Posts Tagged ‘Fethullah Gulen’

Islam and Secularism in Turkey: Correcting a Few Misconceptions

April 18, 2009

Written and first posted by myself, under the pen name of Mehmed Mustafa Hamdi, as a reply to the discussion at this blog address. I thought it would be appropriate to edit it slightly and re-post it here also, as a separate and independent main blog post.

Certain prejudices, misconceptions and urban myths abound in the U.S. as well as the entire “West” regarding Turkey and the conception and practice of Islam within it. Unfortunately and rather strangely, some Muslims in the West, especially those educated in Western educational institutions, believe in many of these as well. We really need to remove some of them as soon as possible. Let us examine this issue in the context provided by a specific objection to the activities of a Turkish Muslim group.

A Bosnian Muslim woman wrote on the internet: “If they [the Islamic movement of Turkish origin led by Fethullah Gülen] were concerned about reaching out and bettering the Ummah in the real meaning of Islam, then why not start with Turkey itself! Start up grass roots organizations there, squeeze the secularist oppression and then talk about reaching out to the privileged phD converts!” I just want to answer this objection of hers and below yet another one, so that she and others who think as she does can understand why this movement behaves in some ways they find objectionable and that they appreciate the problems of these people that force them not to act otherwise. The other answer will pertain to the alleged adoption of secularism “by the Turks”.