Turkish intellectual and scholar Fethullah Gülen has said a smear campaign – with accompanying propaganda -- is under way against people who exert the utmost efforts to introduce Turkish culture to the rest of the world, calling for common sense in reaction to the makers of the campaign and the propaganda.
“We can resort to self defense in the face of ruthless smear campaigns, accusations and attacks or make explanations or refutations against them. If there are people who insist on wrongdoing, then we can sue them for damages. These are our legal rights. But we will never act in a violent manner as they do. We will not show them our fists as they do to us. Even if they threaten to slap us, we will not respond to them with slaps,” Gülen said on Monday in his latest speech broadcast on website Herkul.org.
Gülen's remarks came in clear response to a recent smear campaign against the Gülen movement and its followers. The Gülen movement is a group of volunteers engaged in interfaith and intercultural dialogue inspired by the ideas of Gülen, whose teachings promote mutual understanding and tolerance between cultures. Now residing in the US, Gülen has pioneered educational activities in a number of countries, along with efforts to promote intercultural and interfaith activities around the world.
According to Gülen, there are some circles that wish to defame the Gülen movement around the globe. “They cause mischief in some place and spread it to the entire world thanks to the Internet and television.” However, he said his movement will never resort to unlawful or violent methods when responding to the bad deeds of those people. “The ones who show you their fists are not people of mind, soul or heart. They put humanitarian values under pressure and try to suppress those values. As a necessity of their character, such people may resort to hatred, aggression or using their fists. But you [followers of the Gülen movement] will display your own character, and you will never do the same [acts of violence] to them. … Since we are doing everything in a human-centric manner, then we have to become ‘handless’ to whom hits us and ‘tongueless’ to whom swears at us as Yunus [Emre, a great mystical Turkish poet] said. Even though others do not treat us in a humanitarian manner, we will never engage in efforts to retaliate against them. We will not even think of responding to their bad deeds with other bad deeds. We will fulfill the requirements of being a Muslim,” he added.
Commenting on the requirements of being a Muslim, Gülen said “A real Muslim forgets all good things he did for people. When you try to remind him, he will not remember. But he remembers about all the bad things [he did to other people] even if it was 70 years ago. He repents to God as if he committed a murder any time he remembers them [bad things done to other people.] This is a real Muslim.”
Additionally, Gülen said the movement became the target of attacks when it grew bigger and more popular. “They are fulfilling what their character requires them to do. They are attacking violently. There were fewer attacks in the past. It was not the center of much interest then. Thus, it was not much envied. … But one day came, and they [opponents of the Gülen movement] started to take the issue more seriously. They entrusted the issue [attacks against the movement] to international [intelligence] services.”
The scholar also said followers or members of the movement should be very careful with regard to plans and attempts of opponents of the movement to “throw mud at the movement.” “These people [members of the Gülen movement] are serving in all corners of the world. If some people intend to throw mud at the movement, we should not allow them or provide them with expected means. A tiny mark on one of us may be attributed to the entire movement. No individual [member of the movement] should carry marks. He may lose his arm, head or life, if necessary, but he should avoid any mark on himself. We need to pay extra attention,” he stated.
In addition, Gülen said he has been subjected to smear campaigns and insults for the past 40 years, but he did not even complain to God about bad deeds or mistakes of wrongdoers. He said he prayed to God to make those people return from their wrong deeds and mistakes. “This is our philosophy. Even if it seems hard to us and even if we are subjected to injustice, we should think in this way. I have been rolled over [subjected to injustice] after every coup d’état since 1960. It was what happened to me after the March 12  and Sept. 12  coups d’état. I am ready to give my life 50 times to a handful of soil of my country. I am yearning for my country here, but I have never asked God to send people who did all this to me to hell. I always prayed for them, asking him to show them his mercy.”
Gülen added that if people treat one another with good feelings, then goodness will dominate the world. “I suppose that we need alliance and cooperation more than at any other time these days when we are all in bits due to secession and disaccord.”