The Gulen Movement: Communicating Modernization, Tolerance, and Dialogue in the Islamic World

By Michael J. Fontenot and Karen Fontenot.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The movement started by M. Fethullah Gülen and based on the teachings and philosophy of Said Nursi is the most important social movement in Turkey today. It has resulted in the creation of publishing and television outlets, newspapers, a university, and more than five hundred schools in ninety countries. The movement emphasizes the importance of education, especially science and mathematical training, and the necessity for dialogue among all faith communities. This paper will analyze the attributes of the movement that contribute to its success, namely Mr. Gülen’s successful use of rhetorical invention, his skill in fusing Sufi values with rationality, the adroit use of new media technology, and the importance of his transformational leadership in organizing and motivating volunteers. The implications and importance of this movement, especially as Turkey prepares to become the first Islamic country to enter the European community, will also be addressed.

Keywords: Rhetorical Invention, Nursi, Sufi, Hizmet, Himmet, Risale-I Nur, Ibn Rushd, Rumi

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 12, pp.67-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 644.993KB).

Dr. Michael J. Fontenot

Professor of History, Southern University at Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Dr. Michael J. Fontenot is a history professor at Southern University at Baton Rouge, La. He received a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 1976, with fields in Russian and European history and a concentration in socialist thought. Benefiting from a number of major grants and fellowships—including four National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, two Fulbright-Hays awards, and two East-West Center grants—he has come to favor interdisciplinary approaches and has looked for new understandings at the intersections of academic fields. Accordingly, his research focus has been upon episodes or currents of significant change, such as the collapse of the Tsarist Regime, the migration of theories of knowledge across cultures, the disintegration of the USSR, influences affecting the formation of the Society of Jesus, and implications of the theory of Biological Emergence. His most recent work has involved Sufi modes of adaptation, both to intercultural contexts and to modernity.

Dr. Karen Fontenot

Department Head/Professor, Department of Communication, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, Louisiana, USA

Dr. Karen Fontenot is professor of communication and head of the Department of Communication at Southeastern Louisiana University. Her research interests are intercultural and organizational communication.

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