Who is Fethullah Gulen

“Be so emphatic and tolerant that your bosom becomes wide as the ocean. Be inspired with faith and love the human being. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand and about whom you remain unconcerned.”

Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish scholar, preacher, thinker, author, opinion leader, education activist, and peace advocate. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide civil society movement, the Gulen Movement, which is committed to education, dialogue, peace, social justice, and social harmony. Gulen has published more than sixty books in Turkish, many of which have been translated to more than thirty languages. He was listed among the top hundred public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy magazine in May 2008.

Fethullah Gulen is known for his philosophical and active stance for human rights, democracy, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, spirituality, and against violence, segregation, and turning religion into a political ideology. Not only does his discourse cherish values such as empathetic acceptance, altruistic service to one’s community and humanity in general, the complementary roles of mind and heart, sincerity, and love of the creation; his life exemplifies them. “Serving humanity to serve God” and “living to let others live” are the core principles of his understanding of service. Fethullah Gulen's promotion of sympathy, compassion and harmonious coexistence can best be reflected in a comparison with that of Rumi, the 13th century Anatolian Sufi and spiritual poet and one of Fethullah Gulen’s sources of inspiration.

Fethullah Gulen started his career as a preacher and educational activist. In time, he succeeded in mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people for the purpose of serving society by uniting around high human values. Despite the high regard millions hold for him, Fethullah Gulen considers himself only one of the volunteers of the civil society movement he helped originate and denounces any attribution of leadership. Fethullah Gulen has never married, and has spent most of his life in Turkey, his native country. Fethullah Gulen currently resides in Pennsylvania, the United States, at a retreat facility.

[Source: Fethullah Gülen: Biographical Album published by the Gülen Institute]

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