Friday, February 26, 2010

Gulen Movement

FLG has long maintained that the Fethullah Gülen Movement (FGM) offers a model for reconciling Islam and modernity.

Today, Reihan posts that there is an emerging consensus on the right that the FGM is dangerous. He links to an article in Foreign Policy by Soner Cagaptay that calls the FMG "an ultraconservative political faction."

Prima facie, this sounds like an alliance between American conservatives who are frightened or concerned or what-have-you about Islam and making common cause with a Turkish secularist (although I don't know if he is) concerned about the influence of a religious movement in his country. But it is quite possible that Mr. Cagaptay is correct and I've misunderstood the FGM. His article, however, particularly the part about the FGM being ultraconservative, strikes me as full-throated hyperbole that makes me wonder if he doth protest too much.

BTW, if anybody would like to read up on the Gulen Movement, then email me. I can send you some stuff.


George Pal said...


“After years of community building.. Gülen was...”

You have no idea the shiver that shot up my spine when I read that.

The JWF mission statement sounds like it might have come out of the Vatican on one of its cheerier days.

“Gülen is an extraordinary and charismatic person who keeps the whole community together in the quest for the same ideal.” If this is a one man show... then what?

I sticky noted ten instances of the word ‘image’. Here’s hoping they see this as more than a public relations problem.


Moderation and secularism have had a great deal of success in Turkey but little in the Arab world. The problem for Turkey though is the historical problem of revolutions, exacerbated by Muslim understanding of Islam’s call to jihad, dar-al-harb, and murderous consideration of Jews and infidels as something less than fully human: the ones with the guns and the will to use them often have their way.

The principle of Al-Takeyya will make it doubly difficult for moderate elements to be taken at their word - renunciations are, obviously, meaningless.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdoğan has, in the past, sounded worrisomely Islamist. He’s moderated himself lately but then he has EU aspirations. Then there’s that Al-Takeyya thing again. By most any measure he’s more Islam and less Ataturk – another worrisome thing. Nevertheless, I should like nothing more than to see the Gülen movement spread like a wildfire.

FLG said...


I think our assessment is roughly on the same page -- this isn't perfect, but it's a start in the right direction.

I have issues with many aspect of the FGM. The secrecy is a bit concerning, but then again understandable given the militantly secular environment from whence is sprung.

I think the American right writing it off is a massive strategic mistake.

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