The topic that I want to address today is the movement associated with the name of the modern Muslim scholar, Fethullah Gülen. I suspect that as recently as 10-15 years ago, most of us had never heard the name of Mr. Gülen nor of the predominantly group of young Muslims who make up that community. Yet today, the community has over 600 schools, so-called “Gulen Schools“, including six universities, and operates in over 100 countries. In addition to their schools, they are the main inspiration behind dialogue institutes such as the Rumi Forum, a dialogue institute which has over 40 counterparts in the United States alone, as well as other throughout Western and Easter Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa. For example, in Rome, where I was living until recently, there is the Istituto Tevere, that is, the “Tiber Institute,” which has very similar programs to those you will find here at the Rumi Forum. The community inherited its commitment to interreligious dialogue and cooperation from the writings of Said Nursi, but this commitment has been renewed and given new impetus in the writings of Fethullah Gülen. In his speech in 1999 at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Capetown, Gülen presented an optimistic vision of interreligious harmony: “It is my conviction that in the future years, the new millennium will witness unprecedented religious blooming and the followers of world religions, such as Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and others, will walk hand-in-hand to build a promised bright future of the world.”

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