At his visit to Fatih University in Istanbul, Turkey, Imam Yahya Hendi, the muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, shares his thoughts about Gulen Movement. Looking at the flags of the US, Turkey and Fatih University, Imam Hendi states “I hope that this university and the movement behind it, will become the power that will bridge the gap between both nations. In the last week or so, and with my studies of the movement, and in the last week or so at this university, I do believe that this could become the movement that we all need.”
I am looking at those flags that happen in front of me for the last hour or so, the American Flag, my flag which I am very proud, the Turkish Flag that represents this nation, and the Fatih University flag. What came to my mind an hour ago when I first sat on this chair was: Allahu Akbar! I hope that this university and the movement behind it, will become the power that will bridge the gap between both nations. In the last week or so, and with my studies of the movement, and in the last week or so at this university, I do believe that this could become the movement that we all need, because we are at the crossroads. Our nations, our religions, our communities have to make a tough choice. The choice we may make is a deadly choice, a choice that could claim the lives of millions of our brothers and sisters around the world: A choice of death, a choice of war, a choice of division.
In the last week or so I learnt that there is another choice that can be powered by religion but can also be powered by the people on the ground. At the end of the day, it is the people you meet, the people you hug, the people you eat with and the people you travel with who can become our partners on that path for peace around the world. So I want to thank the Rumi Forum, I want to thank Turkey; I want to thank Fatih University for becoming that bridge between East and West.
I hope that I can be given this (the flags) as a gift, to take it back with me, to have it on my desk at Georgetown University, and everyone that comes to my office sees this. They see that there is a university out there that teaches; a Muslim university that does not teach hate, does not teach extremism, does not teach terrorism; on the contrary, it teaches love, it teaches peace, it teaches inclusivity.
My brothers and my sisters, as you were talking, what came to my mind was that, with love and education we can make it. When we learn about each other, when we reach out and open our hearts and minds to the others, so called the others, then there is a hope in this world. My brothers, sisters, I wrote down that there is no bride that love cannot build, that there is no peace that love cannot nurture. There is no war that love cannot end. There is no extremism that love cannot wipe out. There is no barrier that love cannot tear down. My brothers, sisters, I don’t want to ask as we end this trip and go back home having tearn down walls that have separated us. I don’t want to ask to tear down any walls. I want us rather to turn down those walls into tables, around which we can come for a gathering like this. My brothers and my sisters, Muslims cannot walk the walk on their own. Christians cannot walk the walk on their own. Jews cannot walk the walk on their own. America cannot walk the walk on its own. The West cannot do it on its own, and The East cannot do it on its own. We can do that together as brothers and sisters, or as partners on the path to peace. The last week’s experience brought back the memory , a statement that I used a few times in my speeches: Back to the future! Yes we need to study the back, the past, and the history, but only to build a future. Therefore I hope the bitterness of yesterday does not paralyze the possibilities of the future. There is so much bitterness in history, there is so much blood in yesterday, there is so much hatred in yesterday; but my brothers and sisters, if we could have made this work for seven days, we can make it work for months and years to come