Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fethullah Gulen's Alternative to the Dialectic Humanity

(Video Duration: 19 mins. 23 secs. )

Heon C. Kim, Ph.D.
Dr. Heon C. Kim of Temple University presents his paper at the conference Preventing Violence and Achieving World Peace: The Contributions of the Gulen Movement, held by the Rumi Forum on Oct. 29, 2009 at the University of Maryland, College Park.

“Mr. Fethullah Gülen is the most influential representative of love, tolerance and dialogue in our world today. In the West, especially in the United States, an increasing number of scholars have discovered Gülen to be a man of love and tolerance and consider his teaching as a model of dialogue among religions, cultures and civilizations.”

These are the words of Dr. Heon C. Kim, a specialist in contemporary Islam. Highlighting the great need for dialogue in today’s world, Dr. Kim praises Gülen’s teachings of love, tolerance and dialogue, which have been practiced and spread worldwide by the Gülen movement, the fastest expanding Islamic movement around the globe. “It is appropriate and reasonable,” Dr. Kim states, “that a recent survey, ‘The 500 Most Influential Muslims,’ published by Georgetown University in 2009, placed Gülen as one of the top 50 influential Muslims today and introduced him as one who affects huge swathes of humanity and has gone on to become a global phenomenon.”

Dr. Kim completed his years of doctoral research on Gülen and the Gülen movement in 2008, and is currently teaching at Temple University, Philadelphia. One of the most pioneering and cutting-edge contributions of his dissertation is to make tangible the spiritual dimensions of Gülen’s life and thought and the inner dynamic of the Gülen movement. His research shows in detail that the Islamic spirituality of love, tolerance and dialogue, which was once exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad and subsequently followed by great Sufi saints, is at the core of Gülen’s thought and the activities of the Gülen movement. Base upon this finding, Dr. Kim agrees with those Western scholars who identify Gülen as “a contemporary Rumi” (Jalal al-Din Rumi, a great Sufi saint in Islamic history and the best-known Muslim mystic in the West), and further considers Gülen’s teaching of dialogue as an alternative to both the jihadist/fundamentalist movements and those in the West who adhere to the “clash of civilizations” paradigm.