CAIRO - Credited for a top-notch education system and skilled graduates, a network of Turkish schools, inspired by charismatic Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen, is seen a success story of Islamic education in the world.
"We aim to educate people about Islam and the Islamic message," Mustafa Ãzcan, board chairman of the Gulen-linked Sema Hospital Group in Turkey, told OnIslam.net.
Speaking during a visit to OnIslam.net HQ, Ãzcan said the Turkish-affiliated schools have a good reputation on the world stage.
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We are among the best schools that teach Arabic and the Qur'an, he said.
Most intellectuals cite our schools as among models in teaching Arabic and the Qur'an.
Inspired by Gulen's aim of creating a golden generation of educated Muslims, the high-achieving schools have rapidly spread across the world.
Currently, there are more than 2,000 Turkish schools in nearly 140 countries.
At the schools, students begin to learn English in kindergarten, as opposed to 4th grade in Turkish public schools.
From the 6th grade, students have the option to learn foreign languages such as Spanish or Russian.
Special preparatory centers that prepare school students for university entrance exams provide an additional advantage.
Golden Generation "We see OnIslam is playing a good job in promoting the message of Islam and in serving Muslims worldwide and we wish you success in this, Ozcan said
Ãzcan recalled efforts by Muslim scholar, Fethullah Gulen, in creating a favorable atmosphere for the school success.
Since 1966, he championed efforts to prepare the Turkish public to understand the importance of enlightening the new generations, he said, citing efforts to convince businessmen to allocate apartments to be used in educating students on Islamic principles.
Afterwards, we succeeded in building student hostels and later private schools, he said.
"Eventually, we won the acceptance of the Turkish people to raise the new generations on Islamic principles," he said.
Gulen is a charismatic Muslim scholar, author, poet and educational activist.
He is a champion of interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and opposes violence and turning religion into a political ideology.
Gulen, who is living in Pennsylvania, has authored over 60 books and many articles.
He has been the subject of several academic studies.
A recent conference was held at the House of Lords, under the sponsorship of the London School of Economics and the University of London, to study him and his movement.
In 2008, American Foreign Policy magazine placed him at the top of its list of the world's Top 20 Public Intellectuals.
Ãzcan said the Turkish schools are meeting a high demand around the world, especially in the West.
At first, Western countries were reluctant to accept these schools, he told OnIslam.net.
But eventually, they changed heart to welcome these schools, thanks to the high level of ethics and morals noticed in the school students, he said, noting that there are 30 Turkish schools in Germany alone.
In addition to education, Ãzcan says the Gulen movement has also entered into the field of publication, with different books and journals in different languages.
Ãzcan said Muslims should pursue all means of the state-of-the-art technology to draw the true image of Islam.
And we see OnIslam is playing a good job in promoting the message of Islam and in serving Muslims worldwide and we wish you success in this.
OnIslam.net is an independent website that aims at becoming a reference on Islam and Muslims-related issues for Muslims, new Muslims as well as interested non-Muslims.
It seeks to review and renew contemporary Islamic discourses and help reach common grounds among people of different faiths and cultures.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net