Who is Fethullah Gülen?

Jon Pahl Professor Jon Pahl

On the evening July 15, 2016 elements of the Turkish military executed a failed coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Tanks and armored vehicles rolled into the capital Ankara and Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, bridges were blocked, and helicopters and F-16s flew overhead. Battles between the coup plotters and government loyalists left over 250 dead. President Erdogan, on vacation in the coastal city of Marmaris, flew into Istanbul and urged followers to take to the streets to resist the coup.

Within a day of the coup attempt, President Erdogan and his government were back in control of Turkey and he began a widespread purge of the military, media, courts, and educational institutions. Before the details were even known, it became clear that Erdogan saw this as an opportunity to eliminate his enemies and consolidate power. On August 2, the Financial Times reported that “almost 70,000 people have been arrested, suspended or fired.” (Turkey’s purge reaches beyond the coup plotters) The New York Times Online made comparisons to “Joseph McCarthy‘s anti-Communist witch hunt in 1950s America, the Stalinist purges of the 1930s and the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s and ’70s.” (Turks see purge as witch hunt of ‘medieval’ darkness’, 9/16/16) Though there was little support among Turkish citizens for the coup, the scope of the purge threatens basic democratic governance in Turkey.

Responsibility for the coup quickly settled on the Gülen Movement, whose members were arrested, jailed, and in some cases possibly tortured. The followers of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Sufi cleric living in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, constitute a decentralized movement that is international in scope, with schools in over 100 countries. The Gülen Movement in Turkey, its country of origin, was – until recently – represented in the highest reaches of the military, judiciary, media, and economy. Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party have targeted Gulenists for several years now and these purges continue his effort to eliminate their influence across Turkish society. Gülen has been accused of masterminding the coup and an arrest warrant was issued against him in an Istanbul court in August. The Turkish government is seeking Gülen’s extradition from the United States to stand trial in Turkey.

As accusations against Gülen began piling up in the Turkish and international media in the aftermath of the coup, I thought of Professor Jon Pahl of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. I knew he was working on a biography of Fethullah Gülen and I was interested in hearing what he had to say about Gülen, the Gülen Movement, and recent events in Turkey. Professor Pahl posted a blog at the University of California Press titled Don’t Make A Mystic into a Martyr: Fethullah Gülen as Peacebuilder on July 24, 2016.

I spoke to Joh Pahl on October 6, 2016.


FREE! Foreign Service Institute language courses

A colleague just brought to my attention that the language courses used by the US to train foreign service workers are now free online (FSI Language Courses).

As stated on its web site:
These courses were developed by the United States government and are in the public domain.

This site is dedicated to making these language courses freely available in an electronic format. This site is not affiliated in any way with any government entity; it is an independent, non-profit effort to foster the learning of worldwide languages. Courses here are made available through the private efforts of individuals who are donating their time and resources to provide quality materials for language learning.”

————————————————————————————————————– Subject Guides Classics // Islamic Studies // Jewish Studies // Philosophy // Religion ————————————————————————————————————–

Translation Movement

Great discussion of the 9th Translation Movement in Baghdad in which much of Greek knowledge was translated into Arabic. It’s a story of Arabs, Greeks, Persians; Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and pagans; philosophy, medicine, mathematics, astrology/astronomy, optics; Galen, Aristotle, Euclid; Al Kindi, Averroes, and Avicena. A menagerie of scholarship, a feast of knowledge, a heartwarming story of international cooperation. Go here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20081002.shtml. ————————————————————————————————————– Subject Guides Classics // Islamic Studies // Jewish Studies // Philosophy // Religion ————————————————————————————————————–

Islamic Calligraphy

“This exhibition and its companion exhibition, Writing the Word of God: Calligraphy and the Qur’an, explore Islamic art’s quintessential art form: calligraphy. In the Islamic world, the practice of calligraphy constitutes an expression of piety. The writing of Arabic script was considered an exemplary activity for men and women of all stations due to its association with the Qur’an.” Traces of the Calligrapher at the Asia Society Museum.

New Lit Reviews from Web of Science

Selling Captain Riley, 1816-1859: How did his ‘Narrative’ become so well known? (James Riley) PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY 171: 177-+ Part 1 APR 2007 James Riley’s extraordinary tale of shipwreck, enslavement, and liberation captivated many American readers in the nineteenth century…Popular awareness of Riley and his account of African geography and portrayal of Islamic and Jewish life was fueled by extensive press coverage and eventual anthologizing in children’s literature. Divining “divine action” in theology-and-science: A review essay ZYGON 43 (1): 191-200 MAR 2008 The topic of divine action has been central to the theology-and-science discussion over the last twenty years…I review three recent books that have responded in some way to the ongoing discussion. The Filipino Catholic nun as transnational feminist WOMENS HISTORY REVIEW 17 (1): 57-78 FEB 2008 Filipino Catholic nuns became formidable activists in the women’s movement as women’s studies teachers, and as leaders and members of transnational organizations. This article argues that the nuns’ unique location in the interstices-as transnational feminists who moved constantly from the local to the international-was what made them effective activists. The healing serpent and the origin of Ophite Gnosticism REVUE DE L HISTOIRE DES RELIGIONS 224 (4): 395-434 OCT-DEC 2007 This group is, together with the Naassenes, the only one that actually adores the serpent, which is considered as the epiphany of the Logos. This equivalence Logos = serpent is taken from the exegetical interpretation of Num. 21, 8-10 (the bronze serpent). Racializing historiography: anti-Jewish scholarship in the Third Reich PATTERNS OF PREJUDICE 42 (1): 27-59 FEB 2008 He raises and attempts to answer crucial and far-reaching questions about Judenforschung and its role in the Third Reich. Why was historical scholarship important for the perpetrators of the Holocaust? What was the specific function of historical arguments in a racist setting? What was the specific contribution of the humanities to racist arguments and racist politics? Religious place and its interaction with urbanization in the Roman era JOURNAL OF SOCIAL ARCHAEOLOGY 8 (1): 37-62 FEB 2008 This article examines the issue of urbanization in Roman Britain and its interaction with places of the late pre-Roman Iron Age…The modern western conception of place differs vastly from the past when places were important ways of conceptualizing experiencing and understanding the world and they were constructed through human action, memory and experience and interaction. Aegean prehistory as world archaeology: Recent trends in the archaeology of Bronze age Greece JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH 16 (2): 83-161 JUN 2008 This article surveys archaeological work of the last decade on the Greek Bronze Age, part of the broader discipline known as Aegean prehistory. Naturally, the literature is vast, so I focus on a set of topics that may be of general interest to non-Aegeanists: chronology, regional studies, the emergence and organization of archaic states, ritual and religion, and archaeological science. Is there a moral justification for redressing historical injustices? VANDERBILT LAW REVIEW 61 (1): 127-+ JAN 2008 This Article examines whether there is a moral justification for repairing historical injustices. My theme is the difficulty of devising a compelling moral argument for redressing such injustices, notwithstanding the moral arguments often invoked by the proponents of redress. Writing as thinking REVIEW OF GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY 12 (1): 9-27 MAR 2008 We explore four methods to see how expert writers externalize thoughts and interact with them: laboratory comparisons of novices and experts, interviews with accomplished writers (mostly of prose fiction), biographical analysis of Jane Austen’s development as a writer, and consideration of Gustave Flaubert’s notes and drafts. Animal consciousness JOURNAL OF CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES 15 (3): 5-33 MAR 2008 There are several types of behavioural evidence in favour of the notion that many animal species experience at least some simple levels of consciousness. Other than behavioural evidence, there are a number of anatomical and physiological criteria that help resolve the problem of animal consciousness, particularly when addressing the problem in lower vertebrates and invertebrates. Constructing the guru: Ritual authority and architectural space in medieval India ART BULLETIN 90 (1): 7 MAR 2008 At the central Indian site of Chandrehe stands a rare example of a monumental stone monastery, built in 973 by a sect of Shiva-worshiping ascetics known as the Mattamayuras. Its complex architectural program Suggests that it was carefully designed to evoke the soteriological and ritual world of medieval Hindu monasteries, about which very little other evidence exists. The work of the present: Constructing messianic temporality in the wake of failed prophecy among Chabad Hasidim AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST 35 (1): 64-80 FEB 2008 Temporal issues have remained relatively unelaborated in the rich body of research that applies cognitive dissonance theory to millenarian movements following a failed prophecy. We engage these issues by exploring how the meshichistim (messianists) among the Jewish ultraorthodox Chabad (Lubavitch) Hasidim employ temporal categories to deal with the crisis entailed in the death of their leader, the expected Messiah.

ARTstor Interdisciplinary Guides

ARTstor has made some nice, brief interdisciplinary guides available on its web site. ARTstor is a huge database of high resolution images of major art collections from around the world. Here are some links to the PDF’s of the guides: Classical Studies // Middle Eastern Studies // Religious Studies // Women’s Studies Take a look to see how ARTstor can illuminate your research and scholarship!

New Online Religion Encyclopedias from GVRL

We just seven new online religion encyclopedias from the online platform Gale Virtual Reference Library, which has dozens of encyclopedias in many different categories. Below are links to the new encyclopedias. Encyclopedia of Judaism four volume encyclopedia from Brill Academic Publishers Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an multivolume from Brill Academic Publishers Brill Dictionary of Religion four volumes from Brill Academic Publishers Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism two volumes from Brill Academic Publishers Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations one volume from Cambridge University Press Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America three volumes from Indiana University Press Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism two volumes from Rosen Publishing

Changing Faiths in America

Americans Change Faiths at Rising Rate, Report Finds An article from the NYT explains that “more than a quarter of adult Americans have left the faith of their childhood to join another religion or no religion…” This is one finding from The US Religious Landscape Survey, published by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. ————————————————————————————————————– Subject Guides Classics // Islamic Studies // Jewish Studies // Philosophy // Religion ————————————————————————————————————–

New Lit Reviews from Web of Science

Historical Conditions, Ideological Struggles, and State Policies Toward Religion “Why do secular states pursue substantially different policies toward religion? The United States, France, and Turkey are secular states that lack any official religion and have legal systems free from religious control.” Aesthetics Surgery and Religion: Islamic Law Perspective “Even if it clearly considers “changing the creation of Allah” as unlawful, Islamic law is ambiguous regarding cosmetic surgery. Its objection to cosmetic surgery is not absolute.” Empire by invitation: Greek political strategies and Roman imperial interventions in the second century BCE “Greek politicians in the second century B.C.E. increasingly turned to Roman authorities in order to defeat their political opposition.” The Integration of Western Modernism in Postcolonial Arabic Literature: a study of Abdul-Wahhab Al-Bayati’s Third World Poetics “Transforming Western modernist strategies into a revolutionary construct, Al-Bayati aims to challenge internal oppression and external hegemony.” Disappearing origins: Sephardic autobiography today “Focusing on memoirists of Spanish-Portuguese background, however attenuated, I read the tarnished but treasured place of Sefarad in these recent works and interpret the authors’ often ambivalent self-location with regard to Sephardic identity.” The busy countryside of Late Roman Corinth – Interpreting ceramic data produced by regional archaeological surveys (Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey) “Using data generated by the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey, the author examines the evidence for the frequently attested “explosion” of Late Roman settlement in the Corinthia…” History, power, and electricity: American popular magazine accounts of electroconvulsive therapy, 1940-2005 “This article analyzes the popular accounts over time, particularly the ways in which the debates over ECT have revolved around different interpretations of ECT’s history and its power dynamics.” ————————————————————————————————————– Subject Guides Classics // Islamic Studies // Jewish Studies // Philosophy // Religion ————————————————————————————————————–