‘Biggest obstacle of Muslim world: disconnect between thought and action’

Mohammed Babaammi (PHOTO SUNDAY’S ZAMAN)

March 25, 2012, Sunday/ 13:13:00

An Algerian author, Professor Mohammed Babaammi, said the biggest problem that the Muslim world faces in today’s world is that there are significant mismatches between the thoughts and actions of Muslims.

“Muslims do not act upon their thoughts,” says the Algerian professor.

Speaking to Sunday’s Zaman at a visit to Zaman headquarters in İstanbul, Babaammi expressed his views on the problems of the Muslim world and the Arab Spring as well as Arab views of Turkey.

Babaammi said Arab nations know Ottomans and Turkey from such TV series as “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century) -- a series about Süleyman the Magnificent, the famous Ottoman sultan, known in Turkey as Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (Süleyman the Lawmaker) -- which drew over 90 percent of the complaints on Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) in the week it was first aired and still continues to attract criticism for the way the series depicts the empire and the life of the sultan. Babaammi says disinformation that Arab nations have about Turkey has increased with these TV series.

Babaammi criticizes the brutality that the Muslim world faced in the Arab Spring – which was sparked by events in Tunisia and spread to the other countries which included Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria and Jordan, after a Tunisian man set himself on fire to protest the former Tunisian regime -- by stating that the uprisings in these countries are an outcome of those countries’ leaders acting contrary to conscience and logic.

He added that the major problem in the Muslim world is that there is a lack of connection between the heart and the mind, and between thought and conscience. “So far I have seen this connection only in Fethullah Gülen [a respected Turkish intellectual and scholar],” Babaammi said. According to the Algerian professor, the transformation of Gülen’s ideas into reality was the outcome of the successful connection between the heart and the mind, and he calls this the “Gülen model.” “Gülen is not someone who separated mind and action, he has brought these two aspects together and acted upon this,” he said. “This is what makes this movement different from other Islamic organizations.”

Babaammi says if the Arab world embraces the Gülen model, it will be able to find a cure the problems it has had for centuries. “In fact I believe that the Arab world would embrace such model as it is coming from people who share the same belief and geography with Arabs,” he said.

The Algerian professor says that both the Western and Muslim worlds’ systems are problematic. He says that in the West, humanitarian values are mainly far from friendship and brotherhood and solely based on principles. On the other hand, the Muslim world’s humanitarian values are based on brotherhood and loyalty but very far from discipline and based on loose principles. “In The Gülen model, we see that the positive sides of west and East work perfectly in harmony. There are both principles and discipline, and also brotherhood and loyalty, too. This is what distinguishes the Gülen movement from others.”

According to Babaammi, the Arab world is currently going through an era of finding an appropriate system for their countries after their regimes either collapsed or started reforms. He added that the thing they call a “Spring” is in fact a fire that burns the Arab nations.

“Gülen has been saying for many years that he is expecting to see a golden nation which will strive to change the corrupted system of Muslim countries. In fact he has built his system around this idea. However, the revolution that Gülen expected is not about holding demonstrations on the street but in peace with talks, according to Babaammi.

The Algerian professor has asked Zaman daily management to publish a newspaper in Arabic, too, to spread the message of Gülen, adding that he learned about Gülen through 13 of Gülen’s books that have been translated from Turkish to English.

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