What are the short- and long-term goals of participants in the Gülen Movement?
All the short-term goals of participants involve either improving the quality or extending the range of the services offered by the Movement.
The long-term goals include self-improvement and earning God’s pleasure through such services. Interestingly, some of the short- and long-term goals are the same. For example, participants may aim to improve their own qualifications so as to offer a better service, or to serve a greater number of people. Their goals do not relate only to instrumental objectives, such as seeking social status for themselves, or only for a particular community and network, but are more universal in nature. For example, they may wish to spread feelings of love and tolerance, or teach the capacity for dialogue between people who see themselves as different.
Is solidarity an aim of the Gülen Movement?
Solidarity is not in itself the cause or primary goal of the formation and the collective action of the Movement.
It is a secondary or a tertiary effect which results from the collective services and action. Put simply, the Movement and its participants do not pursue solidarity as a goal of their effort; rather solidarity ensues from their collective effort. The solidarity which participants experience comes from their doing together what they collectively have approved as a good for themselves and wider society. Such solidarity can be considered a ‘natural’ output (as against ‘politically contrived’ or ‘artificial’ input).
There are other organizations which pursue and are committed to pursuing solidarity, have to, and do, hold people focused inward and ‘safe’ from outside influence or interpretation by the wider public. This contrasts with the Gülen Movement, which always seeks common grounds with others.
Do participants enact a variety of political or ideological purposes within or behind the activities or services of the Gülen Movement?
No. The goals of the Gülen Movement are not focused on building internal solidarity by creating a counterculture.
Neither is the Movement an ensemble of networks and institutions within which participants can carry on their own activities (public or private), or pursue their own interests (political or commercial): The Gülen Movement is not a means, substitute or subcontractor for some to establish their ideology, politics or economic interests. It is not a parallel society in which a commune or comrade-friends live in an increasingly radicalized way, closed off from the world and global communities. Instead, the Movement is consistent in norms, values and goals. People who support the Movement’s initiatives but do not identify themselves as “in” it have never complained that its initiatives are based on the ideological or political commitments of the organizers.
All kinds of people feel that they belong in the Gülen Movement, and through the Gülen Movement they find a feeling of belonging to wider society. Their participation starts with short-term projects and objectives but in time turns into long-term commitment and affiliation, and the foundation of future altruistic community services. For participants, the meaning of their participation lies in their action, in their voluntary commitment and vocation.
Related Article: Characterization of the Gülen Movement's goals and their priority