Book Review: M. Hakan Yavuz, John L. Esposito (eds.), Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gülen Movement

Ramazan Kilinc, University of Nebraska at Omaha


Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gülen Movement, edited by Hakan Yavuz and John Esposito, appeared on time when there is an increasing interest in Islam’s engagement with the West and modernity. The global surge of so-called religious violence on the one hand, and the increase of liberal Islamic voices from all over the Muslim world on the other, requires a deep analysis of the contemporary Islamic movements. The Gülen movement is a good occasion for such an inquiry. The movement, led by Fethullah Gülen, has been one of the most vivid Islamic movements in the last decade. The movement has established a transnational education network, and led many interfaith dialogue activities all over the world. The transnational activities of Fethullah Gülen and his movement have been the subject of many academic works in the recent years. However, Turkish Islam and the Secular State, by bringing twelve contributors together, provides a comprehensive analysis of the movement. Although various chapters in the book examine different aspects of the Gülen movement, we may distinguish three main themes that the contributors revolve around: explaining the formation and rise of the Gülen movement, the Gülen movement’s engagement with modernity, and the movement’s relationship with its constitutive individuals, the surrounding society and the nation-state.