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Turkey: Where Islam and the West get along OK

According to a recent Economist article, “A Turkish-based movement, which sounds more reasonable than most of its rivals, is vying to be recognised as the world’s leading Muslim network.”

Besides being a future vacation destination for one, Publius Publicola, Istanbul has long been
a nexus of the Western, Eastern, and Middle Eastern worlds, and continues that role today as the birthplace of a global Muslim network (referred to as Gulenists, after their leader, Fethullah Gulen) directed by a firm belief in “science, inter-faith dialogue and multi-party democracy.”

It’s interesting that the Muslim movement has played the role of counterweight to Turko nationalism locally, while serving as an extension of Turkish influence abroad, from Central Asia to Iraq.

This pragmatic counter-reformation has the potential to play a positive role in some of the most fragile nation-states in the world. “As a global force, the Gulenists are especially active in education. They claim to have founded more than 500 places of learning in 90 countries.”

“If you meet a polite Central Asian lad who speaks good English and Turkish, you know he went to a Gulen school,” says a Turkish observer.

Compared with all these [other Muslim] groups, the Gulen movement offers a message to young Muslims that sounds more positive: it tells them to embrace the Western world’s opportunities, while still insisting on Islam’s fundamentals

Good news.


Filed under: World

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