To further its pursuits of interreligious dialogue, the Gulen movement has created the Intercultural Dialogue Platform as a project of the movement’s Istanbul-based Writers and Journalists Foundation. The IDP has been particularly active in sponsoring and organizing “Abrahamic” dialogues with high-ranking representatives of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The Gülen movement also organizes associations for the promotion of interreligious activities at the local and regional level, such as the Cosmicus Foundation in the Netherlands, the Australian Intercultural Society in Melbourne, the Friede-Institut für Dialogue in Vienna, the Interfaith Dialog Center of Patterson, New Jersey, Houston’s Institute of Interfaith Dialog, and the Niagara Foundation of Chicago, and, here in southern California, the Pacifica Institute, all of which take independent initiatives toward promoting interreligious understanding and cooperation.
The 21st Century saw a further expansion of the educational activities of the Gülen community as it moved beyond the boundaries of Muslim-majority regions into China, Western Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. An important but not exclusive focus was the education of migrants from Turkey and other Muslim countries.
Here the pedagogic approach adapted to local needs. In many parts of Western Europe, economic and bureaucratic obstacles prevent the movement from opening and supporting new schools,so called “Gulen Schools“, and, moreover, in these regions, the movement usually encountered a high level of education. The educational task became not so much one of competing with the existing national school systems, but that of ensuring that immigrant Turks and others would have an adequate educational background to be able to compete and succeed in the government schools.
Thus, in many parts of Western Europe, the Gülen community has focused on weekend classes and tutorials aimed at supplementing the instruction given in the state schools and at preparing for standardized exams.
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