Islamic preacher honored for his commitment to humanitarianism
Atlanta, April 9, 2015 – Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College awarded its prestigious 2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award to Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen in recognition of his life-long dedication to promoting peace and human rights. The chapel has been giving a community builders prize and a peace award since 2001. Past recipients of these awards include leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Andrew Young and Archbishop Desmund M. Tutu.
In a statement presented today, Fethullah Gülen said he was humbled by the honor and accepted this award on behalf of the Hizmet participants from different nations, religions and ethnic backgrounds who have devoted themselves to serving fellow humans.
“These educators keep schools open in places like Iraq despite the ISIS threat; they provide education opportunities to girls in Nigeria and Afghanistan; doctors, nurses and humanitarian relief workers serve under dire conditions in places like Somalia and Sudan; entrepreneurs donate to charitable causes despite economic hardship.” He said in his statement: “You were kind enough to recognize their efforts and I simply accept this award on their behalf.” For his full statement, please visit: Fethullah Gülen Statement Accepting the 2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award.
The Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award was designed to promote the importance of positive social transformation by honoring those who demonstrate extraordinary global leadership toward reconciling differences. Although Mahatma Gandhi was a Hindu from India, Martin Luther King Jr. a Christian from the U.S., and Daisaku Ikeda a Japanese Buddhist, the overwhelming ethical consistency in the global reach of their philosophies and influence serve as an inspiration to all the world’s citizens.
The chapel’s dean Dr. Lawrence Carter said that the chapel will recognize Fethullah Gülen alongside photos of Gandhi, King and Ikeda in the chapel, as a Muslim representative of the same spirit. For details on the award, please visit: http://www.morehouse.edu/mlkchapel/our-work/college-of-ministers-laity/.
Fethullah Gülen’s message to “2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace Award”
I am humbled by the kindness of the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College to consider me as a recipient of the prestigious 2015 Gandhi King Ikeda Peace 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. Educators who served thousands of miles away from their homes near arctic circle in sub-freezing temperatures; those who continued to keep their schools open in northern Iraq despite the threat of ISIS occupation; those in Nigeria and Afghanistan who provide educational opportunities to girls; doctors, nurses and humanitarian relief workers who served in Somalia and Sudan under dire conditions; and entrepreneurs who compete in donating to charitable causes despite facing economic hardship themselves. These devotees of love who come from different nations, religions, and ethnic backgrounds are the ones whose work is recognized with this award.
They are the ones who seek happiness in the happiness of others. What unites them and the pioneers of human rights in Asia, in Africa, in the United States, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and all around the world is their commitment to humanity. To hold every human as dignified and to be committed to the dignity of every human is a sign of respect for their Creator.
I have always prayed to God that He would include me among these blessed individuals but never considered myself as the leader of any of them. You were kind enough to recognize their efforts and sacrifices and I simply accept this award on their behalf.
My health doesn’t allow me to join you on this meaningful occasion. But for spirits united around high human values, physical proximity is never needed for a conversation. Humbled to be included among those whose work is recognized through this award, I thank the organizing committee for their consideration.
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About Fethullah Gülen
Fethullah Gülen is an Islamic scholar, preacher and social advocate, whose decades-long commitment to education, altruistic community service, and interfaith harmony has inspired millions in Turkey and around the world. Described as one of the world’s most important Muslim figures, Fethullah Gülen has dedicated his life to interfaith and intercultural dialogue, community service and providing access to quality education.