Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Education and Dialogue in the Gulen Movement

James Harrington speaking at
Pacifica Institute, Salt Lake City
On Feb. 25, 2012, James Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project and Adjunct Professor at the School of Law in the University of Texas, Austin spoke at the Pacifica Institute for the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable’s Interfaith Month celebrations. Mr. Harrington spoke about the Gulen Movement and how to build civil society. James Harrington is also the author of Wrestling with Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Democracy in Turkey: The Political Trials and Times of Fethullah Gulen, This event was covered in detail by the Hizmet Movement Blog and can be read in its entirely here.

“[Education] is the great leveler in the United States,” said Harrington, harking to mind that Fethullah Gulen started his movement in Turkey in the 1980s as an education and service movement. He created schools that served as alternatives to the Madrassa schools and allowed girls to get an education. Gulen schools are tolerant, ecumenical and interfaith. They use the examples of their teachers to teach children how to be good people regardless of the children’s faith.

Harrington says that the United States could learn from the Gulen Movement to engage in dialogue again. “We are not engaged right now as a society in dialogue,” he said. “It is awful what is going on.”

Harrington also says that the United States needs to develop and teach narratives about the country’s values and leaders. Stories focus on one detail of a person’s life and philosophy and miss the rest of what that person did to get there and what they believed in beyond that one point.

He noted that on Martin Luther King Day, the U.S. focuses on the “I Have a Dream Speech” and doesn’t talk about his stand for peace or his Beloved Community ideal. Talks about Christ tend to focus on His time on the cross and not his healing and caring that He did during His ministry.

No comments:

Post a Comment