Toward a Global Civilization of Love and Tolerance By M. Fethullah Gülen (New Jersey: The Light, Inc., 2004. 269 pages.)

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Yetkin Yildirim

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Abstract

This book presents the thoughts of M. Fethullah Gülen, one of the world’s
most influential Muslim scholars today. His ideas are attractive to many
people because they give guidance on how to combine Islamic values with
contemporary demands. Moreover, his emphasis on interfaith dialogue has
earned him an international audience from various religious backgrounds.
Thus, Gülen’s movement has spread rapidly throughout the world with
schools, cultural and media activities, and dialogue projects.
This book is a compilation of Gülen’s writings, interviews, and
speeches that address such contemporary topics as interfaith dialogue, jihad,
Sufism, and education. Moreover, it is among the first to address the timely
issue of dialogue among civilizations. The book clearly presents Gülen’s
understanding of such a dialogue as a deliberate undertaking based upon
love, dialogue, and tolerance among people of different backgrounds.
Readers who are not familiar with the context of these ideas in Turkish history,
however, may find it difficult to follow the flow of some of his ideas.
Gülen proposes dialogue for mutual enrichment and sharing as a
solution to the “clash of civilizations” (p. 257), stating that the Abrahamic
religions, especially Islam, are against disorder, treachery, conflict, and
oppression (p. 256). His model is based on people dedicating their lives
to thought and activism for the sake of God and creation.
Both Muslims and non-Muslims can benefit from this book. The author
reminds Muslims of Islam’s teachings on dialogue, using the Qur’an and
the Hadith to show that tolerance, love, and compassion have been the main
Islamic values throughout Islamic history and signify the importance of
“reflecting God’s Mercy on themselves.” It may also help certain non-
Muslims move beyond their prejudice, distrust, and misinformation and
arrive at a deeper understanding of Islam. Gülen engages non-Muslims in ...

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