One of the criticisms to Hizmet movement from people who either hate the movement or keep a distance towards it is the concern of transparency. It is often times used to cast doubt in minds of people who appreciate the education activities of the movement as well as the moderate approach that the movement takes. Track record of the movement, the teachings of Fethullah Gulen and the activities of the movement are wide open and should be the criteria in judging.
As I was reading Justin vela’s recent article on what would happen to the movement after Hojaefendi, I came across a criticism from Hakan Yavuz regarding the politicization of movement. Since Hizmet appeals to a large portion of the society and the span of activities cover a wide range with fascinating success, for some people it becomes natural to assume that the movement might be getting politicized. I am taking issue with that.
With its recent growth in the last decade Gulen Movement has been drawing attention from the academic and the policy world. Such an important movement is naturally scrutinized for its intentions and activities and Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet Movement had its share from this close attention. In addition to the bulk of positive evaluation of the movement there is also a growing critique as well.
Although constructive critique is always appreciated there are some remarks certainly made to taint the movement because of ideological hatred towards the different. Dogan Koc’s recent book titled “Strategic Defamation of the Fethullah Gulen” takes up this issue. Before moving forward the word “defamation needs to be defined. “it denotes the deliberately slanderous or libelous injury of another’s good reputation” The problem with this is that it prevents the honest critical dialogue between the movement and its counterparts. As this strongly emotional hate filled approach to the movement takes place, the genuine evaluation of the outcome of the movement’s activities is not given a chance. This is unfair to many people associate themselves with Fethullah Gulen.
There is an old saying in Turkish: "Throw mud against someone; It will leave a stain even if it does not stick”. There is not a week or a month that some circles produce new slander and lies about Fethullah Gulen or the Gulen movement. Conservative Examiner magazine’s December article by Christopher Collins about a charter school application in Loudon County, VA referencing to a report published by the extremist Frank Gaffney is the latest example of the strategic smear campaign against moderate and decent people who are only promoting peace and dialogue. Gaffney and company only produces deception based on lies and imaginations designed to evoke fear in the public mind to target a peaceful intellectual and a diverse group of people inspired by him one way or another. In this article I would like to point out to the carefully chosen words by Mr Collins to portray the Gulen movement and Mr Gulen himself.
Every day is a new world in our lives and it will look black or white depending on what type of glasses we put on. Our perception influences our interpretation and understanding of what’s happening around us. This is some times unfortunate because no matter what you do it is impossible to change the views of some people however you resort to reason and conscience. Shadow of a doubt or a piece of a fear stemming from their understanding of the world clouds all reason and rationality pushing them to the edge of a fear full of dark precipice.
There is not a day that we don’t see a news article or a column about Hizmet (Service) Movement inspired by Fethullah Gulen. Some of these appear with sensational headlines like “Hidden Agenda” or “Grand Ambition” of Gulen Movement and get refuted by many officials and scholars. There are so many different claims and opinions about Hizmet movement that the actual agenda of the movement is really lost in that noise. This short note is to point out the obvious fact that the actual agenda of the movement is hidden in its very name “Hizmet (Service)”.
To be or not to be... ..that would appear to be the question - to paraphrase Shakespeare. But what is it that it is to be? Here I am referring to the concept of what it takes or means to be a Gulen inspired organization. Can anyone profess to start a Gulen inspired organization? Can anyone label anything, any person or any organization - public, private or otherwise - as Gulen inspired? The short answer is no. Of course not! The ethos of and duty of individuals that have been inspired Fethullah Gulen’s ideas really needs to be evaluated.
Even though he claims himself as a PhD, anyone can easily understand when he/she reads his pieces that it is literally impossible for him to be a PhD. The quality of his writing, the choice of his wording, and the way he argues something cannot belong to academics that support his/her arguments with proofs or reasonable examples. In addition even though you spend hours on the web, you can’t find even a single academic paper of him. He only writes lies about Fethullah Gulen and Gulen Movement. I am sure he milks the money because of the crappy papers that he wrote but this is not the topic of today’s article.