Baker Institute speakers to discuss influence of Turkey's Gülen movementBY FRANZ BROTZEN
Rice News staff
The movement founded by Fethullah Gülen has enjoyed worldwide success as a result of its expansive educational network. Though it has been criticized by some as a cult-like organization with ulterior motives, many praise the movement for its academic achievements and as a model of moderate Islamic thought. Two scholars will discuss the impact of the Gülen movement Dec. 9 at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy.
A response to Hendrick's analysis will be provided by Y. Alp Aslandogan, president of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog -- a group founded by participants in the Gülen movement in Texas to foster direct interaction among members of various faiths by means of interfaith dinners, public lectures, sponsored trips to Turkey and academic conferences.
Fethullah Gülen, one of Turkey's most famous and controversial religious personalities, has called for Islam to occupy a more central role in Turkish society. Now living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, he continues to serve as an inspiration to a loosely connected education and business community that now spans more than 100 countries and includes approximately 100 charter schools in the United States.
“Gülen schools” receive international praise because of the high academic success rates of their students and the moderate brand of Islam exemplified by their Turkish schoolteachers and administrators.
Hendrick’s extensive ethnographic fieldwork and research seeks to explain the movement’s emergence as Turkey’s most influential nonpartisan, nonmilitary social force. His work also examines the ways in which its participants aim to aid in the reform of Turkey’s power structure in line with the interests of a new 21st-century conservative Muslim elite.
Both speakers will look into the conflict between Turkey’s secular and Islamic forces by explaining the organizational impact of the Gülen movement on the country and its implications for the rest of the world.
Rice faculty, staff and students who want to attend must RSVP by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), by fax (713-348-5993) or on the Web at