The Gülen Movement in Turkey: The Politics of Islam and Modernity
by Caroline Tee. Published IB Tauris 2016 (272 pages)
I commend the review of this book of page 24 of The Tablet for 7th January 2017. Laurent Mignon, the reviewer, recalls the Gülen Movement’s Sufi background and the influence of the Kurdish Sunni theologian Said Nursi.
The movement is unusual in emphasizing the compatibility of modern science and Islam, and by putting this into practice in its schools and universities. It was for a long time the ally of the Justice & Development Party (AKP) and its predecessors in Turkey. Fethullah Gülen, the inspirer of the movement, feared for his safety in Turkey and fled to USA in 1997.
Some years after that, relations with the political party became tense. The result was that the attempted coup d’etat of 2016 was blamed by the Government on the Gülenists and their Hizmet Movement. Since then they have been severely persecuted in Turkey. It is also remarkable that the movement prizes the conservative values that exist in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but at the same time encourages interfaith dialogue and cooperation. This is most noticeable in Britain, the US, and Australia.