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A documentary film on Hizmet Movement

Dialogue Platform has co-organised the Premiere of “LOVE IS A VERB” film together with the production company- Global Vision. The event took place at the prestigious Galeries Cinema in Grand Place, Brussels on 15th October.

Love is a verb is a documentary by Terry Spencer Hesser exploring the ordinary lives and stories of people in Hizmet, a social movement inspired by the Islamic scholar and teacher, Fethullah Gulen, and geared towards serving all people regardless of their faith and religion through dialogue, education and relief work. The documentary was narrated by Hollywood actress Ashley Judd and produced by Global Vision Productions.

200 guests were privileged to watch the film at the special event before it will be available to the public in spring 2015. The premiere has started with a welcome drink and followed by screening of the film. Afterwards, the guests had the opportunity to ask questions at the 30 minute Q&A session to the Director.

Dialogue Platform’s guests enjoyed the canapé reception at the end of the night where they also exchanged their thoughts each other on the film and the Hizmet Movement.

We have the pleasure the present a short video that our distinguished guests reflect their thoughts about the documentary and the work of Hizmet volunteers or Gulen Movement in general.

Reflections after the screening – VIDEO

Photos of the night

Watch trial & Directors Message – VIDEO

Roundtable Lunch Discussion “Hizmet Movement on Extremism”

The Hizmet Movement on Extremism: A Proactive Approach for Deradicalisation

With Prof Johan Leman & Dr Ismail Sezgin

Wednesday 14th January 2015 at 12:30 

Dialogue Platform, Rue Montoyer 31, Brussels 1000

Abstract: ‘Hizmet’ is a Turkish word, which literally means service. It is also the name of a trans-national civil society movement originating from Turkey. The movement is inspired by the teachings and works of Fethullah Gulen a Turkish/Muslim scholar and peace advocate. The Hizmet Movement focuses on education, dialogue and relief work and functions as a loosely connected network of people sharing similar ideals and principles. It has founded over a thousand schools; hundreds of dialogue organisations; business associations, clinics; media outlets; humanitarian aid and other charitable NGOs in over 150 countries worldwide. 

Since movement is composed predominantly of practicing Muslims inspired by their Islamic faith to engage in activities inclusive of people regardless of faith it is important to ask how this movement views and responds to the issue of (violent) extremism emanating from among Muslims whose interpretation of Islam appears to be diametrically opposed to those of Gulen. Accordingly, this talk will look at three points: (a) Hizmet’s theoretical and theological perspective (that fundamentally differentiates it from ISIL type ideology) on extremism (b) Hizmet practices that in some capacity relate to tackling the causes of extremism and (c) An alternative approach to tackling violent extremist ideology with recommendations for policy makers and faith inspired movements and groups such as Hizmet.

Biography of Prof Johan Leman: 

Professor Leman is social and cultural anthropologist in Belgium. He had PhD in social and cultural anthropology, MA in philosophy, MA in eastern philology and history, K.U. Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven). Prof Leman is emeritus professor in social and cultural anthropology at the Faculty of Social Sciences at K.U. Leuven. He has taught ‘migration and minority policies and its anthropological implications’, ‘ethnicity and its application at Mediterranean cultures’, ‘interethnic majority-minority relations in Europe’, ‘introduction in social and cultural anthropology, and criminological issues’ and ‘anthropology of religion’. 

He guides PhD research multiculturalism, interethnic relations, border and boundary crossing (conversion studies), Mediterranean cultures. He has been former chief of cabinet of the Royal Commissioner for Migrant Policy in Belgium and former Director of the federal Centre for equal opportunities and opposition against racism. 

Prof Leman was the chairholder of KU Leuven GCIS (Gulen Chair in Intercultural Studies) between 2010 and 2014 and he is the president of Foyer, regional minority centre in Brussels.

Biography of Ismail Sezgin

Ismail Mesut Sezgin is a PhD researcher at the Institute for Spirituality, Religion and Public Life in Leeds Metropolitan University. Having had his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Marmara University in Istanbul, Sezgin is now studying on religion and society relations. He is working on a PhD thesis titled “Theory of Moral Responsibility in the Writings of Fethullah Gülen”. His research interests include Ethics, Islam, Sufism, Political Islam and Turkish Politics. He has given seminars and reflections on these issues in various occasions.



Hizmet in Africa: The Activities and Significance of the Gulen Movement


With David H. Shinn (Author & Former US Ambassador)

Moderated by:  Selçuk Gültaşli, Journalist – Zaman Daily

In this event, Ambassador David Shinn has presented his latest book: “Hizmet Movement in Africa: The Activities and Significance of the Gulen Movement” on Thursday 10 March 2016.

While David Shinn has spoken on his findings about Hizmet and its activities in Africa, he has also addressed Turkey’s relations with Africa in a broader perspective.

Hizmet in Africa is the only book-length work that analyses the multifaceted activities in Africa of the followers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who has lived in rural Pennsylvania since 1999. The book includes Hizmet in both North Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa.

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Book Launch event “Renewing Islam by Service” by Dr Valkenberg

The talk by Dr. Valkenberg on his recent book “Renewing Islam by Service: A Christian View of Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet Movement” took place on Monday, 2 November .

* What is the Gülen Movement and the scope of its activities?

* To what extent they can contribute to the European society?

* Can the “dialogue minded” Movement be an antidote to extremism?

* What role can the faith based services play in the secular societies?

Renewing Islam by Service offers a theological account of the contemporary Turkish faith-based service movement started by Fethullah Gülen, and placed against the backdrop of changes in modern Turkish society. The life and works of Gülen are analyzed against the background of developments in Turkish society, and of spiritual Islamic tendencies in the transition from the Ottoman empire to the secular republic. Pim Valkenberg includes stories of his personal experiences with supporters of this movement, in a number of different countries, and analyzes the spiritual practices and the faith-based service of this movement that is also compared to some important Christian religious movements.

Pim (Wilhelmus G.B.M.) Valkenberg is a professor of religion and culture at the Catholic University of America. He previously worked for the Diocese of Breda as a specialist on adult education, and for the Netherlands School of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion as research fellow. He was an assistant and associate professor of dogmatic theology and the theology of religions at the Catholic University of Nijmegen (1987-2007), where he studied Arabic and Islam as well. He contributed to the establishment of a new Department of Religious Studies in 1991 with a focus on interreligious dialogue, and as associate dean of education between 1999 and 2004 he was responsible for the development of new programs of intercultural theology and pastoral studies. Between 2006 and 2011 he was a visiting professor and an associate professor of theology at Loyola University Maryland with a focus on Christian-Muslim relations.

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Book Launch of “Islam’s Jesus” by Zeki Saritoprak

Jesus in Islamic Eschatology

Many people are unaware that Jesus, as a messenger of God, is an integral part of Islamic belief and he is a highly appreciated religious figure among Muslims. Although they do not attribute any divinity, they accept his immaculate birth and revere him as an elite prophet. Besides, Muslims, like Christians, expect him to come again at the “end of the time.” According to Islamic theology, only Jesus, among all other prophets, will come as a messianic figure with an eschatological role.

There are already works that examined Jesus as a prominent personality in Islamic theology and tradition. Dr. Zeki Saritoprak’s book, however, aims to scrutinize particularly the eschatological significance of Jesus from a Muslim point of view. In his book, Dr. Saritoprak, on the one hand, illuminates Islam’s rich theological engagement with the figure of Jesus. On the other hand, he tries to explore what Muslims believe about his (second) coming/descent at the end of time. In so doing, he examines both medieval and modern Muslim exegeses of the pertinent Qur’anic and hadith texts. He moreover observes close convergences between these exegeses and those of many Christians, and this, for him, can lay a(nother) groundwork for interfaith dialogue and understanding.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Saritoprak is associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Beddiüzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies at John Carroll University, USA. He is the author of numerous works on Islamic theology in English, Turkish, and Arabic. Along with his expertise in the filed, his book Islam’s Jesus is also a result of his working and teaching experience in American Christian institutions as well as his enduring and significant involvement in interfaith dialogue.

Date / Time: Monday, 26th January 2015 at 18.00

Venue: Dialogue Platform

Rue Montoyer 31, Brussels 1000 (2nd floor)

“Gulen as an Islamic Scholar” by Dr. Ismail Albayrak

Where: Dialogue Platform, Rue Montoyer 31, Brussels 1000

Date: Wednesday, 10 September 2014

With: Dr. Ismail Albayrak, professor of Islamic Studies


Although a number of conferences have been organised emphasising the social, civic and educational activities of the Gulen-inspired Hizmet Movement, as well as Gulen’s contribution to inter-religious dialogue, very little attention has been paid to his formal and informal education, his scholarly works and his interpretation of basic Islamic sources and disciplines in the modern period. Ismail Albayrak will focus on his scholarship and explore some of the themes and questions below:

  • What are Gulen’s credential as an Islamic scholar? What are his areas of particular expertise?
  • Why has he had such a disproportionate impact in Turkey but less among the Arabs and the non-Turkish Muslims
  • Can Gulen’s views and ideas influence the mindset of the Muslim intelligentsia and grassroots of society? If so, how? What are the stumbling blocks?
  • What contribution, if any, has Gulen’s discourse had on Islamic theology and thought?
  • How Islamic is the Hizmet movement?

Biography of Dr. Ismail Albayrak

Dr. Albayrak received his PhD degree from Leeds University in 2000. He works on Islamic studies and specifically on Qur’anic Studies, Classical exegesis, Contemporary Approaches to the Qur’an and Orientalism. He is also interested in the place of Muslim communities and their activities in Globalizing World together with the study of interfaith dialogue. He has been working at National Australian Catholic University since 2007 as a professor in the study of Islam and Muslim-Catholic Relations.


Statement on ISIS by Our Honorary President Fethullah Gulen

August 22, 2014

ISIS Cruelty Deserves Our Strongest Condemnation

As a practicing Muslim deeply influenced by the tenets of my faith, I strongly condemn the brutal atrocities of the ISIS terrorist group. Their actions are a disgrace to the faith they proclaim and are crimes against humanity. Religion provides a foundation upon which to establish peace, human rights, freedoms and the rule of law. Any interpretations to the contrary, including the abuse of religion to fuel conflicts, are simply wrong and deceitful.

ISIS is not the first group to use religious rhetoric to mask its cruelty—Al Qaeda did so 13 years ago and Boko Haram more recently. What they all have in common is a totalitarian mentality that denies human beings their dignity.

Any form of violence against innocent civilians or persecution of minorities contradicts the principles of the Qur’an and the tradition of our Prophet (upon whom be peace and blessings). ISIS members are either completely ignorant about the faith they proclaim, or their actions are designed to serve individual interests or those of their political masters. Regardless, their actions represent those of a terrorist group and, as such, they should be brought to justice and compelled to answer for their horrific crimes.

I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased in Iraq and Syria, and to the families of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines. May God give them strength, patience and perseverance, and alleviate their suffering. I also pray for the immediate and safe release of hostages and ask God, the Merciful, to lead us all toward mutual respect and peace. I invite everyone around the world to join me in these prayers.

Fethullah Gulen

Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate

“Turkey needs a new constitution to save its democracy”

By Fethullah Gulen – Opinion @

“A small group in the executive is holding the country to ransom” says Fethullah Gulen.

Trust and stability are fundamental to a nation’s development and to how the world perceives it. There is inherent trust in a democratic and accountable government that respects the rule of law. Turkey painstakingly built this trust over the past decade.

Until recently it was seen as an example of a country that prospered while maintaining a democratic government run by observant Muslim leaders.

No longer. A small group within the government’s executive branch is holding to ransom the entire country’s progress. The support of a broad segment of the Turkish public is now being squandered, along with the opportunity to join the EU.

Several recent actions of the Turkish government have drawn strong criticism from the EU and other western countries – among them, a law that gives the justice minister powers to appoint and discipline judges and prosecutors; a bill to curb internet freedoms; and a draft law that would give Turkey’s intelligence agency powers akin to those claimed by dictatorial regimes.

After decades of coups and political dysfunction, the ruling AK party’s attempt to end military interference in domestic politics was necessary. Democratic reforms towards that end were praised by the EU and supported by a majority of Turks, as evidenced in the 2010 constitutional referendum.

To read the full article please visit by clicking here.

BBC interview with Fethullah Gulen

By Tim Franks
BBC Newshour, Pennsylvania

“It is certain that there is corruption. Everyone accepts this. From the uneducated to the educated to the elites — everyone sees and knows what is going on. And no person has the power to cover this up,” Gülen told the BBC at his residence at Pennsylvania, where he has been living in self-imposed exile since 1999.

Gülen said prosecutors and police are doing what their duty requires them to do when government wrongdoing is detected,  but underlined that he has no connection whatsoever to the investigations. “It is not possible for these judges and prosecutors to receive orders from me,” he said, adding, “This situation has nothing to do with me.”

He lamented that the government is acting as if graft and corruption are no longer crimes. “They [government officials] are not talking about wrongdoing such as bribery, about the rigging of state tenders. These things are being presented as normal and acceptable.”

Recalling that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) sent a report to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in early 2013 warning him about suspicious relationships between some Turkish ministers and Reza Zarrab, an Iranian businessman living in Turkey who is currently under arrest on suspicion of corruption and bribery, Gülen said: “It was leaked to press that the National Intelligence Organization informed the prime minister about the [corruption] issues eight to 10 months ago. People in the judiciary and the police carried out investigations and launched this case, as their duties normally require.”

Responding to allegations leveled against the Hizmet movement, Gülen said the government was not happy with the investigations and accused the Hizmet movement of being behind them. “The investigating prosecutors and police did not know that these things [corruption, etc.] were no longer considered crimes and they pursued the matter. This made the government unhappy and as a result they are talking about a state within the state. This is what it is,” he said.

Gülen denied that all of the officials the government has reassigned or demoted in a massive reshuffle of the state bureaucracy centered on the police and judiciary are connected to the movement. “It is wrong to think that all the people the government purged and reassigned are those sympathetic to the Hizmet movement. Among those people I believe there are social democrats, nationalists and ultranationalists,” he said.

“The government moved against the police, the prosecutors and the judges in whatever part or city of the country where they were investigating such incidents,” Gülen added.

He argued that commentary portraying the Hizmet movement as “very big and widespread”  is meant support claims that the movement comprises an alternative or parallel state.

The scholar added that those who are behind the defamation campaign against the Hizmet movement are trying to scare people by exaggerating the movement’s size and influence.

“I suspect that they are using these corruption investigations as an opportunity to show their discomfort with the movement. Perhaps those that are doing this today will regret their actions in the future,” Gülen said.

Attacks on the movement are also harming Turkey, he continued, adding that the government’s recent anti-democratic steps that violate the rule of law will damage Turkey’s image in the United States and the European Union. “Almost everyone is saying this today,” he said.

Gülen reiterated that he has never been completely aligned with any particular political party. “Instead, we always considered it a part of our human responsibility to support the good works of these parties,” he noted, stressing that his message on the eve of Turkey’s elections — local, presidential and national — would be to encourage voters to support those who defend the rule of law.

“If I say something, it will be this: Vote for whoever stands for the rule of law and rights, is upright and sound, whoever is respectful of democracy, whoever gets along with those around him — if I am to say something, it will be this,” he said, adding, “Everyone sees all that is going on. I would not push people to choose one party over another.”

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

What is your view about the current corruption investigations in Turkey and turmoil surrounding them?

I don’t know where to begin. It is certain that there is corruption. Everyone accepts this. From the uneducated to the educated to the elites — everyone sees and knows what is going on. And no one has the power to cover this up.

But I suspect that some people are uncomfortable with the Hizmet movement. These investigations are being used as a pretext against the movement. The judges and prosecutors overseeing these investigations are being scattered around here and there. To show the movement as being very big and widespread, to justify [Prime Minister Erdoğan’s] argument that the movement comprises an alternative or parallel state, they claim that those officials who they reassigned and scattered around the country all belong to one movement.

They are trying to scare people by showing the movement as being very big. They are trying to break off [AK Party] supporters who are sympathetic to the movement. I suspect that they are using these corruption investigations as an opportunity to show their discomfort with the movement. Furthermore, there are partisan supporters within the media and media outlets who are misrepresenting certain things.

However, I believe that the things being done against the movement today are also causing Turkey to lose. These things will affect the view of the United States and the European Union about Turkey in a negative way because these actions by the government are anti-democratic. These actions are against the rule of law. Almost everyone is saying this today.

It is not just the prime minister who has accused you, who has said that there is a state within a state operating in Turkey. It is also people who don’t have dogs in the fight. Newspapers, the Financial Times, The Economist…

It was leaked to press that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) informed the prime minister about the [corruption] issues eight to ten months ago. People in the judiciary and the police carried out investigations and launched this case, as their duties normally require. Up until now, bribery, embezzlement, theft and cronyism were regarded as criminal activities. That is why the judiciary and the police went after these people.

The investigating prosecutors and police did not know that these things [corruption, etc.] were no longer considered crimes and they pursued this matter. This made the government unhappy and as a result they are talking about a state within a state. They are not talking about wrongdoing such as bribery, about the rigging of state tenders. These things are being presented as normal and acceptable. This is what it is.

It is not possible for these judges and prosecutors to receive orders from me. The government moved against the police, the prosecutors and the judges in whatever part or city of the country where they were investigating such incidents. They threw these people out. They had done this before. Those attempting to investigate the government are officials who the government appointed. And if the newly appointed people try to do something, I imagine they would be replaced by others by the government. What is happening is this type of mayhem. This situation has nothing to do with me. As I have said previously, I do not even know 0.1 percent of those running these investigations. I can say this wholeheartedly.

Isn’t it also true that one upon a time you saw a common cause with the AK Party and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan?

We have never been completely aligned with one particular party, whatever party it might be. Instead, we always considered it a part of our human responsibility to support the good works of these parties. As a result of this thinking, I said something that I had never said before. I said that people should vote “yes” during the 2010 Turkish referendum in support of a democratic step. If they have reasonable and positive attitudes with respect to the rule of law, democratic principles, serving people’s needs and building good relationships with neighbouring countries, we might seem to stand close to one another on these values and principles.

Some people both from the Hizmet movement side and from the other side have said that tensions will not reduce and peace will not prevail until the presidential elections. How do you see the near future for Turkey and the Hizmet movement?

The present atmosphere of revolt, enmity and hatred cannot be extinguished quickly. Many people’s honors have been downtrodden and the pride of many have been hurt. This cannot be restored that quickly. It may not be possible to bring everything back to a state of harmony. But I have never lost my hope. I still believe that it will happen.

The letter sent to the president of Turkey through a mutual friend sent by him was a step in that direction. I have known Mr. Fehmi Koru [the mutual friend and a columnist] since his days as a student. Both he and President [Abdullah] Gül welcomed the letter. But the prime minister was unhappy with the letter, perhaps because it was addressed to the president and not to him, or because it called on people in the media to stop discrediting and swearing at each other. He expressed his displeasure publicly in a press meeting.

I think there is a close circle around him like the historic elites of the imperial court who are misrepresenting matters to the prime minister. Neither my heart nor my conscience or my tongue can tolerate saying that he is unstable or that he is in a state of paranoia. But I think this close circle is pushing him towards such disturbing things.

You are here in the United States now, but if you were back in Turkey … We have got two big elections coming up this year. We have the municipal and presidential elections. Would you vote for the AK Party, would you vote for Mr. Erdoğan to become the next president of Turkey?

If I say something, it will be this: Vote for whoever stands for the rule of law and rights, is upright and sound, whoever is respectful of democracy, whoever gets along with those around him — if I am to say something, it will be this. Other than that, I would consider it an insult to people’s foresight and intelligence to tell them which party to vote for. Everyone sees all that is going on. I would not push people to choose one party over another.

The AK Party government holds that they are in the process of purging those members of the police and the judiciary who are affiliated with the Hizmet movement. Are you concerned about this development?

Any form of wrongdoing discomforts us. But it is wrong to think that all the people the government purged and reassigned are sympathetic to the Hizmet movement. I believe there are social democrats, nationalists and ultranationalists among those people.

And it is not in our hands to say to people, “Beware, never ever feel sympathy toward us; do not appear to be participants of our movement.” We do not have a responsibility to make such a declaration. They can feel sympathetic toward us. As I have expressed before, I do not even know 0.1 percent of the people the government keeps reassigning and herding around here and there, from one place to another. I believe that those responsible for these actions will question what they have done when they come face to face with their conscience.

Hizmet supported settlement process with Kurds

On the Kurdish issue we supported a peace process before the government. All I can do is to encourage. I had sent a document with recommendations and proposals to the prime minister stating that that the [southeastern] region needs to embraced. That its needs in education, healthcare, religious affairs and security are met. I said that if you do not embrace these people, those who have been persecuted in the past will carry on and grow their grievances into the future. But these views were not taken up.

Perhaps it has been about 10 years since we put our views and recommendations forward. We did this before they had done so. When the government did not act on these, people from the movement who I do not know opened schools in that region. They opened study centers. They tried to prevent fighting in the mountains through education.

But they have tried to show me as being against the peace process. No. Absolutely no. Maybe our method was different to that of the government. We were of the view that the issue needed to be solved through education, that the problem needed to be solved through coming together and unity and at the same time, tried to address the poverty in the region through investment. And, by and large, these things have been done. In this respect, the allegation of the movement being against the peace process is slander, it is an unfair portrayal, it is a form of aggression and attack.

Specifically on the Kurds again, a lot of people have said that you have had concerns about the settlement process with the [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK and Abdullah Öcalan. Is that correct?

Öcalan was unhappy with what we were doing for the Kurdish people. For example, the reading halls, the community centers; the things that were being done to prevent young people from joining the militants in the mountains. The PKK, the PJAK (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan) in Iran and the PYD (Democratic Union Party) in Syria expressed their discomfort with our activities. They don’t want the terrorism to stop. They are unhappy with activities that seek to build bridges between the Turks and Kurds. Their policy is to maintain enmity between Kurdish and Turkish people.

We have not had an adverse attitude toward them, but the PKK’s attitude is hostile toward us. In order to have good relations, to give the appearance of being nice to Kurds and to get their support in the elections, the current administration blamed everything on what they call the Hizmet community or movement.

I want to ask another question, concerning the Kurdish issue, in terms of clarifying your ideas. Are you particularly against the idea of negotiations with the organization?

Negotiations can be made with the PKK; we see no harm in that. However, they should been done in a manner that maintains the dignity and reputation of the state. If you act contrary to this, then history will record that as an act of the “parallel state.” The Republic of Turkey is a nation of Kurds, Turks, Laz, Circassians and Abkhazians; that is the people of Anatolia. Actually, we use that phrase often. In terms of emphasizing unity and togetherness, it is an important term.

We were never against the Oslo negotiations, the discussions with Öcalan, the discussions with the PKK in Kandil. As I said in a recent interview: “Peace is essential, agreeing with one another is essential.” I suspect that 80 percent of this community want peace; that only those in the mountains do not want this. Only those under the influence of Iran or Syria do not want peace. These people are unhappy with peace; Cemil Bayik, Fehman Huseyin are unhappy with this. The people in PJAK (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan) in Iran are unhappy with this. Why? Because they would argue that we are trying to assimilate the Kurds. In fact, I have both encouraged and told those people who have come to see me that there should be a Kurdish TV channel that teaches the Kurdish language, that there should be a Kurdish TV channel. At the same time, I have encouraged and said that Kurdish should be taught as an elective lesson in state schools and universities. In other words, I have encouraged these reasonable and necessary steps to be taken; I have said these things. You would end up with a big book if all the things that we have said on the subject were collected. But for some reason, to denigrate the Hizmet as bad, we have been shown as being against the peace process in certain media.

Building bridges between Sunnis and Alevis

You have always touched on the importance of interfaith dialogue on an international level, but there are certain tensions between Sunni and Alevite communities. As far as I remember, you indicated the necessity of joint mosque-cemevi projects. However, some Alevi groups gave their objections to the projects as well as disclosed their assimilation concerns. How would you respond to those concerns?

Not all Alevis think the same; there are people who welcome the project such as well-known figures in Turkey like Prof Izzettin Dogan. The mosque-cemevi side-by-side project, as you indicated, dates back to 1995. We sincerely believed this project would be a bridge-builder between Turkey’s Sunni and Alevi communities. I think those who claim that this is an assimilationist project will regret saying so in the future. The mosque-cemevi project is certainly not about assimilating one group into another.

If those who want to go to the mosque go to the mosque and do their prayers and those who wish to go to the cemevi go to the cemevi and do their sema and when they come out and sit together, drink tea together in a common space, sit together in the garden they will see that neither side is trying to consume the other. The idea that one side will annihilate the other has become embedded in the subconscious. It seems that for some this is a dream they want to come true, and only time will show us how this will develop.

These places should benefit from the means provided to the Religious Affairs Directorate of Turkey. The Alevi Dedes should come and head these cemevis, and they should be paid a salary by the state. Let them live, teach and exemplify their own values. And let the Sunnis exemplify and represent their own values. This idea was about bringing about brotherhood between these two communities. No one involved in this project had any aim of assimilating anyone.

Anatolian Alevis are different from Shiites. Alevis in Turkey have deep respect for our traditions dating back 1,000 to 2,000 years. They have sema, their own form of prayer or ritual, similar to the sema of Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi. They do that. This should not separate us; these should be approached with respect. Based on what I said earlier, these people should not fear that they do not have a place within your heart for them. As for assumptions and paranoia, only time will tell and prove if they are true or not; time will prove that no one involved in this is looking to assimilate anyone.

BBC links:

Fethullah Gulen: Powerful but reclusive Turkish cleric

Analysis: Power of Turkey’s Fethullah Gulen

IDP welcomes EP’s transparency calls to Hizmet movement

In a letter issued by the Intercultural Dialogue Platform (IDP), whose honorary president is Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, and sent to all members of the European Parliament, the IDP stated that it welcomes calls upon the Hizmet movement to improve its transparency and accountability.

20 January 2014 @, İstanbul

The IDP, a non-profit organization based in Brussels with the aim of advancing and promoting inter-cultural dialogue in Europe, sent its statement to each member of the EP on Monday in which it explained that the Hizmet movement had not received any such official call from the EP, but that it continues to invite and welcome scrutiny as it has in the past.

Below is a copy of the IDP’s statement:

The 87th proposed amendment of the European Parliament’s 2013 Progress Report on Turkey penned by the Dutch Christian Democrat Ria Oomen-Ruijten refers to the Hizmet movement.

While criticizing the Turkish government’s response to the recent corruption, money-laundering and bribery investigations, the proposed amendment tabled by four Liberal Democrat MEPs also calls upon the Hizmet movement to improve its transparency and accountability.

In addition, the proposed amendment recommends that an impartial inquiry looks into all allegations made against the Hizmet movement.

The Hizmet movement has repeatedly invited for allegations and accusations leveled at itself to be investigated and proven. To date, it has been subjected to various forms of judicial, political and academic scrutiny in Turkey and some European countries.

Notwithstanding, it continues to invite and welcome scrutiny. Most recently, on Dec. 30, 2013, the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), whose honorary president is Mr. Fethullah Gülen, issued a press release calling on those making allegations about the Hizmet movement to provide evidence to prove their claims without delay.

In this vein, we as the Intercultural Dialogue Platform, which is a Hizmet-inspired organization, welcome the 87th proposed amendment and announce that we support an inquiry into the Hizmet movement that will be carried out in accordance with the principles of the rule of law, impartiality and the independence of judicial process.

To read the article on please click here