M. Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim scholar, educator and peace activist, has been awarded an honorary doctorate of education by Leeds Metropolitan University for his contribution to education, peace making and intercultural dialogue.

Özcan Keles, executive director of the London-based Dialogue Society charity, accepted the honorary doctorate on Thursday on behalf of Gulen at the university’s summer graduation convocation. “Fethullah Gulen considers this award as recognition of the work and efforts of what is known among academic circles as the Gulen movement or what Gulen himself prefers to call a movement of volunteers,” Keles, said.

Stating that by honoring Fethullah Gulen the university honors all of those who are inspired by his teachings and example, he said the award connects the university to millions of people all around the world. “The aim of Gulen’s lifelong work and that of the movement he inspires is to contribute towards the development of a more humane society which is committed to the well-being of others,” he said.

Professor Elspeth Jones, international dean at the university, also made a speech on Fethullah Gulen’s contribution to dialogue and education.

“The Gulen Movement is local, civic and autonomous and its primary purpose is to contribute towards developing a fully humane society, durable peace and greater understanding. Gulen asserts that we are human first, Muslim or of any other religion or culture next. He stresses the importance of serving the community in which we live, and he is against any form of terrorist activity or violence,” she said.

The dean concluded her speech with Gulen’s remarks: “Be so tolerant that your bosom becomes wide like the ocean. Become inspired with faith and love of human beings. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand and about whom you remain unconcerned.”

Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish Islamic scholar well known for his teachings promoting mutual understanding and tolerance between cultures. One of the world’s most influential Islamic scholars, Gulen came out at the top of the list of “The World’s Top 20 Public Intellectuals” by the magazines Foreign Policy and Prospect in 2008. Now residing in the US, Fethullah Gulen has pioneered educational activities in a number of countries along with efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the world. He has written nearly 50 books in Turkish, some of them translated into several languages.

Source: Today’s Zaman

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