Review of a publication – “Gulen on Dialogue”

Lord Hylton

 “Gulen on Dialogue” by Frances Sleap and Omer Sener – 33 pages plus large bibliography – pub 2014 (Hizmet Studies)ISBN 978 0 9929312 0 9 –

 This new pamphlet in a semi-hard cover deserves serious study and wide distribution.

Hizmet is a Turkish word meaning service, to the world and to one’s neighbour.  It is a key idea in the life work of Muhammed Fethullah Gülen.  He was born in 1941 in eastern Turkey and is still alive in the USA.  He came from a Turkish Sufi background and became a preacher, author, and organizer of the Hizmet Movement, sometimes known as the Gülen Movement.  His faith and mysticism were not simply personal but also deeply active and social.  He remains a public intellectual.  In the Muslim context he states that he is not a liberal, modernist or reformer.  He speaks from within the Sunni tradition.

Gülen always saw dialogue as part of the fabric of Islam and as something that corresponds to our God-given human nature.  He advocated dialogue for religious reasons, rather than just for pragmatic politics.  Love and compassion, he argued, should be the driving forces of dialogue.  Its practitioners would need personal humility and empathetic acceptance of the other. If you engage in dialogue “you should have, he said, a chair for everyone in your heart”.  A self-critical, non-judgemental approach would be needed.  Hüsnüzan, the Turkish word for positive thinking about others, would be essential.  This stems from positive thinking about God and about his creatures. Gülen saw humanness as more important than anyone’s personal faith or national identity.

The pamphlet contains 12 guiding principles for inclusive dialogue as well as six points for further reflection.  Such dialogues seem greatly needed at present.  A national dialogue has helped the difficult transition from dictatorship to democracy in Tunisia.  Something similar was tried in Egypt and may be continued with the help of the British University in Egypt. There is a proposal for national dialogue in Bosnia, as part perhaps of the search for a more appropriate constitution.

The Helsinki Agreements of 1975 (or 77) led to dialogues at many different levels, all of which slowly thawed the rigid positions of the Cold War.  The need for detente is as great today as it was then.  One thinks of Israel, Palestine and the Arab States, or of Iran and the Gulf States, India and Pakistan, or China and Japan. Work on the principles, methods and practice of dialogue could improve the debate about climate change and strengthen campaigns against modern slavery and global poverty.  It might even help to prevent some potential conflicts.

7 comments for “Review of a publication – “Gulen on Dialogue”

  1. MilesJSD
    30/07/2014 at 10:56 pm

    As long as you our Governors remain stuck in Militantism, so must we 7 billion would-be-peacefully-constructive Earth-Citizens.

    As long as Private, Parliamentary, and Politically-Public


    remains the ‘Competitive’ Dog-In-The-Democratic-Manger,
    by monolistically being the first, the intermediary, and the last
    Governance and Social Resort to
    Recognising, Planning and Resolving our Needs and Sustainworthily-Affordable Hows,

    we shall remain ‘stuck’

    both unable and unwilling to apply ourselves and sufficient of our Timeframes to cooperatively-participative
    (1) information sharing
    (2) focused local-neighbourhood thru to world-wide governance-levels conversations
    (3) constructive dicussion
    (4) scrutinising
    (5) Method III Cooperative Problem Solving

    in that order of priority
    and before ‘plunging’ into competitive win-lose Debating
    and its inevitable slippery-slopes outcomes
    and ‘job-creation’ “desirables” of, for instance

    We have a conflict “a-springing” –
    Quick, call out the Conflict-Management Teams
    the Fire Brigade
    the Police
    the Army
    the United Nations Security Council …
    and The International ‘Community’ …” .
    In short, even ‘good dialogue-ing’ will remain ineffective without total Human-Race competency in
    Method III Needs-&-Hows Resolution,

    and thereupon further adequately-timeframed and Informed Dialogue
    and Debate.

    • maude elwes
      31/07/2014 at 2:32 pm

      @ Miles:

      Here is some fact sharing we see nothing of here on this ‘world’ blog. Although I did see a Commons video where it was raised to his merit by RT. Hon. Nicholas Soames, a Conservative MP with the courage to speak out against an enormous prejudice, if one should dare speak truth. Time to bring sanctions against Israel by not accepting any of its goods into this country and sanctioning any money laundering reaching them via the back door. Unfortunately, I was unable to find this video of him on Democracy Live, which was well worth the time to view.

      Naturally the US is sending more ammunition and various kinds of support in their act of horrendous inhumanity against mankind. What else would you expect from them?

      • maude elwes
        05/08/2014 at 1:47 pm

        I found the video of our Commons showing the world they haven’t lost all their sense of British decency.

        Not often I feel satisfied with what I see as debate in our Commons. But, I felt a lift when I saw this. Why can’t they always be like this?

  2. MilesJSD
    04/08/2014 at 11:26 am

    What else would I expect [from such as the US}?
    First, I do already expect them to be becoming literate and well up-to-date, both from Top to Bottom and from Bottom to Top, in the first-and-ongoing Friendly Cooperative Needs-&-Sustainworthily-Affordable-Hows Method III-ology.

    Yet vis-a-vis “enormous prejudice” {maude}
    (1) Hamas ‘declared’ the current war upon Israel, by illegally striking first,
    (2) Israel has to respond in warfare-kind [*]

    [*] War-notes:
    It is ‘OK’ to terrorise, kill, maim, innocent and helpless civilians under the greater Aim of Self-Survival and thereto of Enemy-‘neutralisation’.

    For what reasonable purpose ?
    A. In The Air (just two incidents from WW2):
    1. The blitzkrieging of innocent civilians in cities by the Nazi-German Luftwaffe;
    2. The UK and USA Allies’ Firebombing of cities such as Hamburg.

    B. On The Ground (again, just two ‘examples’):
    3. It was ‘ok’ for an Army commander to send in first,
    even completely unarmed, against a dug-in enemy,
    droves of his-her own women and children –

    for what war-reasonable-purpose ?
    (i) to have them taken prisoner, and thus to be eating into the enemy’s supplies of food, care, and guard-personnel;
    (ii) to have them shot down by the enemy regardless, thus ‘wasting’ the enemy’s ammunition and moral-strength,
    so that the main defensive-attack against that dug-in enemy would hereafter stand better chance of success.

    And that’s before one looks comparatively & contrastively into the respective Land-Areas, Economic-Wealths, and Populations,
    of all those Arab States

    {who dominantly, if now ‘by Law-covertly’,
    seek only the annihilation of the Israeli population
    and the utter extinction of the Israeli State and Territory}

    Arab States
    versus the literally Tiny-Little land, people, and natural-wealth of Israel.

    • maude elwes
      08/08/2014 at 1:36 pm

      @ Miles:

      As it is a tiney little land, the best financial move for us in the west would be if the US donated an equal size piece of their sod in one of their vast empty states to the Zionists and allowed them to name it Israel. Then all people would be satisfied.

      The Palestinians would have their land back, the Israelis would no longer have the fear of being got rid of and the tax payers, who foot the enormous bill in arms and everything else needed to keep this horror show on the road, would be free of the burden. Voila, problem solved.

  3. MilesJSD
    08/08/2014 at 3:02 pm

    @ elwes

    Why’ve you skipped over, totally omitted,
    the hugely greater and vaster Arab-Muslim territories worldwide
    as nearest-rightful and kindred ‘housing’ for their brother-palestinians ?

    and why omitted that
    then, Israel could resume all of the land within it’s major geographical boundary,
    including the Gaza-Strip and the West Bank,
    maybe the Golan Heights,
    and should also be given a ‘caveat’ on further distant hostile or alien Bodies hindering, opposing, or in any other way threatening Israel’s longest-term sustainworthily peaceful-progress.

    Israel’d still be a “tiny nation”, including all Israelis not just your “Zionists”;

    and incidentally a comparatively
    and even contrastingly
    Israel would not only remain a “tiny nation state” ………
    but would, as could all other “parties” and “stakeholders”, be content.

    Anyway, under your “idea”, who’s to pay for your Re-Locating of the “Zionist” out through the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic Ocean, and across hundreds of miles of USA territory, for instance into sufficiently-vacant land ?

    You ?
    The Palestinians ?

    …Pas “voila”, maude –
    the ‘International Community’s handling of the whole Middle East conflicting-needs-case surrounding both Israel and the Palestinians has long-since been bogged-down in its own Needs-&-Sustainworthily-Affordable-Hows-Resolving illiteracy;

    “vraiment rien ne vas plus”

    evidently there has never been a “square one” to go back to,
    nor any peace-building alternative to the various Militancies in Worldwide Power;

    has there,
    to your knowledge,
    maude ?

    Nor any-one capable of creating it.

    • maude elwes
      11/08/2014 at 3:22 pm

      @Miles, from, Elwes;

      Much of the response to what you have directed toward me in your above post is answered in this link. Take time to read it. It is written from the horses mouth and relatively unknown.

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