Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has strongly criticized abusive language and remarks within pro-government circles insulting members of the Hizmet movement, saying this kind of behavior is hypocritical and is being employed to cover up their own sins.
In his latest weekly speech, broadcast on the website Herkul.org, Gülen said: “There are more than 400 abusive words used since last year [by the government circles] which were not even used by Lenin and Hitler against their opponents.” Gülen said their thoughts are on abusive language all the time therefore their words then articulate their feelings.
Gülen did not directly mention the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's name, but it was obvious that he was responding to the remarks by Erdoğan and AK Party circles against him and the Hizmet movement. Since last year, Erdoğan has continuously accused the Hizmet movement, inspired by the views of Gülen, of being behind a corruption probe that involves sons of AK Party Cabinet ministers, businesspeople and the chief of the state bank as being part of a foreign plot against the AK Party government.
Talking to his friends after a prayer, Gülen said a person, considering their position in the eyes of the public, has to be cautious about the words they use as it may drag them into heresy or out of religion. “If a person from a cemaat [community] says ‘dog,' it may pardonable, but if a leader of a community such as an imam of a mosque uses the same words, it might be necessary to take him out of the mosque,” Gülen said.
Gülen recalled that the Prophet Muhammed never reacted to those who harmed him. “If he is the example for Muslims, whatever is contrary to that example is chaos,” Gülen added. Gülen said those who commit this mistae become unbalanced and impertinent creatures.
Referring to the accusations of Erdoğan against Turkish schools abroad, Gülen called these words cowardly, illogical and inhuman behaviors. Erdoğan warned African countries against a “threat” from “dangerous structures that look like nongovernmental organizations or educational volunteers,” referring to the volunteers of the Gülen movement, saying during his visit to Africa at the end of November this year that his administration is ready to cooperate with African governments against such structures.
According to Gülen these Turkish schools, also known as Hizmet schools, have been opened around the world over the past several years, including in many countries in Africa, and are God's gift to and the property of the people. “It was attacked in connection to fundamentalism previously, today with 'parallel' paranoia,” he said in relation to accusations against the schools.
The “parallel structure” is a term invented by Erdoğan to refer to followers of the Hizmet movement, particularly followers within the state bureaucracy.
Published on Today's Zaman, 22 December 2014, Monday