Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has urged followers of the Hizmet movement to insist on the “right and logical” and defend prep schools, which the Turkish government has said it will shut down despite tremendous public outrage.
In a speech broadcast by herkul.org, a website that usually publishes his speeches, Gülen said not insisting on what is “right” in some way means leaning toward “what is wrong,” by implication prodding the members of the Hizmet movement to stand strong against the closure of prep schools. He did not directly mention the prep schools, but it was obvious that he was referring to the education facilities that are Turkey's most effective institutions in closing the widening gulf between failing public education in secondary and high schools and universities.
“Let's destroy these schools. They are vanity! … Let's stop this initiative. They are futile," Gülen said, imitating those who are defaming the educational institutions. “God will hold you accountable. They [the schools] are not yours; they are entrusted to you for safekeeping,” Gülen said. The remarks were a repetition of earlier statements in which he has frequently argued that it is wrong to associate the schools, which are now established in over 160 countries, with the Hizmet movement and that they are the property of the entire Turkish nation. He was referring to the fact that the nation has entrusted these educational institutions to the Hizmet movement to run and for safekeeping.
He urged the Hizmet members not to be “indifferent” to a plan to shut them down. “You will defend this [initiative]; you will absolutely defend this but without compromising your [established] method [of being gentle],” he added.
Gülen recalled that “winds are blowing opposite [the Hizmet movement] today" and that this may cause some to go “adrift” in certain feelings, thoughts and statements.
“Considering all these things, we need to stand determined against going adrift,” Gülen stressed.
Gülen also recalled accusations against members of Hizmet such as “realizing some joint projects with the children of Uncle Sam, Ham, Tam.” He was referring to allegations that Hizmet is working with certain countries. He said if it were necessary to approach the issue in a simple form and if he was 10-15 years old, he would say “may God curse them thousands of times who are part of such activities [working with other countries].”
He prodded members of the Hizmet movement not to go astray from the line of defending what is right and always preserve the accepted method of being civilized. He cited a famous saying of late Turkish Islamic scholar Said Nursi, who said, “The result of illegitimate love is a ruthless agony.”
He said if “someone” does not deserve to be loved, appreciated and supported to a certain extent and if “you went beyond that line,” then God may punish a person for this.
“I believe that the punches I get are the result of this [love]. We have done things that we did not do to anyone else until today. The result of the illegitimate love is ruthless agony. I get punched by God. May God forgive me.” This is because the practice of attaching value to people who do not deserve it, Gülen said, runs contrary to reality. He stated that “fate” has told the Hizmet movement that “this is not the way it is [to express love to the wrong person]; you will be snubbed!” “[Fate] has punched us one after another. We're the one getting the slap in the face, not anyone else,” Gülen added.
Gülen reiterated that members of the Hizmet movement should stand firm in the right direction and should not compromise and flatter (for the sake of wealth or promotion). He said if there is something wrong within the Hizmet movement, it should be warned of but asked followers of the Hizmet movement not to make concessions in walking on the right path.
Gülen said God would test one's fidelity by putting one at a disadvantaged position and also in a bid to separate “clean and dirty.”
The Turkish Islamic scholar also urged the members of the Hizmet movement not to retaliate against the attacks of others in kind. He said they can call you “siyon, miyon, çiyon or khiyon,” but Hizmet followers should not respond in the same way. The words Gülen used have no meaning in Turkish language, but it was clear that he was referring to the allegations of others who claim that the Hizmet movement is affiliated with countries or ideologies that are unpopular in Turkey.
He said members of the Hizmet movement should constantly check whether the path they are walking on is “right” by frequent negotiations and what he called “cooperative minds.”
He added that one needs to ask leading figures of society and scholars about the righteousness of the policies one pursues.