January 3, 2016

French editor says Gülen’s messages on anti-terrorism revolutionary

A French editor-in-chief has praised the anti-terrorism messages in an article written by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and published by a prestigious French daily last month, describing them as revolutionary and one of the "signs of hope" in 2015, which he said was marked by terror and fear.

Fethullah Gulen's op-ed in Le Monde

Jean-Pierre Denis, editor-in-chief of French weekly magazine La Vie, dedicated his editorial in the latest issue of the magazine to examining Gülen's messages in an article he wrote for the French daily Le Monde on Dec. 17.

In the article, which was titled "Muslims, we have to critically review our understanding of Islam," Gülen expresses his deep sadness and revulsion in the face of the attacks perpetrated by terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

"We Muslims have a special responsibility to not only join hands with fellow human beings to save our world from the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, but also to help repair the tarnished image of our faith. … We must categorically condemn the ideology propagated by terrorists and instead promote a pluralistic mindset with clarity and confidence," he wrote.

Paris was the scene of multiple attacks by ISIL in November, which claimed the lives of more than 120 people and which sent waves of horror across Europe.

In his article Denis said the piece written by Gülen in Le Monde is revolutionary. He said while many intellectuals call for a more determined fight against supporters of extremism, their efforts remain mostly isolated or made by people who don't find support in their societies.

Yet, he said the case of Gülen is different.

"This Turkish citizen who lives in exile in the US was a person who used to give inspiration to [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan before he became his biggest opponent. Even this shows his political and religious weight," he said.

Erdoğan launched a war against Gülen and the faith-based Gülen movement he inspired after senior members of then-Prime Minister Erdoğan's government were implicated in a graft probe that went public in December 2013. Erdoğan accused the movement of masterminding the probe to overthrow his government despite any evidence to this effect.

Denis also said Gülen puts greater responsibility on the shoulders of Muslims to eliminate terrorism and he rejects the approach that blames the Christian West for all the unfavorable developments in the world.

Noting that Gülen is fighting against a culture of hatred courageously and openly, Denis said: "I voluntarily stand behind this voice by making long quotations for the last editorial of this year. 2015 has not only been a year of those who spread unhappiness and desperation but it has also been a year of people like this [Gülen] who spread hope."

Published on Sunday's Zaman, 3 January 2016, Sunday