Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Road to Saylorsburg - Gülen and the Golden Generation

For more than a decade, one of the world's most influential and controversial Muslim leaders has been convalescing on 26 acres in the Pocono Mountains.
In Ross Township - not far from the Blue Ridge flea market, a giant corn maze dubbed Mazezilla and a go-kart speedway - you will find a small metal sign bearing the name of the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center.
It is here that Fethullah Gülen, 68, lives.
Gülen is an ailing Turkish cleric whose vision of an Islam that embraces science, education and interfaith dialogue has earned him millions of followers - and the suspicion of many in Turkey's secular establishment.
To his supporters, Gülen is the face of a more contemporary and tolerant Islam.
But his critics perceive Gülen's benign face as a mask - one disguising an Islamist wolf in a moderate sheep's clothing.
"To his detractors," wrote Piotr Zalewski, a journalist who lives in Turkey, "he is the second coming of Ayatollah Khomeini, his avowedly peaceful movement hiding a nefarious secret agenda to transform secular Turkey into another Iran."
But does Gülen truly pose a threat to national security? And what is so prominent a figure - he was named one of the most influential Muslims alive by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center and the world's leading public intellectual by the readers of Foreign Policy magazine - doing in northeastern Pennsylvania?
To read the full article by Dan Berrett (Pocono Record Writer), please click here:

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