Multicultural Mosaic Foundation, an intercultural dialog non-profit in Aurora Colorado, is inspired by Turkey's Hizmet Movement. In this program, American intellectuals talk about Hizmet Movement. Parts1-4 are in the first episode.
Jihad Turk, a founding Board Member of Claremont Lincoln University, has been instrumental in the establishment of Bayan Claremont, a graduate school designed to train Muslim scholars and religious leaders. He previously served as the Director of Religious Affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California. His current interests include Islamic Law, interfaith relations, Islamic reform movements, and community leadership and development with a focus on youth.
In his speech, Turk focuses primarily on the ways he feels that the Hizmet Movement is contributing to today’s Muslim world and culture. He says, “As we are a minority that is misunderstood here, the efforts of the Hizmet Movement and Fethullah Gulen to help Muslims here and around the world to speak in our own voice, as opposed to being represented or misrepresented in the media, is something that we benefit from tremendously.”
Commenting on the state of Muslims today, he notes, “[as Muslims] we feel like we’re victims because of the oppression here … we have a victim mentality, that we have nothing to offer and we just kind of sit and pour and really have no hope. But, in [Hizmet Movement] there’s a focus, instead of on what’s going wrong with the Muslim world, what’s going wrong with humanity, the position and the posture is one of, “what can we do as Muslims to help make the world a better place.”
Dr. Sophia Pandya specializes in women, religion, and globalization. She received her BA from UC Berkeley in Near Eastern Studies/Arabic, and her MA and PhD from UCSB in Religious Studies, with a focus on women and Islam. She co-edited the book titled The GulenHizmet Movement and its Transnational Activities: Case Studies of Altruistic Activism in Contemporary Islam.
Dr. Pandya describes the Hizmet Movement as an “admirable new religious movement” and “humanitarian civil society movement” that seeks to “get rid of the boundaries” that separate groups from one another and instead “be able to draw boundaries around all humankind. In fact, not just humankind but animal-kind, all creations of God…”
Referring to Hizmet’s projects and operation of service as “inclusivist” rather than the “exclusivist and boundary-drying projects” which have dominated the discourse for a long time, Dr. Pandya comments, “It does make me proud as a Muslim, as a scholar of Islam, and also as a religious studies scholar to be able to see these inclusivist projects.”
She says, “This is the attempt to celebrate all of humanity. I think that’s why Hizmet is different from other religious groups.”