Peter Kovach is a retired senior diplomacy officer who served in Yemen, Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan, Japan and Pakistan. As an interfaith activist, he advises and serves on the boards of Al Bashir Islamic Seminary and George Mason University ‘s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. He has taught world religions at UMass Boston and courses on public diplomacy at UCLA and GMU. Mr. Kovach also served previously as the Director of Office of International Religious Freedom at US Department of State.
“…. one of the emphasis in Imam Gulen’s teachings that I think really underlies a lot of the work of the dialogue organizations and education, social service, media, business, is this idea that all humans are fundamentally alike and that the ultimate membership in this world created by God, or Allah, is human.”
” In terms of Hizmet drawing in a wide variety of people in this country from different religious traditions, I would say, is that I’ve never for a minute felt like anyone at a Hizmet gathering was trying to proselytize me or turn me into a Muslim.”
” I think Hizmet’s emphasis on education is extremely important in this world. In our country right now, we’re having a general breakdown of our lower education system. Our universities are still terrific, but we’re having a crisis.
I think one of the things people feel schools are not doing is teaching critical thinking, whether it’s in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math field or in the Literature and Social Science. And the Gulen-inspired schools do exactly that. They teach people how to critically think. ”
“…. , I think, for us Hizmet really, sort of reinforces the kind-of American church-state, mosque-state balance so it’s comfortable for us in this country. We don’t feel threatened at all by the fact that it’s inspired by the teachings of a Muslim imam.”