In our previous column, we discussed the various stances taken by religious communities against the Republican regime after religion was excluded from the state system, and particularly underlined among them the method of "infiltration of the state structure" adopted by the Gülen Movement.
In order to understand any given social movement, it is methodologically prudent to begin analyzing it from its foundation, then to proceed to examine its successive phases and conclude with its present condition. However, in this case, it is more enlightening to approach our subject the other way round by moving from the present back in time, as we are dealing with a movement that has always managed to conceal itself by consistently spreading self-misrepresentation. As is now evident, the movement's self-representation in the public sphere is nothing but fiction and artifice, all its attitudes and dispositions must be re-examined and redefined from scratch. The movement's claims have been the same for the last 30 years:
l "We have no purpose but the cause of faith."
l "As a positive movement, we are not dissenters and have no problem with the state whatsoever."
l "We educate our students abroad with a love of our country and teach foreign students to speak, read and write in Turkish."
l "No institution is organically linked to the congregation, as many opened schools independently under the influence of [Fethullah] Gülen's ideas."
l "We are loyal and ready to grant any of our institutions to the Turkish state."
l "Our schools do not rely on Islamic education, but on positive sciences."
Among all these claims, only the last article has been proven correct, while the rest is mere fiction to mislead society in adopting their self-misrepresentation.
The Quran, "sunnah" – the sayings and acts of the Prophet Mohammed, "ijma" – the consensus of Islamic scholars and "qiyas" – coming to a conclusion by comparison, shape religious communities in the Islamic world, and the Quran and sunnah as the sources of truth constitute the fundamental values that determine Muslims' attitudes and dispositions. Not only halal and haram, true and false, and good and evil, but also a devout Muslim's attitudes in the political and social world are determined according to these basic values. Throughout history, Muslims have been nourished from these sacred sources and have held on to those principles as much as they were able. While all states undertake a mission for themselves, all institutions, organizations and citizens in a particular state become part of its respective mission. Yet, in the countries not governed by democracy, a divergence of purpose might emerge between the state and its citizens.
When the above attitudes of the congregation are taken into account, it is clear that the Gülen Movement clashes to a great extent not only with Islam's sacred purpose, but also with the Turkish state. It would be ridiculous to imagine that a political group, which first independently undertakes a mission outside of their state's interests and then condemns their country to the accomplishments of that mission, could exist in the U.S., U.K. or Germany. But the congregation struggles to realize such absurdity in Turkey, although the intelligence services that secretly cooperate with it in such missions remains unknown. Islam, as a divine religion, holds a supreme purpose. This relation, with that purpose, links Muslims and society to Islam. The believer, in a more clear statement, should always seek to be more worthy of God.
The Gülen Movement, instead of strictly adhering to religion's supreme purpose and higher principles, attempts to shape the divine by profane interests. Thus, they lay the foundations of any idea that would cause the colonialists to rejoice and disturb devout Muslims. Instead of Islam's supreme purpose laid bare by the Quran and sunnah, it pursued an obscure phantasm called "hizmet" – service – about whose main quality no one but themselves are knowledgeable. Through phantasms, legends and the idea of the Mahdi that are not central in major sunnah tradition, they have remained aloof to the main principles of the Quran and sunnah, and have abused the divine according to their profane interests.