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Muslim Radical Is Voted World’s #1 Thinker

From the UK’s Guardian:

Islamic scholar voted world’s No 1 thinker

Robert Tait in Istanbul
Monday June 23, 2008

A hitherto largely unknown Turkish Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gülen, has been voted the world’s top intellectual in a poll to find the leading 100 thinkers.

Gülen, the author of more than 60 books, won a landslide triumph after the survey – which is organised by the British magazine, Prospect, and Foreign Policy, a US publication – attracted more than 500,000 votes.

The top 10 individuals were all Muslim and included two Nobel laureates, the novelist Orhan Pamuk, who is also Turkish, at No 4, and the Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, in 10th.

The result surprised organisers, who attributed it to a sustained campaign by Gülen’s followers, known as the Gülen Movement, after Turkey’s biggest-selling newspaper, Zaman, publicised the poll.

Prospect’s editor, David Goohart, admitted to not having previously heard of Gülen and said his supporters had "made a mockery" of the poll

Gülen, 67, is known for a modernist brand of Islam. He was cleared of trying to topple the state in 2006 after being charged over footage in which he apparently urged civil service supporters to await his orders to overthrow the system. He said the film had been doctored.

Gülen, who has lived in the US since 1998, is credited with establishing a global network of schools which preach Islam in a spirit of tolerance. He has been praised in the west for promoting dialogue and condemned Osama bin Laden as a monster after September 11.

But the Guardian does not do this hero justice. For Mr. Gülen is quite the busy little bee.

Here is a little more information on the great man from an analysis in the July 19, 2007 archives of MEMRI:

The Fethullah Gulen: Powerful Islamist Network with International Reach; Fethullah: From Islamist Anti-Soviet Activity to Residence and Activity in U.S.

The Fethullah movement is regarded as the most powerful and influential Islamist organization in Turkey, and has international outreach. Regarded as a semi-state within a state, this community has established hundreds of schools, in Turkey and in over 100 countries on five continents.

Fethullah Gulen heads this vast organization, holding absolute authority, although the organization operates seemingly as independent cells. It is based on a hierarchy of activists on different levels – municipalities, business, families, and individuals. Another group of activists, the abi, or "elder brothers," deals with recruitment, mostly from among poor youth, by providing them with housing and education in the isikevi, or "houses of light." There, the youths receive intensive Islamist training in line with the teachings of Said-i Nursi and the Nur movement.

Education, and professional and vocational training are important components of the Fethullah movement, and its main recruiting efforts are directed at youths in eighth through twelfth grades. Followers mentor young people in the isikevi, educate them in the Fethullah schools, and prepare them for future careers in legal, political, and educational professions, in order to create the future Islamist Turkish state. Fethullah schools abroad are geared towards educating a foreign leadership that will be sympathetic to an Islamist Turkey.

While young people provide the manpower for growth, followers with small businesses provide the finances, donating generously to Fethullah projects. No public accounts of the community’s finances are made available, and most of their resources are not disclosed to the public. Fethullah members occupy positions in all Turkish state institutions, political parties, organizations, universities, and even sports clubs, and are also present in the security forces (except for the upper echelons of the military) and police.

Fethullah Gulen Indicted, Escapes To U.S.

In 1999, footage was aired on Turkish television of sermons delivered by Fethullah Gulen to a crowd of followers, in which he revealed his aspirations for an Islamist Turkey ruled by shari’a as well as the methods that should be used to attain that goal. In the sermons, he said:

"You must move in the arteries of the system, without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach all the power centers… until the conditions are ripe, they [the followers] must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere, like in the tragedies in Algeria, like in 1982 [in] Syria… like in the yearly disasters and tragedies in Egypt. The time is not yet right. You must wait for the time when you are complete, and conditions are ripe, until we can shoulder the entire world and carry it… You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey… Until that time, any step taken would be too early – like breaking an egg without waiting the full 40 days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside. The work to be done is [in] confronting the world. Now, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts to you all – in confidence… trusting your loyalty and sensitivity to secrecy. I know that when you leave here – [just] as you discard your empty juice boxes, you must discard the thoughts and feelings expressed here."

The sermon continues: "When everything was closed and all doors were locked, our houses of isik [light] assumed a mission greater than that of older times. In the past, some of the duties of these houses were carried out by madrassas, some by schools, some by tekkes [Islamist lodges]… These homes had to be schools, had to be madrassas, [had to be] tekkes all at the same time. The permission did not come from the state, or the state’s laws, or the people who govern us. The permission was given by Allah… who wanted His name learned and talked about, studied, and discussed in those houses, as it used to be in the mosques."

In another sermon, he said: "Now it is a painful spring that we live in. A nation is being born again. A nation of millions [is] being born – one that will live for long centuries, Allah willing… It is being born with its own culture, its own civilization. If giving birth to one person is so painful, the birth of millions cannot be pain-free. Naturally we will suffer pain. It won’t be easy for a nation that has accepted atheism, has accepted materialism, a nation accustomed to running away from itself, to come back riding on its horse. It will not be easy, but it is worth all our suffering and the sacrifices."

In yet another sermon, he said, "The philosophy of our service is that we open a house somewhere and, with the patience of a spider, we lay our web, to wait for people to get caught in the web; and we teach those who do. We don’t lay the web to eat or consume them, but to show them the way to their resurrection, to blow life into their dead bodies and souls, to give them a life."

By the time this was aired, Gulen had already left the country for the U.S., supposedly for health reasons. A year later, in 2000, he was indicted in absentia for attempting to change Turkey’s system of government and for "forming an illegal organization with the purpose of establishing an Islamist state." It was from there that he built his international Islamist community.

At a 2003 judicial hearing, it was decided to postpone Gulen’s trial, subject to reprocessing if he was indicted again for a similar crime in the next five years. In May 2006, the AKP government modified the criminal code regarding acts of terror, and Gulen was acquitted.

Financial, Cultural, and Media Institutions Affiliated with Fethullah

Fethullah Gulen is thought to be one of the richest Turks in the world. He lives on a large estate in Pennsylvania, and it is from there that he runs his million-member community. The prevailing perception in political circles in Turkey is that Fethullah Gulen is the power behind many Islamist politicians, especially in the AKP.

The following are some of the establishments in Turkey owned by or affiliated with the Fethullah community. The list is from the indictment of Fethullah Gulen.

Yes, what a great thinker Mr. Gulen is. And of course he now lives and "teaches" in the good old US of A.

(Incidentally, one of his acolytes is the former "hostage," Jill Carroll.)

By the way, our hero never claimed that the footage Memri quotes was "doctored," just that his comments were taken out of context. Over and over again.

And of course we believe him.

By the way, the aforementioned Foreign Policy magazine is published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

An organization that is heavily funded and otherwise entwined with Mr. George Soros and his Open Society Institute.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 23rd, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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