(Video Duration: 2 mins. 7 secs.)
Gulen Movement at Arab League headquarters in Cairo. The conference, jointly held by Cairo University's economic and political science faculty, Academic Studies and the Internet Foundation from Turkey, and Hira magazine, started Oct. 19 and lasted for three days.
Professor Nadia Mustafa, the chairman of the program for civilization studies and dialogue of cultures at Cairo University's faculty of economics and political science, said the influence of the conference will be felt both in Egypt and throughout the Arab world. Noting that they have previously hosted many conferences but none like this one, which has already created much enthusiasm and interest, Mustafa indicated that they decided to organize the event in order to get to know the Gülen Movement better.
Popular appeal of the Gülen movement
Mustafa pointed out that while the Gülen Movement has recently been examined by intellectuals at Arab universities, the movement is not sufficiently well known. "This movement acts as a purely civilian organization that does not clash with the governments in Turkey or around the world. We want to know how they can do this and how they can achieve this popular appeal," he said.
Ahmed el-Tayeb, the rector of Al-Azhar University in Egypt, Hasan Abu Talip and Hani Raslan from the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Professor Alia El Mahdi, Professor Kemal Munufi and Professor İbrahim Bayyumi from Cairo University will attend the conference, titled "The Future of Reform in the Muslim World: Experiences in Comparison with the Gülen Movement." The attendees will also include Jill Carroll from Rice University, International Union for Muslim Scholars General Secretary Muhammed Selim El Awa from the US, famous Egyptian scholars Muhammed İmara, Tarık El-Bishri and Zaglul en-Naccar, Professor Ebu Yarib El Marzuki of Tunisia, Professor Semir Budinar of Morocco, Fethi Malkavi of Jordan, Ömer Cidal of Algeria and Turkish intellectuals Ali Bulaç and Mustafa Özcan.
A first for Arab League
Noting that organizing the meeting at the Arab League is the best example of rapprochement between Turkey and Arab countries, Nil Yayınları and Hira magazine's Middle East chief Şükrü Şahin said this is the first time the Arab League is hosting a conference of this nature.
Professor Bayyumi, who serves on the conference's organizing committee, said the Arab world's attention towards Turkey and the interest in the Gülen Movement had paved the way for the organization of this kind of conference. Underlining that the conference will focus on the Gülen movement's Islamic background and global effects, Bayyumi said they will search for answers to questions such as “Why has the Gülen Movement been more successful in positive dialogue than other Islamic movements?”
Professor Ahmad el-Tayeb, rector of Al-Azhar University in Egypt, considers the Gulen Movement a successful attempt of reform, saying that the movement is a true representative of Islam because it adopts a moderate approach. He further states that the Gulen Movement clearly differs from other Islamic movements for its universal approach, rather than serving the needs of a sect, a community or a political purpose.
Speaking to Today's Zaman, Dr. Jill Carroll, an American scholar, said the Gulen Movement is a very good model for the problems the Islamic world encounters today, mainly because of the effective resolution proposals it presents:
"I believe that the Gulen Movement represents a very powerful model for what could be a solution for the problems of the Muslim world. The positive thing about the Gulen Movement is that it is an integrated approach with Islam as a reference point. And from there, it expands to all different aspects of human nature.
So, I think that it is a good model. Each country, each group within the Muslim world will have to decide, for themselves, how to take part of the Gulen model and make it their own."
The conference has been discussing the Gulen Movement, its philosophy of education and struggle against poverty and illiteracy along with the movement's activities, both at national and international levels.
The conference has been attended by many scholars and diplomats from several countries and was available live on the Web at www.arabturkdialogue.com
The Gulen Movement, inspired by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen's moderate views, has millions of followers in Turkiye. It has also opened numerous schools around the world.
Gulen Movement & Fethullah Gulen praised in Egypt conference