Contemporary Islamic Conversations

M. Fethullah Gülen on Turkey, Islam, and the West

By Nevval Sevindi
Edited by Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi'
Introduction by Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi'
Translated by Abdullah T. Antepli

Subjects: Islam
Paperback : 9780791473542, 174 pages, December 2007
Hardcover : 9780791473535, 174 pages, December 2007

Table of contents

Editor’s Introduction
1. Fethullah Gülen’s Life and Thought
2. The Actual Source of Hope: The Duty of Humanity
3. The Flowering of the Individual
4. Islam, Violence, and the West
5. Turkish Identity between Islam and Nationalism
6. Turkey’s Quest for Unification with Europe
7. Reform in Islam and the Turkish Renaissance
8. Iranian Islam
9. Criticism and Countercriticism of the Gülen Phenomenon in Contemporary Turkey
Appendix: Two Poems by Fethullah Gülen
Selected Bibliography

Discusses the ideas of the most important living Muslim thinker and leader in contemporary Turkey.


Contemporary Islamic Conversations discusses the ideas of Turkey's most significant Muslim figure, M. Fethullah Gülen. Originally published in Turkish by Nevval Sevindi, one of Turkey's top journalists, this edited translation makes Gülen's work and ideas accessible to the English-speaking world for the first time. It includes interviews conducted by the author with Gülen, who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. The book explores his ideas regarding Islam and the West, Islam and violence, and religion and the future of the nation-state in Turkey and the Muslim world.

Gülen has worked hard to revive the religious tradition of the Turkish theologian Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1877–1960), and while his debt to Nursi's ideas is clear, he has a passionate interest in Islamic theology and Arabic and Turkish literature, and is also deeply interested in poetry, philosophy, sociology, and the classics in general. Gülen offers a moderate perspective on Islam, is open to interfaith and intercivilizational dialogue, and defends a notion of Islam in which Muslims are able to fully engage the world without any fear or prejudice. His community of followers has opened 500 high schools around the world, including the United States, and also owns seven universities in Central Asia and Turkey.

Nevval Sevindi writes for the daily Zaman and is based in Istanbul, Turkey. At the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi' is Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, and Abdullah T. Antepli is the Coordinator of Islamic Chaplaincy and Interfaith Relations. Abu-Rabi' is the editor of several books, including Islam at the Crossroads: On the Life and Thought of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and Islam in Modern Turkey: An Intellectual Biography of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, both also published by SUNY Press.


"…this book will be of use to those who are interested in diverse interpretations of Islam and their sociopolitical implications. " — Middle East Journal

"This compelling book provides an important analysis by a Turkish journalist with high respect for Gülen, and is edited by an excellent scholar of twentieth-century Islam who is highly regarded by disciples of Nursi and Gülen. Thus we get to hear Gülen speak for himself but with the benefit of Sevindi's contextualizing and commentary, and Abu-Rabi>'s editorial hand and judicious footnoting. " — Lucinda Mosher, author of Praying: The Rituals of Faith