The following section has the words and thoughts of important American citizens and residents who have a reverence and respect for the works and activities of Fethullah Gulen and those that have been inspired by his ideas. They are un-edited and in full replicated here.
I am a Christian clergyman in the Lutheran tradition who has come to appreciate the efforts of the Rumi Forum to promote understanding between the religions of the world. My wife and I traveled to Turkey in 2007 under Rumi auspices and were impressed to see their significant contributions to Turkish society, particularly in the areas of medicine, education, and communications. The character of their religious devotion and that of their founder, Fethullah Gulen, is irenic and open to people of all faiths. The volunteer movement set in motion by Mr. Fethullah Gulen is truly impressive, contributing to a better Turkish society and having ramifications that stretch well beyond that country. I regret the reactions of some commentators in the U.S. who impugn the motives of the Gulen movement. They only contribute to the fear and misunderstanding that lead people to stereotype Muslims, failing to see the honest efforts that many of them are making today in creating a better world.
Paul Jersild, Th.D.
My experience with the life and teachings of Fethullah Gulen has come through my connections with the Interfaith Dialogue Organization (IDO) at the University of Kentucky and the Rumi Forum in Washington.
In the summer of 2009 I visited Turkey as a guest of Rumi Forum. That trip cemented for me some conclusions I had come to as I had read about and read the words of Fethullah Gulen. For many years my own spiritual practice has been informed by the life and witness of the the great twentieth century Catholic leader, Thomas Merton. Merton was a Cistercian monk who spent most of his adult life at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, was a pioneer and major leader in three areas of religious practice.
Terence C Taylor, Executive Director for Interfaith Paths to Peace in Louisville, Kentucky
Knowing very little about Turkey or the Gulen Movement, I eagerly accepted an invitation by the Rumi Forum to travel to Turkey in May, 2008. Eradicating illiteracy is one way of peace building and this seems to be at the heart of much of what I learned about the Gulen movement. The things I saw and did while in Turkey put “flesh” on previously held ideas while the people I met put “heart and soul” into the experience. When all is said and done, it is the richness of relationships that we are able to develop that heal the world.
Geri Jones, Catholic Campus Minister Old Dominion University
I have read several of Mr. Fethullah Gulen‘s books, and there is no way to mistake his message of religious reconciliation, mutual tolerance, and respect for all faiths. His charge to all nations and faith communities to reach out to each other in love is consistent, has never wavered, and represents a moderate Islam of peace, not violence. His words, to me, are a Turkish equivalent to the words of our country’s Martin Luther King. In visiting Turkey, the families of the Gulen movement that I encountered echoed every aspect of his message in their commitment to peace, their modern education of the young to international standards of excellence, and their openness to dialogue with world communities and cultures. It is a sadly misguided act to suggest that the Gulen community is in any way connected to a “slide into Islamism.”
Laura G Forman, Professor in Psychiatry, Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Eastern Virginia Medical School
To view the work inspired by Gulen is to appreciate the charity of the one God of all faiths.
My impression from visiting Turkey is that there is no more effective, humane and religious movement in the world than the one inspired by Fethullah Gulen. It’s a true blessing, especially for young boys and girls.
Roy Meachum, Former Correspondent, Washington Post
What profoundly impresses me is Fethullah Gulen‘s visionary leadership, and unswerving dedication to the cause of interfaith dialogue as a catalyst for tolerance, understanding, and respect between the world’s religions.
Gerald Krell,President,Auteur Productions, Ltd.
I first learned of Fethulah Gulen in 2004 when an interfaith book group that I coordinated in Boston discussed his book, Toward a Global Civilization of Love and Tolerance. It was a wonderful experience for a group of Jewish, Christian and Muslim women to discover the wisdom of this Sufi cleric and the movement of his followers that promotes interfaith and intercultural dialogue. I am now coordinating interfaith programs in Washington, DC, and have had the opportunity to travel to Turkey and visit the wonderful schools -so called “Gulen Schools“-, hospitals and centers for dialogue that the Gulen Movement supports. In a time when Islam is misunderstood through false information supplied in public media, I recommend that non-Muslims read some of Gulen’s books and lectures and discover the wisdom, love and non-violence of Sufi Islam.
The Rev. Dr. Carol M. Flett,Washington National Cathedral, Interfaith Programs Coordinator
I am grateful that a meeting place exists that encourages a positive atmosphere for the discussion of the nexus of religion and politics (amongst other issues). In the years following 9/11 this endeavor has been vital; the alternative, a “clash of cultures,” would be too frightening to truly comprehend and the only remedies seem to be a deeper “knowing of the other,” a cultivation of “friendliness” and a frank investigation of the causes of both war & peace: political, economic, religious, and social.
I’m glad that the work of Mr. Gulen has helped to encourage these possibilities. If we are able to deeply listen, the dialogue of heart and mind can take place and opportunities for individual & intercultural growth can exist as possible alternatives to violence. May we progress in developing the vital qualities of wisdom & understanding.