Author to speak on teachings of Turkish Muslim advocating unity

By Ashton Smith

Peter Berres considers talks like the one author Jill Carroll will give tomorrow important in the quest of finding bridges and similarities among cultures in a “dangerously volatile world.”

“This event will address the real meaning of Islam and its commonality with Western religions and humanity,” said Berres, an advisory board member for the Interfaith Dialogue Association.

Carroll is the author of “A Dialogue of Civilizations: Gülen’s Islamic Ideals and Humanistic Discourse,” a book that looks at the teachings of contemporary Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen, said Mehmet Saracoglu, president of the IDO. Gülen is “open to dialogue and an advocate of coexistence and friendship” among different cultures, said Saracoglu, a mining engineering graduate student.

The IDO is sponsoring the event, which takes place tomorrow at 4 p.m. in the W.T. Young Library auditorium. A book signing will follow the speech.

Nazif Muhtaroglu, a philosophy graduate student and IDO member, wants to use the lecture as a model in approaching people of different cultures.

“Dr. Carroll argues that even the world views belonging to different civilizations could come together by emphasizing the common elements between them,” Muhtaroglu said.

Gülen’s ideas have been compared to philosophers of very different viewpoints, such as Socrates, Kant and Confucius.

“In general Dr. Carroll is making a comparative study between Gülen and well-known philosophers to create a discussion on basic humanistic subjects, such as freedom, education and inherent human dignity,” Saracoglu said.

Events like Carroll’s speech are important in the UK community, Berres said.

“Religious organizations must lead the effort in creating and continuing this effort,” he said.

Political and military means alone have not been able to end the violence between different faiths and communities, Berres said.

“The lesson of Vietnam and Iraq is that military power is insufficient to defeat an enemy which is committed to dying for their cause,” he said. “And so we need to find other ways to deal with this threat. We need to first understand them and then find the common ground we share as humans.”