Transnational Muslim Faith-Based Peacebuilding: Initiatives of the Gülen Movement
European Journal of Economic and Political Studies, Vol. 3, 2010
16 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2011
Date Written: December 1, 2010
Habermas’s theory of communicative rationality includes an argument called universal pragmatics, which human beings possess the communicative competence to bring about “mutual” understanding. Habermas, as a believer in dialogue, is an optimist who criticizes the Frankfurt School and postmodernist thought for excessive pessimism. In Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen’s thought and praxis, a similar belief in mutual understanding, dialogue and optimism, in contrast to the Islamists’ pessimism, is conspicuous. Gülen’s optimism and belief in dialogue, coupled with his intellectual-alim self-confidence, make it easier for him to be a border transgressor.
Gülen holds an inclusive, universalist and transcending Islamic conception. Gülen’s theology of peace is based on the integrity of the individual regardless of ethnic or religious background and approach to peacebuilding, therefore, is one of “bottom-up” social change. In Gülen’s worldview, there are three major enemies of not only Muslims, but also humanity as a whole: ignorance, poverty and disunity. His pluralistic, inclusivist and peacebuilding ideas have enabled the Gülen Movement to successfully turn its moral, spiritual, intellectual, financial and human resources into effective social capital and utilized this social capital in establishing educational institutions from primary school to university levels in more than 120 countries. The movement’s stance toward pluralism, diversity, tolerance, acceptance, civil society, secularism and democracy shows that the movement generates a bridging social capital, extremely helpful for peacebuilding and establishing sustainable peace.
Keywords: Peacebuilding, communicative rationality, Islam, Gülen movement
JEL Classification: Z19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation