January 23, 2013

Director of Fethullah Gulen Chair Introduces Fethullah Gulen, Discusses Cooperation with UMM

The relation between Turkey and Muhammadiyah had been established for a long time. Moreover, the relation between the Embassy of Turkey in Jakarta and the General Chairman of PP Muhammadiyah Din Syamsudin was very close. It made the Director of Fethullah Gulen Chair Dr Ali Unsal curious to look directly one of Muhammadiyah Universities that he often heard from Din.

His curiosity was fulfilled when Unsal visited University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM), Thursday (1/10). Together with his three staff, Unsal held a discussion with the Head of International Relation Office (IRO) UMM Abdul Haris and some lecturers of FAI.

Fethullah Gulen Chair Director Ali Unsal
Director of Fethullah Gulen Chair, Dr Ali Unsal with
the Head of International Relations Office (IRO) of UMM Abdul Haris

“I have heard UMM from Din for a long time and this time I am really impressed with it. The campus is very large and gorgeous," praised Unsal before starting to introduce Fethullah Gulen, a changes figure in Turkey who influenced the Islamic matters of his society.

Gulen, said Unsal, was a figure from Turkey who had a great role in Islamic world. In Turkey which is known as secular country, Gulen succeeded to change the view on Islamic education, honesty, simplicity, and justice.

Gulen paid a great attention to the Islamic generation in the future. "He always reminds us to keep the future generation," said Unsal. Therefore, Unsal wanted to introduce him as world Islamic figure.

On the other hand, lecturer of FAI Nur Hakim commented, the character of Gulen was similar to the role of KH Ahmad Dahlan in organizing Muhammadiyah. Toward social organization, Dahlan succeeded to change traditional society to think forward and always refer to Quran and sunnah. “Perhaps, the asceticism and philanthropy of Gulen are similar with Kyai Dahlan in Muhammadiyah,” said Hakim.

Beside introducing Gulen, Unsal also planned to cooperate with UMM. His party got prepared to assist UMM if they have an opportunity to go to Turkey.

One of the participants, who had got a scholarship of lecturer exchange in Turkey, Nasrullah stated his experiences of meeting the Director of PASIAD in Istanbul who also offered a cooperation with him. PASIAD was the largest NGOs in Turkey which engaged in the social field and had a good relation with Indonesia. Through Gulen Chair, Unsal had a role in PASIAD so it was expected that it could strengthen the relation between Turkey and UMM.

“I think it will be interesting if Turkey can help to provide books, language tutors, or lecturer and student exchange programs as well as UMM had, that is American Corner and Iran Corner," said Nasrullah.

Unsal stated that his party was ready if UMM planned to establish Turkey Corner as well as Iran and American Corners. However, to realize it, it needed a well preparation and time more than one semester. "The thing that we can do immediately is we will send books in English and Arabic about Islamic sciences and others which produced by the experts from Turkey," said Unsal.

Islamic books and social politic books in Turkey were so many. Unsal said, it was the tradition inherited by dynasty of Usmani in the form of manuscripts which stored properly in some palaces in Turkey. "We have millions ancient manuscripts there. All of them are the Islamic thoughts of its era that can be learnt here," stated Unsal.

Haris expected that the relation between Turkey and Indonesia was getting closer. "Turkey cannot be separated from the development of Islam. Hopefully, this event can be the first step of the cooperation between UMM and Turkey in order to enrich the teaching on Islam," Haris hoped while closing the discussion.

Published on University of Muhammadiyah Malang, 11 January 2013, Friday

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