The Gülen MovementBuilding Social Cohesion through Dialogue and Education Gurkan Çelik


The existence of social conflicts and the lack of social cohesion are at the center of public debates in many societies. In recent years, these issues have often been linked to Muslims and their religious beliefs. The Islamic response to these allegations and the social problems evoking them has been diverse: this book concerns the reply of a transnational movement of volunteers inspired by the teachings of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Muslim scholar. This study represents an attempt to incorporate the Gülen Movement —also called the Volunteers Movement— into a social movement theory approach.

In pluralist societies, there are different communication structures and different ways of conflict resolution. The Gülen Movement proposes and practices dialogue and education as two means to establish peace, by maintaining social cohesion and mending the social cleavages dividing Muslims and non-Muslims. It is not only Gülen’s spiritual message that has inspired people to pursuit these ideals, but also his leadership. By focusing on its spiritual, intellectual, and practical dimension and its social background, this book contributes to a comprehensive understanding of one of the most promising contemporary social movements.

“(…) [Çelik’s] description is commendable because it combines a wealth of different approaches (political, sociological, theological and literary) in an overall vision of the movement as an instrument for social cohesion. His scholarship combines the advantages of insider perspectives and outsider descriptions.”
– Dr Pim Valkenberg, Associate Professor of Theology and Christian-Muslim Relations, Loyola University Maryland

“(…) Dr Gürkan Çelik presents a refreshing look at the Movement and its actions. Who wants to know more about the Movement’s dynamism and Gülen’s educational Islam, will read this work with great interest.”
– Dr Johan Leman, Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology , IMMRC, Social Sciences, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

“In his recent study Gürkan Çelik has provided, in graceful prose, an analytical assessment of a most influential volunteer service presently benefiting humankind on troubled earth.”
– Dr Tom Gage, Professor Emeritus in English, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California.

“Dr. Gürken Çelik’s book is (…) very useful in understanding this process through the Gülen Movement.”
– Dr Dimitri Kitsikis, Professor at University of Ottawa, Canada; Fellow at Royal Society of Canada; Honorary President of The Dimitri Kitsikis Public Foundation, Greece.

“(…) I thank Dr. Çelik for this excellent introduction to what is, for me and for many in the West, a new and exhilarating way of thinking.”
– Dr Marlies ter Borg, Dutch editor-philosopher.