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A Deep Knowledge of Religion, a Rich Philosophy

by Bulent Ecevit on . Posted in Commentaries

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He explains knowledgeably and courageously how the Islamic world became fanatical and weakened as it became more and more remote from science and free thought, how Islamic society was damaged by the narrowing of the madrassas' educational scope and religion's exploitation of political power as a vehicle.

At the same time, Gülen reminds us of the tolerant Islamic view based on Sufism's concepts of God and love of humanity. He explains that instead of trying to imitate the Islamic understanding of some backward countries ruled by oppressive regimes, we must develop our own Islamic perspective that reflects our national characteristics and heritage. He says that Islam's universality is not an obstacle to this, and further indicates that Islam is compatible with modernity, democracy, and progress. The Turkish experiment during the republican period proves this.

An important contribution of Gülen's ideas to daily debates and the search for solutions is his emphasis that we can open up to the West without breaking away from our national identity, but that we also must strengthen our ties with Central Asia. Such an emphasis is very appropriate at a time when Europe and Asia are rapidly uniting in a "Eurasia" liaison, when concepts of modernity and globalization are replacing Westernization, and when it is possible for Turkey to serve as a key or a bridge.

Ex-Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, Comments on Ufuk Turu by Eyup Can, Istanbul, 1996