Hizmet Movement in Africa: Activities of the Gulen Movement

A new book, Hizmet in Africa, by Ambassador David H. Shinn has been published by Tsehai Publishers, which is one of the few publishing companies dedicated to African literature. The book first introduces Fethullah Gulen, the Movement he inspired and what Hizmet is. Then the author focuses on first the economic relationship of Hizmet followers with Africa through TUSKON, business, and banking sectors. In addition, the education side of the Hizmet followers has been studied through Gulen-affiliated schools and related programs. In other chapters, a thorough research on dialogue centers, humanitarian activities, media and outreach programs have been conducted to give an overall picture of activities. The book concludes with a look at the governing party in Turkey, AKP, and Turkey-Africa relations in light of these openings with Hizmet people.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

Hizmet in Africa is the only book-length work that analyzes the multifaceted activities in Africa of the followers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen. Gulen and the followers of his philosophy refer to the Movement as Hizmet or “volunteer`s service” while others tend to call it the Gulen Movement.  The book includes Hizmet in both North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

This Movement did not exist in Africa twenty years ago.  Relatively few Africans and outsiders are aware of its activities in Africa.  The schools, for example, are often known as Turkish schools.  Few people understand they are linked to Hizmet or the Gulen Movement.  The book documents Hizmet activity based on visits in 2012 and 2013 to South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, and Turkey and meetings with a wide range of Hizmet representatives working in other countries in Africa.  It also draws on journalistic reports of Hizmet activity and that which has been published in academic books, journals, and papers.  The book analyzes the significance of the Movement for both Turkey and Africa and explores the link between the Movement and Turkish businesspersons, who provide most of the funding.

Fethullah Gulen and Hizmet Movement

Praises for the book:

David Shinn presents a comprehensive picture of the educational and humanitarian activities of the Hizmet Movement in Africa. He provides a balanced analysis of how the teachings of Fethullah Gulen inspire major educational projects throughout the continent. This volume provides an excellent example of the type of studies that are needed to understand the significance of nongovernmental organizations in the contemporary world.

—John Voll, Professor Emeritus of Islamic History at Georgetown University

Hizmet in Africa is a comprehensive and important work, giving the reader greater insight into and understanding of the valuable work and social investments of the Hizmet Movement in Africa. David Shinn’s book gives us an insightful testimony to the vital work being done by Hizmet Movement teachers, business people, academics, and volunteers in uplifting communities and contributing to the broader development of our societies within postcolonial Africa and, more specifically, post apartheid South Africa.

—Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

Although much has been written about the Fethullah Gulen-inspired Hizmet (Service) global movement, Ambassador David Shinn’s Hizmet in Africa provides the first book on the Hizmet Movement in Africa. Readers will find a gold mine of information on Hizmet’s educational network of ninety-five schools as well as its social, humanitarian and interfaith activities.

—John l. Esposito, Professor of Religion, International Affairs, and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University and author of The Future of Islam 

David H. Shinn has been teaching in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University since 2001.  He previously served in the U.S. Foreign Service for 37 years with assignments at embassies in Lebanon, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritania, Cameroon, Sudan and as Ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.  Among other positions in the State Department, he was director for East Africa, Horn of Africa and Indian Ocean island countries.  He has written numerous book chapters and articles in policy and academic journals.  He is the co-author of China and Africa: A Century of Engagement (2012) and Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia (2004 and 2013), and he is Editorial Board member of the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies.  He appears frequently on the Voice of America, Aljazeera, British Broadcasting Corporation, and Radio France Internationale.  Ambassador Shinn has a PhD in political science from George Washington University.

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