Gulen movement as a cult of personality, admirers prefer the term Hizmet movement, after the Turkish word for ‘service.’ And Aslandogan compared Fethullah Gulen to U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
“The civil rights movement advocated equal rights for all citizens," said Aslandogan. "Similarly, in Turkey, Gulen advocated for equality and equal opportunity for all citizens - observant Muslims, and others who historically had been discriminated against.
“The civil rights movement abstained from violence. Similarly, Gulen throughout his life always criticized and rejected violence,” Aslandogan said. After the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, he said Gulen called Osama bin Laden “a monster.”
As an imam in Turkey, Gulen encouraged his followers to become educated, and the movement spread beyond Turkish borders, with hundreds of schools and charities established in other countries.