January 17, 2015

Gülen calls for respect for the sacred, denounces terrorism

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has called on everyone to respect sacred values of each other while at the same time strongly condemning resorting to violence terrorism in so-called attempts protect these sacred values.

Gülen has shared his views on the recent violence in Paris that began with a terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo which left 12 people dead in his latest speech broadcast on herkul.org website on Saturday. In the speech titled “Respect for the sacred, condemnation to terrorism,” Gülen said everyone is free to believe in God or not but insulting others' sacred values cannot be explained with humanistic values.

Referrining to Charlie Hebdo's cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad, Gülen said these cartoons were disrespectful to the Prophet who is believed, loved and respected by 1.5 billion people in the world. However, he said, this is just one side of the coin.

“On the other side of the issue, there is a certain way of responding to such negative things. You cannot go and do something to those who showed disrespect for the sacred in order not to cause a vicious cycle. Why aren't you acting with good sense, show your reaction in a way that does not disturb anyone and teach a lesson of humanity?” Gülen asked.

The Islamic scholar, who is well-known for his inspirational speeches on interfaith dialogue, has always voiced a staunch opposition to radical groups committing terrorism.

In an earlier statement, Gülen condemned the attack on Charlie Hebdo, and a series of shootings in Paris suburbs earlier this month that left 17 dead, and extended condolences to the families of the victims.He said these revolting acts of terrorism are deplorable and that they serve no purpose but to bring about "destruction, sorrow and grief."

"I reiterate my condemnation of all forms of terror regardless of its perpetrators or their stated purposes," said the statement, published on behalf of Gülen by the New York-based Alliance for Shared Values.

The Islamic scholar said he shares his deep condolences with the victims' families, loved ones and the people of France.

A total of 12 people were killed when two Islamist militants burst into Charlie Hebdo's weekly editorial meeting on Jan. 7, opening fire in an act of revenge for the paper's past publication of satirical images of Prophet Muhammad.

Yemen's al-Qaeda branch last Wednesday claimed responsibility for the Paris attack. Al-Qaeda had in the past threatened Charlie Hebdo and cartoonists who depicted Islam's prophet. Editor Stephane Charbonnier, one of those killed during the attack, was on a hit list published in a 2013 edition of Inspire, the English-language publication issued by AQAP.

Published on Today's Zaman, 17 January 2015, Saturday