[...] The second transnational Islamic movement to be studied is that associated with the name of Fethullah Gülen, who is simultaneously the founder, leader, and teacher of the movement. Like that of the readers of the Risale-i Nur, the Gülen community is also inspired by the thoughts and writings of Said Nursi, but there are some significant differences between the two movements.
Like Said Nursi, Fethullah Gülen was born and educated in the far eastern region of Anatolia, in the city of Erzurum. He began his career as a teacher of religion and a preacher in the mosques, fi rst in eastern Anatolia and then in Izmir. In 1958, at the age of twenty, Gülen became aware of the writings of Said Nursi, which had a formative infl uence upon his thinking.19 Another scholar has noted that the encounter with Nursi’s thought enabled Gülen to transcend the Anatolian issues that had previously dominated his thinking: “He [Gülen] became aware of Nursi’s writings in 1958, which facilitated his shift from a particular localized Islamic identity and community to a more cosmopolitan and discursive understanding of Islam. Nursi’s writings empowered him to engage with diverse epistemological systems.” (M. Hakan Yavuz, “The Gülen Movement: The Turkish Puritans,” in Turkish Islam and the Secular State, ed. M. Hakan Yavuz and John L. Esposito, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2003, p. 22)