2015 Ghandi King Ikeda Peace Award to Fethullah Gulen
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has been presented with a prestigious peace award in recognition of his “life-long dedication to promoting peace and human rights” at Atlanta’s Morehouse College, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s alma mater. The Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College honored Gülen with its 2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award for promoting ideas shared by the world’s leading peace and civil rights activists. Past recipients of this award include Nobel laureates Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Michael Gorbachev, as well as Rosa Parks. Representatives of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, which has presented the award since 2001, say the award is designed to promote the importance of positive social transformation by honoring “those who demonstrate extraordinary global leadership toward reconciling differences.” Alp Aslandoğan, the president of the Alliance for Shared Values — an umbrella body for US-based organizations affiliated with the Gülen movement — accepted the award on behalf of Gülen. Aslandoğan said Gülen was unable to come to the award ceremony due to his medical condition. “I am humbled,” Gülen said in a statement read by Aslandoğan after he received the award. “I can only accept this award on behalf of the participants of the Hizmet movement who devoted themselves to serving fellow humans without expecting anything in return,” Gülen said. Hizmet — which means “service” in Turkish — is used interchangeably to refer to the Gülen movement. Gülen hailed sympathizers of the movement scattered across the world in his powerful statement, recognizing educators who defy sub-freezing climates thousands of miles away from their homes and those who continue to keep their schools open in northern Iraq despite the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), a notorious group of militants that overran large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria last year.