December 24, 2014

Gülen says arms, swords have no place in Hizmet’s philosophy

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has stressed that the idea of pursuing an armed struggle has never had a place in the philosophy of the Hizmet movement.

In a speech broadcast on the website on Wednesday, Gülen, who is known for inspiring the grassroots Hizmet movement, elaborated on the motives and the fundamental values of the Hizmet movement in the wake of a Turkish court ruling that seeks his arrest on charges of leading an “armed organization.”

“In your [Hizmet followers'] philosophy of Hizmet, guns, rifles, swords and shields have no place. You buried them in your mental graveyard a long time ago. That's why you have been highly sensitive of an armed movement and you warned society against this,” he said, addressing his followers.

Gülen advised members of the movement to serve humanity until their last breath. Stating that they should begin their journey to the next world while serving their purpose of reminding people of their own value and working for universal human values, he said the “diamond principles of the Qur'an” should guide them in these efforts.

Last week, the 1st İstanbul Penal Court of Peace issued an arrest warrant for Gülen, which is seen as a step towards an Interpol red notice and ultimately extradition from the US. The court agreed to issue the warrant for Gülen, but failed to provide any evidence of Gülen's alleged leadership of an armed terrorist group.

The arrest warrant was part of an operation launched on allegations of defaming a deadly al-Qaeda-affiliated group known as Tahşiyeciler (Annotators).

The prosecutor in charge of the operation claimed that journalists, through print coverage and broadcast media about police raids conducted on this group in 2010, had defamed the suspects, including the leader of Tahşiyeciler, Mehmet Doğan, who openly called for an armed struggle to take over the government in Turkey.

Gülen was allegedly involved in the investigation because he criticized the Tahşiyeciler group in a speech posted on on April 6, 2009. In the broadcast Gülen warned about Tahşiyeciler, saying that it pretends to be a religious group.

Gülen, who has been living in the US since 1999, has been a vocal critic of terrorism and violence committed in the name of Islam for decades. He was very critical of al-Qaeda's terrorism campaign and said, "One of the people in the world I hate the most is [Osama] bin Laden, because he has spoiled the bright appearance of Islam.” More recently he has also harshly criticized the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), denouncing it as a terrorist group that has nothing to do with Islam. He also slammed Tahşiyeciler, which advocates violence, killing and bombings to overthrow the government, in the 2009 speech.

Published on Today's Zaman, 24 December 2014, Wednesday