Mehmet Görmez, the head of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, claimed on Monday on a TV program that members of the Gülen Movement tried "to take the directorate into its service." Görmez continued by saying that they asked him to make an official declaration that the U.S.-based imam Fethullah Gülen's cursing of then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government and those who exposed his movement's alleged infiltration of state bodies in a video released, was not cursing.
Gülen, the movement's leader, drew harsh criticism from Islamic scholars after his cursing of officials of the government which his followers allegedly tried to topple through agents in the police department and judiciary. In his curses, Gülen prayed that his critics' families, homes and all those close to them be destroyed and perish. In this regard, Görmez was approached by members of the movement to have this cursing be declared as not cursing, which Görmez declined, saying it is not right to do so. Consequently, on the TV program, Görmez said a defamation campaign began against the directorate and himself by the movement.
"The 'parallel structure' [Gülen Movement] is one that ignites a fire within the Islamic community that led to disputes inside mosques and caused divergence among the people. We have devoted strong efforts to prevent this from entering the mosques. However, during Friday sermons as we urged brotherhood, someone stood up and screamed 'we will not be brothers with thieves.' There is a wide range of provocations by them," Görmez said.
The movement is also accused of resorting to superstition, accusations that have been prompted by prominent supporters of the movement consistently promoting sentiments referring to sorcery, supernatural beings, dreams and other such transcendental elements that do not have a concrete scholarly or scientific base. Holding "cursing sessions," where supporters gather and curse the government and its supporters is allegedly one of the regular activities of the movement according to sources. Gülen's curses, which can be seen on videos, have become a common occurrence and are criticized for contradicting the ideas of dialogue and toleration that the movement claims to promote.
The Gülen Movement is seen as a threat to national security by the government as it is accused of infiltrating top state institutions, including the police and judiciary, and wiretapping thousands of people including senior officials, journalists, actors among many others.
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