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How to avoid claiming divine favors upon oneself

Question: There are positive developments around the world in the direction of a revival of ethical and spiritual values. How should believers position themselves on a safe ground to avoid claiming divine favors upon...

Öcalan invests in the post-İmralı era

The aftershocks from the leaking of the minutes of a meeting held last week between three pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, jailed on İmralı Island off the İstanbul coast, are still showing no signs of...

Gülen convinces people Islam integral part of global order

The Abant Platform organized by the Journalists and Writers' Foundation (GYV) hosted a wide range of participants from different walks of life at the traditional Abant meetings to discuss the “Diverse Perspectives on Turkey” on Feb....

What befell Niyazi-i Misri in the past is happening to Fethullah Gülen now

I immediately accepted an invitation from my dear teacher Ziya Kesiriklioğlu, who had taught my religious course at high school and who I hadn't seen for more than 25 years, to an event in Lemnos to commemorate a major Islamic scholar from my hometown of Malatya who had lived 300 years ago and was buried on the Greek island. My visit to the island of Lemnos proved to be extremely enjoyable and beneficial. I had the opportunity to spend time with chivalrous and enthusiastic people from Malatya, a city I was unable to visit frequently. At the same time, I am ashamed to admit, I had the honor of finding out more about Niyazi-i Mısri, the highly-respected Sufi and a distinguished spiritual leader from my hometown who became famous across the Muslim world. As I listened to the presentations made by scholars who studied Niyazi-i Mısri and his teachings and who knew much about him and his ideas, I learned more about Mısri's ideas and views which were far beyond his time and the boundaries of his spiritual and cultural climate. And I was grieved to learn about the trials and tribulations Mısri had suffered at the hands of the ruling elite of his time because of his views and ideas on how to become a perfect man (al-insan al-kamil). Mısri was a Sufi who came at a relatively later time but he was as great as Rumi or Yunus Emre. And as with almost all spiritual and opinion leaders who were not properly understood by the rulers of their time, Mısri suffered from similar misfortunes devised by the worried and undiscerning ruling elites. The suffering Mısri went through are full of lessons that speak to the people of our time, more than they would have to the people of Mısri's time. Indeed, there are people today who face...

Gülen-inspired schools and SMOs

In an attempt to distract the public from Fethullah Gülen's acquittal by Turkey's top court and perturbed by his top ranking in Foreign Policy magazine's poll, elements of the Turkish media are using a lawyer's wording in an attempt to engineer a setback for Gülen. In the brief submitted by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lawyers on the appeal filed by Gülen about his residential status, the lawyers used the term the "Gülen schools." In a display of adversarial journalism a few Turkish correspondents seized on the term and claimed that Gülen now "admits" in the US that the schools "belong" to him, while he has always denied it in Turkey. The adversarial coverage has brought the schools, their financial accountability and leadership to the fore, displaying them in a negative light. Further, some journalists have begun attempts to smear the 27 US community leaders and scholars who have written letters to the court in support of Gülen's application. The leaders and scholars have described Gülen as "an extraordinary educator." Once again we see a media cartel transforming information, instead of transmitting it objectively. In fact, as yet there is no consensus among writers on what to call the Gülen-inspired institutions; this is as true for American lawyers as it is for Turkish correspondents of all political colors. The use of terms like "Gülen schools" can arise from ignorance or disinformation. If the term "Gülen schools" is equated with, for example, Montessori schools (where a particular training and qualifications are required for personnel and a specific methodology is used), it leads to misunderstanding. Gülen movement participants have their own perspectives on terms used for the movement and the social movement organizations (SMOs) it has inspired. However, many outsiders seem oblivious to these perspectives or choose to ignore them. Because of its brevity, outsiders tend to use "Gülen schools"...

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