Fethullah Gülen, the Jews, and hypocrisy

05 Kasım 2012

CEMAAT, GENEL, IN ENGLISH

Fethullah Gülen calls himself a man of moderation and tolerance. “Inter-faith dialogue” is one his movement’s trademarks.  He and his followers go to great lengths to reach out to believers of other religions and their leaders. When you go to his English-language web site, you see the words “understanding and respect” right underneath his name.

The Gülen movement’s rhetoric and activities have won Gülen plaudits as an exemplary Islamic scholar who tries to build bridges between different faiths. Over the last decade, he has assiduously cultivated ties with Jewish and Christian leaders, and his efforts have yielded praise for his inter-faith activities and tolerance (details here). According to his web site he has met Pope John Paul II (although the details are murky) and received an award on tolerance from UNESCO (actually from an outfit based in the Romanian ministry of education, loosely affiliated with UNESCO).

It is a massive understatement to say that these activities are at odds with Gülen’s sermons and writings prior to his move to the United States, which contain vitriolic passages against Jews, Christians, the West, and the U.S.

Consider this entry titled “Jews” from the mid-1990s, which we translate in full:

Even though they have lived in exile here and there and have led an almost nomadic existence, Jews have been able to maintain their racial characteristics with almost no loss. Moreover, the Jewish tribe is very intelligent. This intelligent tribe has put forth many things throughout history in the name of science and thought. But these have always been offered in the form of poisoned honey and have been presented to the world as such. For instance, Karl Marx is a Jew; the communism he developed looks like a good alternative to capitalism at first sight, but in essence it is a deathly poison mixed in honey.

Ibn Taimiyya says “some Batini[1] doctrines exhibit substantial Jewish influence” and puts forth much evidence on this subject.  Judaism was represented under Islam among the Jews in Medina and the surrounding areas during the time of our Master and among the Sabaʾiyya[2] during the time of thepatriarchal caliphs[3] and is represented today in various nation-states.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that “the purpose behind the creation of such a people is to be the coil spring for human progress.” Just as God unleashes the hawk to evolve the sparrow’s capability for flight, with the Jews He keeps humans alert and under tension. From a different perspective, we can look at Jews as humanity’s vice-urging self [nefs-i emmâresi[4]].

Jews will maintain their existence until the apocalypse. And shortly before the apocalypse, their mission of acting as the coil spring for humanity’s progress will come to an end, and they will prepare their end with their own hands.

Their incurable enmity to Islam and Muslims aside, these people, which look with scorn upon even their own prophets and killed many among them, will finally end up in the position of Nazis and will look for a place to hide in the four corners of the earth.  Nevertheless, since dwelling on the true causes and motives related to this topic will both oppose the business of truth and result in raising undue passions, we shall let this pass for the moment. Yes, until Islam comes to be represented to the desired extent, it seems like luck will favor the Jews for some time still.”

(This entry is from his book Fasildan Fasila-1 [“From Chapter to Chapter,” vol. 1], published in 1995 according to Gülen’s bio.  The original text in Turkish can be found here. The translation and the footnotes are ours.) (UPDATE: The original text has now been removed from Gülen’s site. However, we have saved screenshots of it, which can be downloaded. See Update at the bottom of this entry.)

This is by no means an exceptional passage. Produced just three years before Gülen’s departure for the U.S. in 1998, this and other similar passages reveal Gülen to have been an inveterate anti-Semite at the time.

His views on women, Christians, and Americans were not much better. To justify wife-beating, albeit as a last resort, Gülen asked rhetorically: if it would do some good for one woman out of a hundred, why would Islam prohibit it?  (He adds, helpfully, that the beating ought to be light and not on the woman’s face.) Of Christianity he writes that it has become perverted (sapıtmış), of America that it is “our merciless enemy” (aman bilmeyen düşman), and of Europe that it has a “sadist mentality” that wants to crush Islam. (Photocopied pages of the original Turkish books where these views are expounded can be found here.)

Predictably, discussion of these topics on his English site today have a very different character, stressing moderation, understanding, and the similarity among Muslim, Christian, and Jewish faiths (see an example here). Yet Gülen has never acknowledged and come to grips with his prior beliefs; he has never stated that he has changed his mind (if indeed he has); nor has he explained how he has apparently come to hold very different views once he settled in the U.S.

Moreover, these anti-Semitic rants can still be found in their Turkish original on web sites maintained by the movement. At the same time, the managers of Gülen’s official site have taken care to ensure that there are no direct links to the content with the most offensive language (as we describe in what follows).

This is the page that lists Gülen’s clickable oeuvre on his official web site in Turkish.  Each one of the entries is a hyperlink that points to another page with the content of the relevant publication.  Going down the list, one encounters Fasildan Fasila-3 and Fasildan Fasila-4.  These are volumes 3 and 4 of the series in which the entry above is found. The list skips over Volume 1, where the entry on the Jews comes from; that volume is neither mentioned, nor linked to. (By contrast, his English-language bio does list Volume 1, but provides no links to content.)

To get to Volume 1, we need do a Google search for “Fasildan Fasila,” which takes us to another site with the full contents of all four volumes.  This second site is clearly maintained by the Gülen movement. (See “© 2012 Fethullah Gülen” at the bottom of the page, and compare the logo on the browser tab with that for the official site; the domain is registered to an individual with an e-mail address hosted on fgulen.com, the same domain as Gülen’s official web site.) The anti-Semitic entry seems to have been digitized and uploaded on this site on May 5, 2004 – well into Gülen’s years of residence in the U.S.

Maybe Gülen has really changed his mind, and shed some of the offensive views he held shortly before he moved to the U.S.  Even so, it is dishonest of him to present himself as someone who has long worked to foster peace, harmony, and tolerance between Jews and Muslims.  He owes his followers, and the world at large, an explanation and apology. And clearly his devotees are still propagating these odious views, while taking precautions to insulate Gülen’s official persona, especially the one presented to non-Turkish audiences, from them.

When confronted with Fethullah Gülen’s own distasteful writings, Gülen’s defenders shoot back with accusations of propaganda and disinformation. For example, Dani’s twitter messages on Gülen’s views on women led to a newspaper column in Turkey interpreting the tweets as an attack by Ergenekon (an alleged organization aiming to overthrow the Turkish government)! The column was then promptly translated and featured on Gülen’s web site.

This is part of a pattern of deception and hypocrisy we have encountered repeatedly. In Turkey, Gülenist rhetoric is replete with democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Yet, as we have documented elsewhere, the movement is entangled in an astonishing range of misdeeds that run the full gamut from slander to the framing of perceived opponents.

Interestingly, Gülen’s writings from the 1990s also contain detailed discussions of how to deal with the Christian world when Muslims are weak and not yet able to vanquish their opponents. Make sure you disguise your real thoughts and feelings from them, he advises his followers; if you let yourself known, you will only cause them to triumph.

We have little doubt that the vast majority of Gülen’s followers have nothing to do with these tactics and would not condone them. But they are being ill-served by the movement’s leaders, whose own deception and hypocrisy are the movement’s worse enemy.

(Note: The Gülen movement has the habit of quietly editing or removing problematic content from their web sites, once these attract unwelcome attention.  In case this happens with any of the material we have linked to above, here is a document that contains images of all the pages, as they existed as of November 5, 2012).

UPDATE (November 6): As we anticipated, the anti-Semitic entry from Gulen has now been quietly removed.  Luckily, we had taken our precautions, and a screenshot of the entry can be found on p. 2 of this document.


[1] According to Wikipedia, “Batiniyya is a pejorative term to refer to those groups, such as Alevism, Ismailism, and often Sufism, which distinguish between an inner, esoteric (Batini) level of meaning in the Qur’an, in addition to the outer, exoteric level of meaning Zahiri. Batini ta’wil is the name given to the exegesis of the esoteric knowledge which rests with the Imam, or with the Shaykh/Pir in Sufism.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batiniyya.

[3] These are the first four caliphs that followed Mohammad.

[4] This term usually means “the part of self that urges vice.”

Abone ol

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12 Yorum “Fethullah Gülen, the Jews, and hypocrisy”

  1. not deleted Says:

    All or most of #Gülen’s websites in the US are hosted on one server at theplanet.com in Houston. You can see all sites currently hosted there here: ip.robtex.com/174.132.19.5.html#graph There is much more of similar obscurity to find here. For example on the website wsatan.com. Under http://www.wsatan.com/content/view/6/3/ you find a piece that rudely discriminates Yezidi and calls them satanists. Here is what Wikipedia writes about them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yazidi. They are a small Kurdish ethno-religious group.

    We posted an article on Gülen and his strange internet activities in june 2011.
    You can find it here http://notdeleted.net/en-Hoca%26Internet.html

    Cevapla

  2. Size Guvenmiyorum Says:

    Dear Dani,

    I think this case has clouded all your academic honesty and judgement as you started writing without proper research. For instance you claim that:

    Yet Gülen has never acknowledged and come to grips with his prior beliefs; he has never stated that he has changed his mind (if indeed he has); nor has he explained how he has apparently come to hold very different views once he settled in the U.S.

    But in “100 soruda Fethullah Gülen ve Hareketi” book by Dogu Ergil, Fethullah Gulen answers a question about whether his world view changed on anything. The excerpt is below (in Turkish) but the gist of is that he acknowledges his overarching and stereotypical views on Jews and claims he changed his views. It is important to note that this question was not answered for a challenge by the interviewer on his views on Jews. Rather, it was a very general question, hinting a sincere repentance.

    http://www.haberturk.com/polemik/haber/515415-100-soruda-fethullah-gulen-ve-hareketi

    Bu meseleyle ilgili olan kisim su:
    “90’LI YILLARDA DEĞİŞTİM”
    Dünya görüşünde hangi aşamalarda ne gibi değişiklikler oldu?
    “Zaman, zemin ve insan faktörlerine bağlı olarak küçük değişiklikler de yok değildir söz ve değerlendirmelerimde. Sözgelimi, eski vaazlarımda Yahudiler’in sebebiyet verdiği sorunları genellemeci bir üslupla değerlendirir, bazı ayet ve hadisleri bu çerçevede yorumlardım. Ama 90’lı yıllardan sonra içine girilen diyalog sürecinde bu yaklaşımdan uzaklaştım. Gerek Kur’an ayetleri, gerek hadislerde dile getirilen karşıt düşünceleri daha bütüncül bir gözle değerlendirip, suçlamaların şahıslara değil, eylemin niteliğine yapıldığını öne çıkardım. Bunu, İslam’ın evrensellik özelliğine daha uygun olduğu için yaptım ve öyle telkin ettim.”

    Cevapla

    • The Correctionist Says:

      This is a retraction or apology? You must be joking. All that Gulen says is he has changed some of his interpretations “on the problems caused by Jews.” If this is all Gulen has said on his extensive record of hate speech, the problem is even worse than what the authors of the blog indicate.

      Cevapla

    • cut the crap Says:

      Size Guvenmiyorum:

      If Gulen has indeed changed his mind in the 90s, why was that text calling Jews all sorts of things still on his website? Who are you kidding?

      Cevapla

  3. SledGerist Says:

    Cemaatin ABD’deki toplantılarına Hillary Clinton dahil 50-60 kadar ABD’li vekilin katıldığını blog sahipleri biliyor mu acaba?

    Cevapla

    • Seal6 Says:

      Ergenekon olsun balyoz olsun bu operasyonlarının arkasında ABD varsa, AKP’yi de ABD getirmişse ve AKP aynen onların istedigi gibi hareket ediyorsa, aynı durum cemaat için de geçerli ise ergenekoncuların da balyozcuların da mücadelesi boşa olmuyor mu? ABD dünya hakimiyse, süper güçse, dünyanın istediği ülkesinde istediği operasyonu ekonomik, askeri ve istihbari olarak yapıyor ve yaptırıyorsa, o zaman bunlara karşı gelmenin de bir anlamı yok. Çünkü onlara karşı gelmek için gücünüzün en az onlarınki kadar olması gerekir.
      Adamlar zaten demiyor mu ya benden yana olursun ya da düşmanım diye. ABD çıkarlarına karşı olan herkes ABD’nin düşmanıdır demiyorlar mı?

      Cevapla

  4. Lolt Says:

    Gulen is too good that I don’t think your dirt can make it up there. This will get back to you. Just wait for the gravitational force to finish it off.

    Cevapla

  5. fatih Es Says:

    I hope, you’ll be kind enough to keep my comment here. I am writing this because I see it as an offence to objectivity and academical writing. As someone who admires and has been reading Gulen’s writings for years, here’s my views to what you say:

    1-“..this and other similar passages reveal Gülen to have been an inveterate anti-Semite at the time.” This is far from the truth and a biased reading of Gulen. He never stated anything to kill the Jews; he cursed the Hezbollah’s and other radical Islamists who used suicide bombers (and indeed gained Turkish radicals’ enmity); he advised good relations with Jewish community in Turkey (check out the relationship between Gulen and Itzak Haleva, Jak Kamhi, Ishak Alaton and Uzeyir Garih) etc. In the excerpt above her says “This intelligent tribe has put forth many things throughout history in the name of science and thought. But these have always been offered in the form of poisoned honey and have been presented to the world as such.” There is no blaming or humiliating here, it is an assesment. Moreover, he says “Just as God unleashes the hawk to evolve the sparrow’s capability for flight, with the Jews He keeps humans alert and under tension.” Is this an offensive remark that can lead anti-semitism? How come?

    2-“..His views on women, Christians, and Americans were not much better. To justify wife-beating, albeit as a last resort, Gülen asked rhetorically: if it would do some good for one woman out of a hundred, why would Islam prohibit it?” On women and Chrisitians, his views are only compatible with Islam and Prophet Mohammed’s remarks, nothing more. In other words, criticizing these views means criticizing Islam, and indeed you are free to do so. But, saying that these are his thoughts and his interpretations is totally wrong and biased. As for his views on America, as a patriot American you are free to say anything and anyone should respect to you in your defending your country. But then, you should answer this, what is your business and preoccupation with Turkish politics and a trial in Turkey as a patriot American citizen? Do you follow them and write this blog along with your academic identity or with a personal affiliation related to your father-in-law? Of course this is not a crime, but it surely vanishes your and this sites academic and objective credibility.

    3-“Jews will maintain their existence until the apocalypse. And shortly before the apocalypse, their mission of acting as the coil spring for humanity’s progress will come to an end, and they will prepare their end with their own hands.” This is not a prophecy, it is the restatement of Prophet Mohammed’s words. You can find even worse remarks on Jews in Koran, which were never interpreted by Gulen, in order not to arouse negative feelings against the Jews in Turkey, because we live together.

    4-“Their incurable enmity to Islam and Muslims aside, these people, which look with scorn upon even their own prophets and killed many among them, will finally end up in the position of Nazis and will look for a place to hide in the four corners of the earth.” Unfortunately the first part of the sentence is true. What the state of Israel is doing to Palestinians is exactly what Nazis did to Jews ( eg. genocide, forcing to live reservations, illegally detentions, people diasappearing, use of disproportionate force etc). This is a reading of history, you may agree or disagree, but you cannot say this is wrong or that is right. Noone gives you this right to infer antisemitism from this.

    5-“Interestingly, Gülen’s writings from the 1990s also contain detailed discussions of how to deal with the Christian world when Muslims are weak and not yet able to vanquish their opponents.” This is not true, I read many works of Gulen and am aware of his sermons. To say that, you need proof, excerpts or parts from sermons.

    6-“We have little doubt that the vast majority of Gülen’s followers have nothing to do with these tactics and would not condone them. But they are being ill-served by the movement’s leaders, whose own deception and hypocrisy are the movement’s worse enemy.” Movements’s leaders? Who are they? How do they ill-serve? Please be more spesific. Give names and examples. Even if it is so, Gulen must be the most sophisticated villain conspirator that the history has ever witnessed because he mesmerized millions of students, businessmen, politicians, academics all from different nationalities in order to support and act in thousands of educational institutions in Turkey and abroad, financial, social, cultural non-profit organizations plus a leading newspaper in Turkey. This is far, far, far from probability. I suggest you to pay visits to some of these institutions, without notice if you may. Use hidden cameras or tapes. I know what I suggest doesn’t sound right, but what I mean is, you can’t know someone if you don’t wear her/his shoes. Try to understand them by knowing them. I wish you could do that.. This is the bottom line I get from years of my Gulen experience.

    Cevapla

  6. Ali Says:

    Pinar hanim, sizi anliyorum babaniz zor durumda bu tum ailenizi de etkiliyor. Babaniz haricinde suclu aramaya devam ettiginiz surece oraya buraya toslamaya devam edeceksiniz maalesef. Yasadiklarinizi da Gulen hareketinden biliyorsunuz buyuzden bakisiniz tamamen yanli, onyargili ve dar maalesef ve maalesef. Bu yuzden de koskoca guzelim bir gul destesinin icerisinde kendinize gore diken aramakla omrunuzu heba ediyorsunuz. Bunu kendinize yapmayin, onyargilarinizin esiri olmayin. Butun bir camiayi tohmet altinda birakarakta altindan kalkilamayacak bir vebal yukleniyorsunuz. Bu dunyanin akli basinda vicdanli insanlari dini, dili, ulkesi, irki ne olursa olsun bu insani takip ediyor, kendi hayatini yasamayan bu insana hayranliklarini her platformda dile getiriyor. Bu sevgi seli ile bas etmeniz mumkun degil. Yapmayin etmeyin bunu kendinize.

    Cevapla

    • S Says:

      Ali bey, ne kadar acimasiz olabiliyorsunuz, bu umarim sadece sizin muslumanliginizdir, genel muslumanlik degildir. Siz Pinar hanimin babasini taniyormusunuz? Yada davasini cok yakindan takip edip her celsede ne dendi ne yapildi biliyormusunuz? Avukatlarin muvekkilerinin savunmasini yapmalari nasil engellendi biliyormusunuz? Siz kimsiniz ki Pinar hanima suclunun babasi oldugunu onda sucu aramasini soyleyebiliyorsunuz? Yoksa siz savci yada yargic filan mi zannediyorsunuz kendinizi? Sizin muslumanliginizla obur dunyada nasil hesap vereceksiniz? Bulundugunuz tahttan inip bir onu dusunun bence.

      Cevapla

  7. ploome Says:

    regarding:

    We have little doubt that the vast majority of Gülen’s followers have nothing to do with these tactics and would not condone them. But they are being ill-served by the movement’s leaders, whose own deception and hypocrisy are the movement’s worse enemy.

    How do you know what the “vast majority” of his followers believe. If the “vast majority” of his followers are muslim, they are Jewhaters.

    Takkiya and kitman are sanctioned islamic behaviors, celebrated in the hadiths and koran-whay we call deception and hypocrisy are encouraged behaviors when trying to make islam supreme in the world (jihad).

    Cevapla

  8. Davut Says:

    Confusing as several jewish prominent people are who signed Gulen’s Green Visa Card appeal. Additionally the Jewish lobbying of AIPAC heavily supports Gulen.

    Cevapla

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