A First Class Revolution: Gülen’s Utopia Society

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Sign the petition for Iraq's three-region solution April 28, 2008 A First Class Revolution: Gülen’s Utopia Society 

Kurdishaspect.com - By Aland Mizell 

Today the media is talking about Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and editor of the Middle East Quarterly, because he recently published an article in the National Review talking about an Islamic revolution in Turkey. He compares Fethullah Gülen’s revolution to that of Khomeini, who staged a revolution in Iran. He believes that Gülen is like Khomeini, yet Khomeini executed a third class revolution while Gülen is carrying out a first class revolution. Khomeini’s was a bloody one, but Gülen’s revolution is like Mohammed’s conquest of Mecca. When he returned from exile to his birth place with an army of 10,000 soldiers, Mohammed retook Mecca without any bloodshed, and therefore Gülen is imitating the prophet in his revolution.

Using the Zaman newspaper, Gülen and his community reacted as usual to the comment and denied the truth, describing the appalling lack of intellectual curiosity and rationality of the author. Both Gülen’s news media and his followers are putting their finger in their ears, trying to ignore reality and denying the truth. Instead, the Zaman newspaper’s community accused Rubin of being an enemy of Turkey and of attempting to destroy the Turkish government relying on their usual conspiracy theory. Some of them go further accusing Rubin of slandering Turkey and Gülen’s message by saying that Gülen’s movement is expecting an Islamic revolution in Turkey. An Islamic revolution has happened already, but the question is when will Gülen return from his hiatus in the United States with the red carpet welcoming him? In his article Rubin rightly compares his strategy to Khomeini’s: “Three decades ago, the same phenomenon marked the coverage of Iran.” During his brief stay in Paris in 1978, Khomeini told an Austrian television reporter, "I don't want to be the leader of the Islamic Republic; I don't want to have the government or power in my hands." Denial is part of Gülen’s agenda as he constantly denies that he has a movement or that he is advancing an ideological cause. His followers, however, are trained not to tell the truth but to keep the organization’s secrets until they get enough power to assume control. If Gülen does not have an agenda, then why does he teach his followers about keeping secrets? Gülen indoctrinates his followers by repeatedly reminding them, “Guarding secrets is the same as guarding one’s chastity. The one who does not keep the secrets does not guard his or her chastity.” Gülen instructs them not to tell the truth as part of their training on secrecy. He teaches his followers to know the truth but not to tell the truth, admonishing them with the principle, “It is your obligation to know the truth, but it is not good for you to tell the truth every time, everywhere, or about everything that you do.” As part of his secrecy and caution, Gülen teaches his students to lie because Islam legitimizes lying for certain reasons. If you are at war, Islam permits you to lie to defeat the enemy, so he believes that since they are at war with non-Muslims, until they defeat the enemies, they should not reveal their secrets and can even lie. 

If this clandestine global ideology for ruling the world became known, it would be alarming to all citizens, because infiltration becomes more dangerous than invasion since it goes undetected until it is too late. He admonishes his followers, “You must move in the arteries of the systems without anyone noticing your existence, until you reach all the power centers when the conditions are ripe. If you do something prematurely, the world will crush your heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere.” He gives the examples of Pakistan, Algeria, and Egypt, among others. Further, he explains, “The time is not right yet; you must wait for the time when the community is complete and conditions are ripe until we can shoulder the world and carry it. You must wait until you determine that all the state’s power in on your side; until then any step taken would be too early. Using an analogy, Gülen says that prematurely revealing the plan would be like an egg not waiting the full 40 days to hatch; it would kill the chicken inside.

A clear example of the growth of the movement may be seen in the Zaman newspaper. Ten or fifteen years ago the Zaman barely addressed politics, and if the editors were asked if it had a political affiliation, the spokesmen would deny any and rather would say, “If you were to place religion in my right and politics in my left hand, I would leave politics and keep my religion.” Now seemingly Gülen would keep politics, judging from his ongoing claims in the media. The Zaman‘s front page is covered with rhetoric against the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Democratic Kurdish Party (DTP) and filled with pictures of Erdogan and Gul accompanied by their scripted messages. The newspaper itself is almost becoming a political party. Another interesting phenomenon about the Zaman today is that in the past no one would write any negative report about Turkish generals, and they would never dare to denigrate them. Slowly, however, as Gülen has gained power, the newspaper has begun to criticize some of the generals. Most significantly, Gülen and his followers do not directly answer any questions that are posed and will not tell the truth, because they define truth differently. They are studied in smooth talking, so that they now sound like they are speaking at a political convention as they are quoted in the Zaman.

Today Gülen is being presented as a tolerant, moderate, enlightened religious leader who is involved in Interfaith Dialog and as a peaceful person, put on a list of heroes of peace next to Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King. Nevertheless, his speeches are totally contradictory to his image, and one wonders if Gülen is showing his true face since his public and private messages are inconsistent, for example, related to the Kurdish issue. It is true the organization advocates tolerance but only if a candidate is not yet recruited by them, not inside their circle, and not a believer in their views or even at least has not been exposed to their ideology. In these cases the potential followers are permitted to have alternate views, and they are tolerant of them, but if you are like Rubin, telling the truth based on research and observation, they will declare you an enemy as they did in the case of Rubin whom they almost blogged to death. Why do they like John Esposito from Georgetown University so much and hate Rubin? Because there is, I think, a sort of informal Gulenist cabal at Georgetown University and at some of other American universities. If you are not one of the community and do not share the same views, then you are perpetually on the outside. Since it is clear that Gülen and his community own newspapers, television stations, sport clubs, universities, banks, hospitals, there is already a government inside the government, not just a chain of schools. Why would anyone go to such a length to persuade the public that they had no agenda unless there was something deceitful underneath? Such propaganda of a secular state masking the Islamization of Turkey put Erdogan in power. In the past he proclaimed that he has no political affiliation, but today he celebrates the AK Party, the torchbearer of his utopian society.

Is it not true that once you invite people to follow you based on your ideas to transform the social and political structures, you are inviting them to create a revolution or change? Granted, for a long time there has been injustice and corruption in Turkey, and today the Justice and Development Party (AK) has rebelled against the injustice that they were victim to in the past, but now they are taking revenge. Most revolutions are made or led by those who have been the victim of injustice and oppression. Such is the case for the Gülen movement. Revolution produces a transformation of power, and clearly today an Islamic government has the reins and thus power is in their hands. 

Rubin is accurate in his assessment that Gülen’s insidious intent has been gaining ground via clandestine diplomacy. Some day Gülen’s comrades will come out of their trenches and place the country under a rule much like a mullah regime. Gülen has always changed his strategy depending on the occasion, event, and place. It is this chameleon strategy that causes some scholars and columnists to fear the sinister ambiguity surrounding Gülen and his community. Every generation wants its own revolution. What Gülen did was change the inner attitudes of the new generation, and this led them to change the outer aspects of their lives. By enlisting them in his ranks, he brought about a behavior conversion. In order to have a first class revolution, a leader must understand how to garner the love and sacrifice of the masses. Today millions of people are willing to sacrifice for whatever Gülen orders. He and his pious AK party know that without having democracy in Turkey, they cannot have a revolution there. Because they need the freedom of a democratic system, the AK party believes that Turkey must have democracy. Of course, their definition of a democracy is different than what is described in the West since there is no single definition of democracy. George Orwell said, "One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; people make the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” Today, Gülen and his community draw a picture of themselves as being the most tolerant community on earth, and they have generated many initiatives from Turkish cultural centers to Rumi Forums and from the Mary Project to distributing food to the Kurds--all to present this face, but Gülen and his community are tolerant only toward unbelievers. Once unbelievers believe, then they cannot object to competing claims from outside the community. They must obey absolutely the ideology and practices of the community, and if anyone has a different opinion especially one contrary to Gülen’s, then he or she is considered to have betrayed the community and consequently is not welcomed in the community; in fact, the group will excommunicate the traitor. Because in the Gülen community Gülen has a monopoly on knowledge, others do not have a right to object to his ideas. Whatever Gülen says, it becomes a decree that his followers must be obey. The question is not whether Gülen is going to bring a revolution in Turkey but rather whether the revolution he is making will lighten the burden of tyranny or only shift it to another shoulder of tyranny.

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