“LOVE IS A VERB” is the first feature length documentary about the Turkish Muslim Leader, Fethullah Gulen and the movement he inspired. By: Erica Howes

Intercultural Dialogue Institute screens Love is a Verb
“Love is a Verb” is a documentary film by Terry Spencer Hesser documenting people living the idea of love is a verb through their work in “Hizmet“, a social movement inspired by Islamic scholar and teacher, Fethullah Gulen. The movie premiere screened at the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto, Carlton University Ottawa , Montreal, and other major cities in Canada.Love is a Verb documentary movie produced by Terry Spencer Hesser, an Emmy award winner.
“Love is a Verb” is a documentary highlighting the life and work of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic scholar from Turkey. Gulen inspired the “Hizmet” movement, named for the Turkish word for service. The Hizmet movement, often called the Gulen movement, focuses primarily on education, interfaith and intercultural dialogue and humanitarian outreach.
The need for interfaith dialogue is important now more than ever, according to panelists at a discussion following the Love is a Verb documentary screening last week hosted by Ottawa’s Intercultural Dialogue Institute. The documentary told the story of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim who started the transnational Hizmet movement in the 1960s that promotes interfaith education. Since then, the Gulen movement has built schools, hospitals and launched media agencies in over 100 countries.
The Carleton classroom was packed with about seventy attendees of all ages and faiths Feb. 5 to see the Love is a Verb screening about the Gulen movement and hear a panel featuring David Selzer, executive Archdeacon of the Diocese of Ottawa and Catherine Clifford, theology professor at Saint Paul University.
Following the movie, Selzer and Clifford launched into discussion about the importance of interfaith dialogue and what this means for various faith communities. “It’s troubling that many think it’s more intelligent to be an atheist than a person of faith,” said Clifford, adding how she has seen new atheism promoted as propaganda in a secular society.
Although she said it’s “easy to say religion can cause violence,” she emphasized the importance of interfaith peace, an aspect that she said needs to be discussed more. Selzer agreed it’s “important to be open-minded, regardless of beliefs.” When asked by a young attendee how to make a difference in the world, Selzer said the answer is evident from the Gulen movement and the essence of the film.
“Don’t do it by yourself. The gift of relationship in a community is powerful,” he said, and judging from the turnout to the event, he said he must not be the only one who thinks this way. Vusal Babashov, President of Intercultural Dialogue Institute-Ottawa, said the Gulen movement has “inspired millions across the globe,” and said he hopes it continues with attendees leaving the event feeling motivated to initiative interfaith dialogue.