Compare and contrast.
From “Turkey’s Turning Point” by Michael Rubin in National Review, April 14 (thanks to Morgaan Sinclair):
While GÃ¼len supporters jealously guard his image in the West, he remains a controversial figure in Turkey. According to Cumhuriyet, a left-of-center establishment daily “” Turkey’s New York Times “” in 1973, the Izmir State Security Court convicted GÃ¼len of “attempting to destroy the state system and to establish a state system based on religion;” he received a pardon, though, and so never served time in prison. In 1986, the Turkish military “” the constitutional guardians of the state’s secularism “” purged a GÃ¼len cell from the military academy; the Turkish military has subsequently acted against a number of other alleged GÃ¼len cells who they say infiltrated military ranks.
In 1998, according to Turkish court transcripts cited in the Turkish Daily News, GÃ¼len urged followers in the judiciary and state bureaucracy to “work patiently to take control of the state.” The following year, the independent Turkish television station ATV broadcast a secretly taped GÃ¼len telling supporters, “If they . . . come out early, the world will squash their heads. They will make Muslims relive events in Algeria,” a reference to the Islamic Salvation Front’s overwhelming 1991 election victory in the North African state. After party leaders spoke of voiding the constitution and implementing Islamic law, the Algerian military staged a coup leading to a civil conflict that killed tens of thousands.
Because of his statements and veiled threats, the judiciary in 1998 charged GÃ¼len with trying to “undermine the secular system” while “camouflag[ing] his methods with a democratic and moderate image.” Convicted in absentia, but free to run his organized from his U.S. exile, GÃ¼len continues a rather inconsistent approach to tolerance and secularism. He often equates the separation of religion and state with atheism, an assertion many of Turkey’s most secular officials find offensive: Believing that religion is best kept to the individual rather than state sphere does not equate with any lack of belief in God. In 2004, GÃ¼len equated atheism with terrorism and said both atheists and murderers would spend eternity in Hell.
“Islamic scholar voted world’s No 1 thinker,” by Robert Tait in The Guardian, June 23 (thanks to High):
A hitherto largely unknown Turkish Islamic scholar, Fethullah GÃ¼len, has been voted the world’s top intellectual in a poll to find the leading 100 thinkers.
GÃ¼len, the author of more than 60 books, won a landslide triumph after the survey – which is organised by the British magazine, Prospect, and Foreign Policy, a US publication – attracted more than 500,000 votes.
The top 10 individuals were all Muslim and included two Nobel laureates, the novelist Orhan Pamuk, who is also Turkish, at No 4, and the Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi, in 10th….
A GÃ¼len supporter, Bulent Kenes, who is editor-in-chief of Today’s Zaman newspaper, denied the poll had been hijacked. “There are many people who promote GÃ¼len’s ideas, which contribute to world peace by urging international dialogue and tolerance.”
GÃ¼len, 67, is known for a modernist brand of Islam. He was cleared of trying to topple the state in 2006 after being charged over footage in which he apparently urged civil service supporters to await his orders to overthrow the system. He said the film had been doctored.
GÃ¼len, who has lived in the US since 1998, is credited with establishing a global network of schools which preach Islam in a spirit of tolerance. He has been praised in the west for promoting dialogue and condemned Osama bin Laden as a monster after September 11.