October 9, 2014

Gülen's message on ISIL in UK-based Guardian newspaper

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen's message on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) appeared on Wednesday in the UK-based Guardian newspaper.

In the message, Gülen says the actions of ISIL are a “disgrace to the faith they proclaim and crimes against humanity.”

The message appeared as an advertisement paid for by the Intercultural Dialogue Platform in Brussels, which undertakes research and analysis on Gülen and the movement he inspires known as Hizmet. Gülen's message on ISIL originally appeared on the Alliance for Shared Values (AFSV) website dated Aug. 22. The message was then published by a number of US-based newspapers including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Gülen's message in the Guardian is titled “ISIS Cruelty Deserves Our Strongest Condemnation.” Stating that religion provides a foundation upon which to establish peace, human rights, freedoms and the rule of law, Gülen emphasizes that “any interpretations to the contrary, including the abuse of religion to fuel conflicts, are simply wrong and deceitful.”

Referring to other terrorist organizations that claim to act in the name of Islam, Gülen says ISIL is not the first group to “use religious rhetoric to mask its cruelty” and mentions al-Qaeda and Boko Haram, which have in common “a totalitarian mentality that denies human beings their dignity.”

Gülen, who is known for inspiring the grass-roots Hizmet movement focusing on education and dialogue for peaceful relations and greater understanding between people and communities, reiterated the incompatibility of Islam and violence. “Any form of violence against innocent civilians or persecution of minorities contradicts the principles of the Quran and the tradition of our Prophet (peace be upon him),” his message stated.

According to Gülen, ISIL members are either completely ignorant about the faith they proclaim, or their actions are designed to serve individual interests or those of their political masters. Extending his condolences to the families of victims of ISIL terrorism, Gülen mentions the names of Alan Henning, James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines and Herve Gourdel, who were brutally murdered by ISIL recently. “May God give them strength, patience and perseverance, and [may he] alleviate their suffering,” prays Gülen on behalf of their families. Gülen ends his message by praying for the immediate and safe release of all hostages held by ISIL and urges everyone to join with him in these prayers and for mutual respect and peace.

Published on Today's Zaman, 08 October 2014, Wednesday