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

See all articles by John L. Esposito

John L. Esposito

Georgetown University - Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding

Ihsan Yilmaz

Deakin University

Date Written: December 1, 2010

Abstract

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

Esposito, John L. and Yilmaz, Ihsan, Transnational Muslim Faith-Based Peacebuilding: Initiatives of the Gülen Movement (December 1, 2010). European Journal of Economic and Political Studies, Vol. 3, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1771867

John L. Esposito

Georgetown University - Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
(202) 687-8375 (Phone)
(202) 687-8376 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http:cmcu.georgetown.edu

Ihsan Yilmaz (Contact Author)

Deakin University ( email )

75 Pigdons Road
Victoria, Victoria 3216
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/people/ihsan-yilmaz

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
231
Abstract Views
818
rank
169,039
PlumX Metrics