Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who, along with the faith-based Hizmet movement, has been subjected to numerous attacks from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said the movement will continue to perform its mission regardless of circumstances.
The introduction video of Gülen's latest speech titled, “Düşen Maskeler ve Karakuşî Kararları” (“Fallen Masks and Nonsense, Unlawful Rulings”) was broadcast on Sunday on the Herkul.org website.
In his speech, Gülen tells Hizmet followers that if they are insulted and assaulted by people who only think about their personal interests, they should see it as admiration from God, and they are being tested by those people they once saw as close to them.
Referring to a hadith of Prophet Muhammad, the Islamic scholar said that the difficulty of tests one is subjected to increases in proportion with that person's depth of religion and strength.
Hizmet and Gülen have been the direct targets of Prime Minister Erdoğan ever since a corruption probe in which some senior government members have been implicated became public on Dec. 17. Erdoğan, who refers to Hizmet as a “parallel state” or “structure,” accuses the movement of being behind the corruption operation.
Erdoğan's government has taken action to ensure the closure of schools opened by Hizmet followers in many countries around the world. Hizmet-affiliated institutions and schools in Turkey are also under intense pressure from the government.
Gülen said the latest developments have revealed how people who used to appreciate the activities of Hizmet have turned their backs on the movement in return for some financial benefits, hence giving the opportunity for Hizmet to see the real faces of those people.
The Islamic scholar has denied the government's claims that he or Hizmet have tried to establish a parallel state.
“There is no such thing as a parallel state, and I said may God damn whoever is parallel. You have no worries, do you? You have brought your country, nation, government worldwide prestige. You have not been a parallel [structure],” Gülen said.
Complaining about efforts to close Hizmet-affiliated schools abroad, he said the government asked Russia eight times within a period of two months to close Hizmet schools there.
“The people of Anatolia have opened schools in 160 countries of every color and pattern. They are in a way acting like foreign missions. They introduce our country [to others]. Some people come up and ask for the closure of these schools… There is such hatred, enmity and feeling of revenge that 20 different ways are employed with the evilest of intentions to deter these people [Hizmet followers] who follow the path of the Prophet [Muhammad] from their mission,” he said.
Gülen told followers of the Hizmet movement that they should not be challenged by such attempts, adding that the followers will even do ironworking, polish shoes or knit socks in order to earn money to ensure that Hizmet continues to promote its mission.
The Hizmet movement promotes interfaith dialogue and the resolution of problems through peaceful means throughout the world.
Published on Sunday's Zaman, 10 August 2014, Sunday