Dr. Guner

As Interviewed by Peter Gregory, 3/25/2019

Dr. Guner: In His Own Words

Me: Tell me about Fethullah Gulen and the Gulen movement. What is your relationship with them?

Guner: Oh, wow. You have studied this!

Me: I had to do an annotated bibliography.

Guner: Okay. So, uh, Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish Muslim scholar who has been in the US for about twenty years. He lives in Pennsylvania, and he started kinda this movement which is named after him. It's called the Gulen movement or the Ismat movement which means service in Turkish, service movement. He started it back in the sixties and seventies and he had kind of two focuses. One was education and the other one was dialogue so he would kinda ask people to educate their kids and in Turkey we had this problem where people would either educate their kids in secular schools and most of those people who ended up in secular schools they would- they wouldn't want to have anything to do with religion whatsoever. And then you have religious schools where people would be educated kinda really, I mean the- they were really just underground schools. I mean you're not supposed to run religious schools in Turkey because Turkey is secular, so they would educate- these kids would be educated, or indoctrinated with all kinds of crazy ideas about Islam, uhh... So, Gulen was kinda promoting, uh, that we need people who have both. They should have both secular education, meaning what you learn at school here: Math, science, uh, language arts. But then also... then also they should also have more character education and moral education. And that part of his teachings picked up quickly in turkey. Lots of people came together, put their money together, a- and started schools that were really good, high-quality schools.