The Gülen movement was praised as a movement that can set a good example for the Islamic world during a two-day conference held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., over the weekend.
The conference, titled "Islam in the Age of Global Challenges: Alternative Perspectives of the Gülen Movement," was held on Nov. 15 and 16 by Georgetown University and the Rumi Forum with the participation of several academics from around the world. Attendees of the conference praised the Gülen movement -- led by respected Turkish intellectual and scholar Fethullah Gülen -- for its contributions to world peace and interfaith dialogue.
"The modern world needs the Gülen movement, which acts in a responsible manner. The Gülen movement may be effective in the restructuring of the Middle East. I believe it is the best movement in the Islamic world in the last century," said Georgetown University's Professor John Esposito.
Esposito also praised the Gülen movement for its activities in the field of education. "What impresses me most about this movement is the methods it follows in education. Gülen schools around the world offer first-class education. We see the impact of these schools not only in Turkey, but also from Central Asia to Europe and the United States," he added.
Professor Sally Ann Baynard, another academic from Georgetown University, said the Turkish government should invite Gülen back to his country. "The Gülen movement aims at preventing misunderstandings among followers of different religions. In addition to this, Gülen is loyal to his country with great love. I say it is high time this esteemed personality is re-invited to his country," she said.
Baynard also noted that she has done research on the Gülen movement for many years. "When we evaluate Gülen in terms of humanity, what I can say is he is a man of virtue. His movement pursues the aim of introducing Turkey worldwide in the best manner possible. I've noticed that this movement exerts more effort than the government to this end," she stressed.
Thomas Michel, from the Vatican Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, said the movement organizes its activities to serve humanity in such fields as education, interfaith dialogue and the fight against poverty.
"The schools opened by the movement around the world in line with the ideas and principles of Gülen are not traditional ones. They are secular institutions that offer high-quality education to students," he said. Michel also noted that these schools have been key actors in the restructuring of education in the Caucasus in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Dr. Sidney Griffith of the Catholic University of America described Gülen as a man of peace. "I had the opportunity to meet Gülen several times. He is a quiet and plain man. What I feel about him is that he quietly devoted himself to the love of the creator and humanity," he noted.