Παρασκευή, 23 Αυγούστου 2013

A Rare Meeting With Reclusive Turkish Spiritual Leader Fethullah Gulen

In an exclusive interview, the head of the Gulenist movement speaks on anti-Semitism, his particular brand of Islam, and why he's been in hiding for 14 years.


JAMIE TARABAY

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Chief Rabbi of Israel Eliyahu Bakshi Doron, left, gives a vase as gift to Islamic scholar and spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen, right, during his visit to Istanbul on Feb. 25, 1998. (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)
Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish religious spiritual leader, some say to millions of Turks both in Turkey and around the world, and the head of the Gulenist movement. His network of followers span the globe and have opened academically-focused schools across 90 countries, including the U.S.
The hocaefendi, meaning "respected teacher," as he is called, left Turkey in 1998 to avoid charges from the Turkish government of involvement in anti-secular activities. He eventually settled in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, where he continues to preach, write, and guide his followers through television and the Internet.
He is sickly and doesn't travel, yet secular Turks worry his influence in political ranks will grow Islamist influence there and turn the country into a religious state. He is well-known in Turkey and across Central Asia, yet here in the United States, he remains a mystery.
The reclusive spiritualist keeps to his home in the Poconos, attended by believers, praying, lecturing, and claiming his influence is not as wide-ranging as his critics claim it to be. He rarely gives interviews, but I was recently allowed to travel to the idyllic resort-like compound he has been living in for around 14 years and meet with Gulen for an interview. An edited transcript of his translated answers follows:


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