January 15, 2017
Fethullah Gülen, registered in Korucuk village of Pasinler district in Erzurum province, son of Ramiz and Rabia was born on 27.04.1941 (corrected to the original 1942), started to work as teacher (hodja) at the Qu'ran course in Kestane Pazarı in Izmir province in 1968.
Gulen learned Arabic and religion from his father. In 1953 he began his career as a government preacher (the only legal position a preacher can hold in Turkey) and in 1958, took up a teaching position at a mosque in Edirne. Four years later, he transferred to Izmir where his movement began and came to be known by some as the “Izmir Community.” (2)
Mainly in Bornova district of Izmir province, but also in provinces such as Edirne, Kırklareli, Balıkesir, Manisa and Çanakkale he worked as imam and preacher. Because of his affecting speeches and sermons a group gathered around him from different sections.
Fethullah Gülen was first active in the New Asia group, the biggest fan in the Nur Parish. He was particularly known for his sermons. He defended that it was wrong to put daily politics in front of everything. Their aim was to tell the society the truth of faith.
During the era of military rule starting in 1971, he was arrested for clandestine religious activities (organizing summer camps to disseminate Islamic ideas) and spent seven months in prison. (2)
When he found support among businessmen he left the New Asia group in 1970 and formed the group that is known by his name. In 1978 the Turkish Teacher Foundation (Türkiye Öğretmenler Vakfı, TÖV-İzmir) started to publish the journal “Leakage” (Sızıntı).
In 1980 there was an initiative with the distribution of his cassettes, speeches at various places and the support of volunteers of students of Said Nursi. (1)
In the early 1980s, the police initiated a case against him, but he was not arrested due to the ruling military junta’s relative tolerance of Islam. (2)
The Imam's Army (Turkish: İmamın Ordusu) is a book by Turkish journalist
Ahmet Şık on the life and work of
Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen movement.
Şık was detained in March 2011, before the book was published, and the draft book was seized by the government and banned, claiming it was an "illegal organizational document" of the secret organization Ergenekon.
The Army of the Imam:
Who is Fethullah Gülen
Because of the negative image of the term Nurculuk he never said that he was a Nurcu. When quoting Said Nursi he did not mention his name. With the help of businessmen he founded many companies and foundations and opened many schools, dormitories and classes. An intense activity of trade can be observed. (1)
FETHULLAH GULEN’S OWN IDEAS
Gulen does not favor the state applying Islamic law, the Shari’a. He points out that most Islamic regulations concern people’s private lives and that only a small portion of them concern the state and government.
These latter provisions need not be enforced because religion is a private matter, and its requirements should not be imposed on anyone. He looks at Islamic regulations bearing directly on the government–such as those related to taxation and warfare–in the context of contemporary realities.
Concluding that the democratic form of government is the best choice, Gulen is very critical of the regimes in Iran and Saudi Arabia. He accepts Said Nursi’s argument that the idea of republicanism is very much in accord with the idea of “consultation” discussed in Islamic sources. Moreover, he fears that an authoritarian regime would impose strict control on differing ideas. At the same time, though, Gulen views the state's role as important in “protecting stability.”
Gulen's goals are simultaneously to Islamize the Turkish nationalist ideology and to Turkify Islam. He hopes to re-establish the link between religion and state that existed in the Ottoman era, when leaders were expected to live their private lives based on Islamic regulations.
Such an approach, he argues, would strengthen the state, and thus protect society by widening the state’s base of legitimacy and enhancing its ability to mobilize the population.
Gulen holds that the Anatolian people’s interpretations and experiences of Islam are different from those of others, especially the Arabs. He writes of an “Anatolian Islam” based on tolerance and excluding harsh restrictions or fanaticism and frequently emphasizes that there should be freedom of worship and thought in Turkey.
He proposes two keys to provide peace in society–tolerance and dialogue. “We can build confidence and peace in this country if we treat each other with tolerance.” In his view, “no one
should condemn another for being a member of a religion or scold him for being an atheist.”(2)
74. While in the United States, Mr. Gulen founded the Institute for Interfaith Dialog
The Institute ofInterfaith Dialog (IID) is a non-profit organization. (A.R.
75. While in the United States, Mr. Gulen has served as Honorary President of the
(Chicago, Illinois). (A.R. pp. 1023 - 1028).
76. While in the United States, Mr. Giilen has served as the Honorary President of the
(Cleveland, Ohio). (A.R. pp. 1020 -1022). (3)
On May 14, 2010 six Turkish-American federations, which have close proximity to Mr. Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric and the exiled leader of the Turkey-based religious Gülen Movement joined to form the Assembly of Turkic American Federations, or ATAF.
hurriyetdailynews.com wrote in the article "The Gülen movement plays big in Washington":
"This decision of "combining all Gülen-related Turkic or Turkish associations and federations under one assembly,” was decided by Fethullah Gülen, another active member of the movement who came to the reception from a long distance said. "This decision was too big to let other leading members of the Gülen Movement to take on. Gülen took the initiative," said the well-connected member while listening to speakers at the reception.
"It is the "Turkic American Federations," not Turkish, because this umbrella organization represents not only those Turks who are from Turkey, but those "citizens from Central Asia, Anatolia and the Balkans... as part of [America's] cultural mosaic" the website of the ATAF notes.
"The Gülen Movement members are disciplined, loyal and they complete their assignments as they are told. The movement is able to mobilize its members to fulfill its leader's vision even in America". (4)