I could not resist the temptation to make fun of the poor, “imprisoned” young German-Turk, whose fictitious name is Serkan Öz, to whom Der Spiegel has spoken. He does not want to give his real name saying that he is fearful of the Hizmet movement. So, we can never know if such a person exists or if he is a figment of the imagination. Anyway, let us assume that such a person exists and talk about his claims.
Serkan Öz claims that he lived in one of the student houses that are affiliated with the Hizmet movement. He says that he moved to the house because, “He had been attracted by [Fetullah] Gülen’s sermons, which he saw on the Internet, because he felt that they reconciled Islamic piety with Western modernity.” He also adds that, “Both the furnishings and everyday life in the residence,” says Öz, were “more evocative of the frugality and rigidity of a monastery than the relaxed atmosphere of a student dormitory.”
We need to ask what he was expecting to find in such a house after he listened to Gülen’s sermons, which as Öz says, are on Islamic piety. Had he not gone and checked the house first before deciding to move in? Or, did the movement people show him a luxurious villa with all sorts of extravagance, but then switched it with a student house after Öz decided to move in? Mr. Öz also says that “there were only men living in his house, and both alcohol and visits by women were prohibited.” This is the funniest part of his story. He seems to be, metaphorically speaking, intoxicated by Gülen’s sermons and confuses the Quran’s description of Heaven with poor student houses. It is true that in Heaven, God will grant its residents rightful spouses and will have plenty of opportunity to drink all sorts of beverages, but in order to get these rewards one needs to be pious in this world. It seems that Mr. Öz wanted to get some sort of advance payment in kind in those student houses. Obviously, he got Gülen’s ideas wrong. In his sermons Gülen says that God has already given us many advance payments as gifts in life, such as existence, life, being human, health, food, water, air and so on. That is why Gülen says that we need to worship God and being pious is a very good way of worshipping Him. In these student houses, students help each other to follow such lifestyles on a voluntary basis. They move in and out voluntarily. The pious nature of the houses is not a secret. They move in to protect themselves against illegitimate carnal desires. As practicing Muslims, they abstain from sexual relationships until they get married and they do not drink alcohol since the Quran explicitly prohibits it. Gülen’s sermons are full of this basic knowledge about Islamic piety. I wonder whose audio recordings Mr. Öz listened to before moving to the house? Is he sure that they were not Hassan Sabbah’s (a Muslim missionary who converted a large group of Christians in the 11th century) sermons!?
While staying in these houses, I am sure that Mr. Öz saw some businessmen who were providing scholarships to poorer students. They give these scholarships as Islamic charity, zakat or sadaqah. Was Mr. Öz expecting that these pious Muslim men would fund these students with their zakat so that they could afford to treat their girlfriends and buy alcohol? Silly men, why don’t they or Kimse Yok Mu organize campaigns such as, “If you want to buy Serkan Öz a glass of wine, write WINE and send as an SMS to 5344”?
He also ridiculously claims that “we were guarded as if we were in prison.” I am sure that he was allowed to go to his university, right? Why did not he escape from this prison as soon as possible? He says that he stayed in this house for years. Was he either too dumb to understand that he was actually staying in a prison without girlfriends and alcohol or was he actually masochistically enjoying this life in prison? Why didn’t Der Spiegel do its journalistic work and ask him these simple questions? Mr. Öz claims that because he left Hizmet, he cannot find a job. Well, we have heard the ridiculous claim that the Turkish police force is dominated by Hizmet, but even in Turkey, Mr. Öz could find a job in the military, gendarmerie, judiciary, the Doğan Media Group and so on. But wait a minute! We are talking about a German-Turk, who lives in Germany. It seems that Mercedes, Bosch, Siemens, Bayer, Bild and even Der Spiegel are fully controlled by Hizmet, so Mr. Öz cannot find a job in Germany either because of Hizmet.
Like Mr. Öz, Hizmet too, must be also masochistically enjoying publishing ridiculous fabricated pieces that are character assassinations of itself in its own journal -- Der Spiegel!