Gulen’s False Choice: Silence or Violence

Fethullah Gulen

By Stephen Schwartz:

The imam and his army should follow their own advice: respond to insults against Muhammad or other non-violent attacks by presenting a better example of Islam, rather than by attempting prior restraint on free expression.

When the enigmatic Turkish Islamist leader, M. Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the U.S., published, in the September 27 London Financial Times, an op-ed column with a clumsy turn from benevolent moderation to hard Islamist ambitions, he revealed his authentic character.

The topic was, probably predictably, the latest outburst of terrorism in Muslim countries, along with the pretext of indignation against a crude video made in the U.S. and which insulted Muhammad. The op-ed, entitled, “Violence is not in the tradition of the Prophet,” emphasized, in the first seven (out of nine) paragraphs, that Muslims should not react to insults against Muhammad by destructive protests: “The violent response,” he wrote, “was wrong… Muslims …must speak out [against] violence… The question we should ask ourselves as Muslims is whether we have introduced Islam and its Prophet properly to the world. Have we followed his example in such a way as to instill admiration?… [A Muslim] should respect the sacred values of Christians, Jews, Buddhists and others as he expects his own religion and values to be respected.” So far, so good.

The true outlook of Fethullah Gulen, however, was revealed in his last two paragraphs: “Hate speech designed to incite violence is an abuse of the freedom of expression… [W]e should appeal to the relevant international institutions, such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] or the UN, to intervene, expose and condemn instances of hate speech. We can do whatever it takes within the law to prevent any disrespect to all revered religious figure, not only to the Prophet Muhammad. The attacks on the Prophet we have repeatedly experienced are to be condemned, but the correct response is not violence. Instead, we must pursue a relentless campaign to promote respect for the sacred values of all religions,” Gulen proclaimed.

Gulen proposes, in so many words, adoption of international laws against blasphemy as an alternative to homicidal outbursts. And what would a “relentless campaign” involve other than disrespect for free speech? Presenting terrorist mobs and blasphemy codes as the principal alternatives for redress of offended Muslims’ grievances is hardly reasonable, and conflicts with the reputation Gulen has sought to construct for himself and his followers as dedicated adherents to interfaith dialogue and tolerance of religious differences.

Gulen leads a massive, worldwide religious, journalistic, and educational network, known as Hizmet (Service). His movement is associated with the Istanbul daily newspaper Zaman (Time), which claims to be Turkey’s largest in circulation. Zaman produces an English online edition, Today’s Zaman, as well as media aimed at the overseas Turkish communities in Germany and Australia. Zaman also appears in locally-edited versions in countries, from the Balkans to Kyrgyzia, which possess either Turkish minorities, or are viewed as part of a pan-Turkish cultural sphere. Zaman has no problem with restrictive press rules under notorious dictatorships, such as, for example, that of the former Soviet Muslim republic of Turkmenistan, under the eccentric, coercive, and energy-rich regime established by its post-Communist autocrat, Suparmarat Niyazov (1940-2006). Zaman Turkmenistan, following the prevailing rules, has refrained from reporting news unfavorable to Niyazov’s regime and its successors.

Gulen is doubtless best known outside Turkey for a system of science-oriented primary, secondary, and higher education institutions across the globe, including many operated as “charter schools,” with local public financing, in the U.S. The Gulen school system in America – 120 establishments in 2012, according to The New York Times – has been questioned for its odd characteristics. These include recruiting American students of non-Turkish descent to learn Turkish – hardly a likely first choice for American learners of a second language – and participating in competitions for the mastery of Turkish culture. Turkish-Americans, however, according to the reliable estimates, account for fewer than 150,000 people out of the total population, thereby depriving the Gulen program of an argument for multicultural representation in public school curricula of a significant minority culture.

Further, in the last two years, mainstream media have reported U.S. federal and state investigations of the Gulen charter school system. These have focused on charges of diversion of local government money to Gulen-controlled businesses and abuse of “H1B” work visas for teachers brought from Turkey and Central Asia who have substandard qualifications, while American teachers with superior credentials suffer unemployment. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that three Gulen schools in the American state of Georgia (he has many more schools in the former Soviet republic of Georgia) had defaulted on bonds, and that an audit had disclosed improper contracting for services with Gulen enterprises.

The Gulen movement’s American branches additionally offer speaking platforms and tours of Turkey to influential Americans, with considerable success. Gulen, who began his professional life as an imam, has enjoyed the support of America’s premier academic apologist for radical Islam, Professor John Louis Esposito of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, as well as other prominent figures. Through them, he has projected himself as a preacher of moderate, spiritual Islam related to the Sufi tradition and particularly to that of Said Nursi (1878-1960), who advocated a fusion of science and faith. Gulen has been especially identified by his defenders with mutual respect between religions and as an advocate for secular education, an opponent of terrorism, and, in effect, a lover of all humanity.

Inside Turkey, Gulen and his movement have a different image. They inspire considerable fear. Gulen’s followers have been accused of an elaborate strategy of infiltration of state institutions, including the army, police, and judiciary. Ahmet Sik, a Turkish journalist who wrote an expose of the movement, The Imam’s Army, was charged with participation in a nebulous “conspiracy” called “Ergenekon,” organized ostensibly by a “deep state” within the Turkish institutions. Sik was released in March 2012 after more than a year in prison. The Imam’s Army is banned in Turkey and has yet to be printed as a book there, although it, and excerpts translated into English, have been posted on the internet.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

9 thoughts on “Gulen’s False Choice: Silence or Violence

  1. Your blog provides excellent tips especially to those who are new to blogosphere! Your write ups provide brief and accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one, a must read write-up.

    • Thank you! I’m glad you are finding my blog useful. I think of myself as a sort of virtual librarian sharing what I am learning. Be sure to check the twitter feed on the home page (upper right) for news items not posted on the blog.

  2. This dualistic speaking out of both sides of their mouth is typical of Muslims and in fact exemplified in the Koranic verses from the later extremely violent and murderous Meccan period having superiority and in fact abrogating earlier verses (relatively peaceful in nature) from the earlier Median chapters in the Koran. Our Founding Fathers Drew a Line in the Sand

    The Declaration of Independence begins with a preamble under the heading ‘The Unanamous Declaration of the Thirteen States of America,’ and continues, “When in the Course of human events, It becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God…”, the Lord Jesus Christ, “…entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

    Said preamble needs now in our time at the helm of our ship of state to be amended by the following sentiments inserted after the words ‘which have connected them with another’ by extending the wording to address the enemy we face today, the murderous cult of Islam, and read as follows: ‘…which have connected them with another even to the degree of tolerating intolerable ideological or religious beliefs which have and do define themselves through the actions of adherents to such beliefs as the enemy of the liberty which with we are endowed by our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Since the murderous cult of Islam has throughout its history and does today explicitly hold to doctrines of world domination and the dhimmitudinization of non-Muslims, ‘We the People’ must recognize that those values espoused in the teachings of Islam are incompatible with a free society and that the murderous cult of Islam cannot – must not – be tolerated in the United States of America or any of her territories.

    It was the contention of the signers of The Declaration of Independence in recognizing the entitlement of separate and equal station availed by the laws of Nature and Nature’s God, the Lord Jesus Christ, unto a free nation that any such nation’s citizens should rightly exercise the action of decently respecting the opinions of mankind in the Course of human events by declaring the causes which impelled them towards separation from – In the trial of their time -Great Britain.

    Americans today should as well decently respect the opinions of mankind in the Course of human events and declare as we face the trial of our time – the world-wide expansion of the murderous cult of Islam; an enemy as insurmountable in its dimensions as Great Britain seemed unto our Founding Fathers – the causes which impel us now unto the separation from and the rejection and exclusion of the murderous cult of Islam.

    America must determine to defeat Islam. Nothing short of unconditional surrender will suffice for to permit Islam participation within a society is an invitation for the viral spread of the murderous cult which holds fundamentally to aspirations of world domination under a one-world Islamic Caliphate.

    Holding the truths which are self-evident as did our founding fathers denies the toleration of any encroachment upon those same truths by erroneous ideologies which deny the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, from Whom we are endowed with ‘certain unalienable Rights.’ The truth that ‘…all men are Created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ rings familiar and true in the hearts of all those who would call themselves Americans. Those words are the very tintinnabulation resounding for generations within ‘We the People’ of the United States of America of the Spirit of ’76’, the American Spirit of Liberty, revered and saluted symbolically in America’s Liberty Bell which, though cracked and silent, still loudly rings in the hearts of all those who assent to the truth that all men are, in fact, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.

    The Declaration of Independence continues, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED, –that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light or transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. BUT WHEN A LONG TRAIN OF ABUSES AND USURPATIONS, PURSUING INVARIABLY THE SAME OBJECT EVINCES A DESIGN TO REDUCE THEM UNDER ABSOLUTE DESPOTISM, IT IS THEIR RIGHT, IT IS THEIR DUTY, TO THROW OFF SUCH GOVERNMENT AND TO PROVIDE NEW GUARDS FOR THEIR FUTURE SECURITY.”

    The freedom of religion determined by and for ‘We the People’ in the First Amendment to the Constitution needs not be extended unto adherents to the murderous cult of Islam for the words ‘When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object…’ are a working definition for Islam’s doctrinal strategy – that is to say, ‘design’ – of DHIMMITUDE.

    Islam advances an invariable pursuit of an object: namely, a one-world Islamic Caliphate, and evinces a design to reduce America under the absolute despotism of Sharia. It is our right and our duty to throw off and throw out such a murderous cult as Islam as sure as it would be to throw off any government that would arise which so clearly met the description of that government our Founding Fathers chose to give us warning.

    It is our duty to provide a ‘New Guards’ for our future security: a new, legal, legitimate president who will lead us in the war in which we are engaged with the murderous cult of Islam.

    Our enemy, Islam, reduces all non-Muslims unto the status of dhimmi; a status with no rights under the absolute despotism of Sharia law.

    The words written to protect America from abuses and usurpations by an hypothetical derelict American government apply equally, indeed more so, as instruction as how to proceed against any foreign enemy which meets the description in the warning from our Founding Fathers so precisely as does the murderous cult of Islam.

    Islam is not just a religion. It is a cultural mandate unto every dimension of a society antithetical to the American experiment in ‘government of the People, by the People and for the People.’ It is the right and the duty of those who would defend the Constitution and American Liberty to exclude the murderous cult of Islam from the religious freedoms bought with the blood and toil of Americans and throw out of our country adherents to such a murderous cult which espouses an agenda of world domination through terror.

    America must expel all Muslims who advance any dimension of cultural jihad in order to guard her future security and she needs now to terminate any further immigration of adherents to Islam.

    If we do not take this drastic step now future generations of Americans shall suffer the same fate as the citizens of all non-Muslim countries where Islam has conquered in its recorded history. Future generations of Americans shall have to take up the fight under far worse conditions wherein the murderous cult shall have entrenched itself more deeply within our borders.


    No free society should tolerate Islam.

    America must determine to defeat her enemy and demand nothing less than unconditional surrender.

    History clearly illustrates that compromise with the murderous cult of Islam inevitably leads to subjugation.

    Please watch the 9 minute and 26 second YouTube video ‘Four Stages of Islamic Conquest’ published on July 20, 2012 by libertyLSA.

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