"The recent yellow journalism example of Der Spiegel stirred some controversy. As an expert on Gulen Movement, I humbly think that the Gulen (Hizmet) Movement is the victim of biased journalists. Mahmut Cebi has recently written a nice behind-the-scenes article on that bad journalism."
I once listened to Mehmet Firinci, a student of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, recount the following story: “Bediuzzaman was about 75 years old when a group came to visit him. They were speaking of retaliating with violence against all the oppression they were facing. Bediuzzaman was listening to them while he was sitting on the ground. He became very outraged by what he heard, and all of a sudden he jumped as high as one meter off the ground despite his old age. He then stood up and pushed them away, saying “No to violence, no to violence.” In a similar vein, Mr. Fethullah Gülen made his position very clear against all kinds of violence and terror, be it from the al-Qaeda or PKK. His famous motto “A Muslim cannot be a terrorist, a terrorist cannot be a Muslim” has been ingrained firmly in the minds of many.
Maximilian Popp presents Gülen as a “godfather” and the Hizmet movement as a mafia organization in “Der Pate,” the story he covered for Der Spiegel. He notes in his report that “alcohol and visits by women” are prohibited in the so-called “houses of light” which he considers as the “foundation” of this movement.
The report also mentions Ilhan Cihaner, a suspect in the ongoing Ergenekon case. One of the charges against Cihaner, who is a prosecutor, is that he conspired to place firearms in the dormitories resided by Gülen supporters. This means that the Hizmet movement has nothing to do with firearms.
An interviewee in this report with the fictitious name of “Serkan Öz” speaks of these houses of light as “evocative of the frugality and rigidity of a monastery”, which shows that there is no luxury associated with these people. Mr. Gülen repeatedly warns people to keep away from all kinds of narcotics and he voices his opinion that even smoking is haram, religiously forbidden.
This is somewhat a weird situation: the mafia portrayed in Der Spiegel is such an interesting mafia that they oppose violence, bearing arms, alcohol, narcotics, and abuse of women (and men of course) as a commodity. They prefer a lifestyle away from luxury and reject extravagance. The only method of education they apply for this is reading books and engaging in dialogue with others. The books that they follow are publications that are available in any respectable bookstore you may visit, and they are not banned or illegal.
Would you not open your doors and welcome such a “mafia” that does not steal, beat, curse, kill, and which is not involved in any illegal activity?
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