By Nurdin Kaparov and Faizal Pandikkad
NEW DELHI, 18.11.2014: Indialogue Foundation (www.indialogue.in) volunteers made presentations on the teachings of Fethullah Gülen, one of the most important contemporary Muslim theologians and a leading promoter of dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and the activities of his followers (Hizmet Movement) to the second year theology students of Vidyajyoti Jesuit School of Theology in Delhi on 18 November 2014. The event aimed to introduce about M. Fethullah Gülen and Hizmet Movement, to highlight Muslim-Christian Relations, to inform about Indialogue Foundation activities in India and to foster ties with Theology students for future mutual programs.
Victor Edwin SJ PhD, Director of VIDIS (Vidyajyoti Institute of Islamic Studies) and lecturer of Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian Relations at Vidyajyoti warmly welcomed the members of Hizmet Movement amidst the students of Vidyajyoti. Edwin noted that the Hizmet movement is a civil society group inspired by Gülen’s interpretation of Sufi Islam as requiring piety motivated social activism. He emphasised that Indialogue Foundation contributes to Muslim-Christian Dialogue and peace building. He suggested that more events should be done in future to promote intercultural and interfaith dialogue and invited guests to hold more events in the college.
Mr. Nurdin Kaparov, Director Delhi Office, Indialogue Foundation made the first presentation entitled “M. Fethullah Gülen and Hizmet Movement: Education, Development and Peace”. Kaparov gave brief information about Gülen and his early years as a preacher and religious leader. He said that Gulen life was shaped by his family, Sufism and Sufi leaders and writings of Said Nursi. He shed some light on Gülen’s understanding of Islam and the solutions that he identifies for the societal problems. Kaparov indicated that the major problems which world faces today are illiteracy, poverty and polarization and described that Hizmet Movement is putting its full efforts in tackling these problems by establishing educational institutions, business houses and dialogue organizations world over in more than 150 countries.
Nurdin noted that dialogue with people of other religious traditions is very close to the heart of Gülen. He informed that Gülen personally met with many religious and community leaders, including Pope John Paul II, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos, and Israeli Sephardic Head Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron. Kaparov also briefed about the collection of books that Indialogue Foundation brought to contribute to the Vidyajyoti College of Theology Library.
Mr Vahid, Project Coordinator, Indialogue Foundation in his presentation enlightened the participants about Indialogue Foundation activities in India, its objectives, philosophies. Azizov highlighted some of the recent past events among them cultural, academic, interfaith and relief activities, study trips, contests, exhibitions, etc. Participants asked a number of questions that brought about real dialogue between the volunteers of Indialogue Foundation and the catholic students of theology. Our conversation continued around tea and snacks.