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Scholars discuss Fethullah Gülen’s thoughts

World-renowned Muslim spiritual leader Fethullah Gülen has taught people how to live together despite their differences, Jill Carroll from Rice University said while speaking during a panel discussion on the role of Gülen at the Dialog Forum Foundation in Denmark on Tuesday.
In conjunction with Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen, the Dialog Forum Foundation brought Danish and American scholars together to discuss Gülen’s contributions and his ideas on the art of living together. Carroll, who wrote a book about Gülen titled “A Dialogue of Civilizations: Gülen’s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse” in 2007, took part in the event. Carroll’s presentation attracted a great deal of interest. More than 100 influential guests from a wide range of fields attended.

Speaking before the start of the event, Dialog Forum Foundation Chairman Mustafa Gezen said they organized the panel discussion to increase awareness about the well-known Turkish intellectual in Denmark. “As they have elsewhere in the world, Gülen’s ideas will provide the means for the integration of people in this society and contribute to peace in Denmark,” Gezen said.

Beginning her presentation by talking about how she came to know about Gülen, Carroll said everything began after two doctoral students invited her to visit Turkey. “I have visited many cities in Turkey in order to understand Fethullah Gülen and have conducted research on the teachings of Gülen,” she explained.

Noting that thousands of people are impressed by his ideas, Carroll said Gülen is a scholar who teaches people how to live together. She stressed that Gülen’s approach is unprecedented. “We cannot be the same. We cannot even be similar. However, we have to live together in this world. Gülen shows us how we can live together in peace,” Carroll said.

Speaking to the Cihan news agency following the panel discussion, University of Copenhagen student Adrian Jensen said that if Gülen’s ideas had been widespread before, there would have been no caricature crisis in Denmark.

20 March 2010, Emre Oguz // Copenhagen

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