Rev. Dr. Walter H. Wagner is an adjunct professor of Church History, New Testament, and World Religions at Moravian Theological Seminary and at the Lutheran Theological Seminary. He teaches courses about Islam for 25 years. He was ordained in the Lutheran church for 52 years. He is the author of “Beginnings and Endings: Fethullah Gulen’s Vision for Today’s World” and “Opening the Qur’an: Introducing Islam’s Holy Book”. He received the Muhlenberg Empie teaching award, and the Interfaith Dialogue award from the Lehigh Dialogue Center.
“I think Hocaefendi’s most important contribution is in the willingness to see God at work throughout the world, regardless of religious commitments. He is a devout Muslim. No question about that. He stands well within the Islamic spectrum. He’s right smack in the middle of it. Neither too extreme on either side, but right smack in the middle.”
“It seems to me that the image of Islam that is presented by the number of students I have had, where I have been in homes of persons, with dinner here in the United States, as well as in Turkia, that I perceive a gentleness of spirit. A sincerity. They are, the persons that I have been with, perhaps are even so kind in their judgments, I certainly wouldn’t be as kind as sometimes that they are.’
“Within some other groups, I do get around to Christian congregations, making presentations on Islam. And the usual questions that I will get are, “why do they hate us? Why do they want to kill us?” And I can say, “who? Who is doing this to you? Not the people that I know.” And to present Hocaefendi’s views, to present those positions, his quotations, that Islam, you cannot be a Muslim and be a terrorist.”