"Though coming from different civilisational backgrounds and having different personal biographies, in their thinking both Toynbee and Gülen stand against ways of thinking and acting that promote what can all too easily become the illusion that the uncomfortable plurality of the contemporary world can be abolished. Against such illusions Gülen warns that: “…different beliefs, races, customs and traditions will continue to cohabit in this village. Each individual is like a unique realm unto themselves; therefore the desire for all humanity to be similar to one another is nothing more than wishing for the impossible. For this reason, the peace of this (global) village lies in respecting all these differences, considering these differences to be part of our nature and in ensuring that people appreciate these differences. Otherwise, it is unavoidable that the world will devour itself in a web of conflicts, disputes, fights, and the bloodiest of wars, thus preparing the way for its own end.”
The international conference "Islam in the Contemporary World: The Fethullah Gulen Movement in Thought and Practice" aims to explore the appeal, meaning, and impact of Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen movement on Turkish, regional, and - increasingly - global societies. In the contemporary world, Muslim communities are undergoing radical social, economic, political and intellectual change. The underlying goal of this conference is to examine the issues facing the contemporary Muslim world in transition and the relations between Islam and the West. In particular, the conference explores the ideas of Fethullah Gülen – a Turkish Muslim scholar, author and education activist – and the impact of the civic projects initiated by participants in a social phenomenon called the Gülen movement. Originating in Turkey but becoming increasingly transnational, the Fethullah Gülen movement has a universal educational and interfaith agenda that aims to promote creative and positive relations between the Muslim world and the West, and to make a constructive contribution to the dialogue of civilizations, the reconciliation of science and religion, global education initiatives, democracy, and religious plurality.