9/11 (in an advertisement in the Washington Post).
- He helped publish a scholarly book on the Islamic perspective on terror and suicide attacks, condemning such acts on humanitarian and religious grounds.
- He did not express these views only to Western readers but voiced them in mosque sermons with congregations of thousands of Muslims.
- He unequivocally rejects suicide attacks.
- He has given interviews to Turkish, Japanese, Kenyan and American newspapers in which he categorically condemned the use of political, ideological and religious reasons to justify acts of terror.
- He has appeared on numerous national television shows publicly condemning such acts.
Fethullah Gülen sees science and faith as not only compatible but complementary.
Fethullah Gülen recognizes democracy as the only viable political system of governance. He denounces turning religion into a political ideology, while encouraging all citizens to take an informed and responsible part in political life of their country. He stresses the flexibilities in the Islamic principles relating to governance and their compatibility with a true democracy.
The most striking feature of Fethullah Gülen’s life is the fact that his vision and ideas have not remained rhetorical but instead have been realized globally as civic projects. Civic projects inspired by Fethullah Gülen’s ideas and encouragement include schools, relief organizations, sustainable development organizations, media organizations, professional associations, and medical institutions.
Related Article: Who is Fethullah Gulen?