Dr. John Farina is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at George Mason University where he has also previously worked as a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center. He specializes in the areas of Religion and Society, Law and Religion, and American Religious History. Dr. Farina holds degrees from Yale University (M.Div.), Columbia University (Ph.D.) and New York University School of Law (J.D.). He is currently working on The Intelligible Sphere: Religion in the Twenty-first Century, a book on religion and civil society.

” Hizmet Movement represents Islam in a way that’s, I think, very fresh and important, given our context today. … the study of Islam in America, since 2001, has gone up tremendously, which is a good thing. But still, in many circles, especially many circles right here in Washington, powerful, politically associated and affiliated people, there’s still a monolithic view of Islam, as if 1.2 billion people all think alike. It’s just an abject ignorance. You heard so many times after 9/11, “there’s never been an enlightenment in Islam.” What silliness that is. And that’s just historically and factually incorrect. But people say that, and they.. And Gülen obviously, in so many ways, counters that stereotype.”

“You shouldn’t be dependent on the state to do everything. If I want something done, why don’t I just do it? Unless there’s some specific law that’s preventing me from doing it. But often, there isn’t. And so, this is why, what civil society organizations can do. And this is what Hizmet is doing. Volunteer organizations that respond to real needs in communities. That, I see Hizmet doing.”

” The idea that religion can play a role in the social life, even in the political life, of a community by appealing to universal values is so essential. It is really right where we are now, in this postmodern world. The modern age was characterized by this bifurcation between religion and the state, faith and reason, science and religion. That’s passé now. It really is. People want to understand religion in new, fresh ways that get beyond the old dichotomies.”