March 3, 2015

Mr. Gülen's thoughts about political representation of Islam and democracy

What do you think about Mr. Gülen's thoughts about political representation of Islam and democracy?

Saritoprak: In 2005 I had an interview with Mr. Gülen, the text of which was published in “The Muslim World,” and what I understand from Mr. Gülen is that humanity has not yet found a better system than democracy and that Islam enriches democracy rather than rejects it. As Mr. Gülen mentioned in my interview with him: “The spirit of Islam … promotes the rule of law and openly rejects oppression against any segment of society. This spirit also promotes actions for the betterment of society in accordance with the view of the majority.” Still today Mr. Gülen strongly supports democracy over tyranny and despotism even if this threatens him and the movement he symbolizes. I would agree that democracy is indeed highly compatible with Islam and vice versa. Muslims then should embrace democracy and work to further the space that it gives them to grow and nurture their relationship with God. During the debates on constitutionalism in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, Said Nursi was asked if the sultanate could be reestablished. He emphatically responded, “The old system is impossible. Either the new system or annihilation.”

Excerpt from the interview with Prof. Saritoprak published on Today's Zaman, 02 March 2015, Monday