Multicultural Mosaic Foundation in Aurora, and interfaith/ intercultural dialog foundation, is inspired by Hizmet movement of Turkey. American intellectuals talk about the movement.
Atlas of Thoughts (Fikir Atlasi) connects the scholars, politicians, jurists, religious figures, journalists, and academics reflecting on Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet Movement with the audience. Each episode features a person from a different segment of the society with diverse experiences regarding the Hizmet activities and its volunteers.
Rabbi Lawrence Seidman earned a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. After retiring from the Boeing Company, he dedicated himself to religious and spiritual studies. Lawrence Siedman was ordained as a rabbi in 2009 by the Academy for Jewish Religion.
Rabbi Seidman describes Hizmet Movement as a bottom-up driven organization “which has gotten the principles so deeply ingrained into every member that you can talk to anybody and get the same feeling of what the commitment is to Islam, what the commitment is to doing the right things in the world, and the personal sacrifice that Hizmet members produce.”
On the subject of interfaith activity, Rabbi Seidman says, “… if you believe there is one God and you believe there are many Prophets, then you have to believe that different people understand God in different ways. … As long as we’re all trying to fix the world, we can work together. And that requires we understand each other, it requires that we realize that you are good people, they’re all good people, and we’re all trying to do God’s work here on Earth in an interfaith way.”
He regards Mr. Gulen’s advice to build schools as “superb advice” and goes on to say, “If more energy was focused on building schools and less on fighting with other religions and less on building big temples and cathedrals, we’d have a much better world.”
Dr. Lawrence Geraty is a Professor of Archaeology and Old Testament Studies at La Sierra University in Riverside, California. He served as the second President of La Sierra University. He completed his PhD in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology at Harvard University.
Commenting on the “warped” perception of Islam in the Western world due to acts of terrorism and disruption of society, Dr. Lawrence Geraty regards the Hizmet Movement as an important factor in correcting those misconceptions. He says, “… I don’t know of any group within Islam that has done more to counteract the extremist kind of views that are prevalent in Western society about Islam.”
Appreciating the Hizmet Movement’s emphasis on interfaith dialogue, Dr. Geraty notes that he is attracted to the fellowship of those who are willing to listen to and learn from the views of others and adds, “… in that process, society learns lessons and stands on issues that improve it; and we learn to live with one another in peace and tranquility; and we learn that through discussion and dialogue we can achieve the goals that we have in a way that’s constructive and not destructive of the relationships. So, I really think that the future of the human race lies with those who are willing to talk to each other rather than fight with each other.”
“I think that the future success of society depends on people like the Hizmet Movement and its adherence.
“Expressing his distress over the recent turn of events in Turkey, Dr. Geraty says, “I’ve been jealous for Turkey’s success and full of admiration for what it’s accomplished and I hope it’s not moving in the other direction now.”
“… the sooner Turkey can get its act together and get back on track, the better it will be, not only for Turkey’s society and for society in general but for the Islamic world because they have had this model that people can look to and, all of a sudden, its reputation is being tarnished.”