Dr. Dale Eickelman is a professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth College at Hanover, New Hampshire and specializes in Islam and the Middle East. He received his M.A. from McGill University and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is currently the Relationship Coordinator of The Dartmouth College-American University of Kuwait Program. Prof. Eickelman served as a member of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, between the years of 1998-2002, and has been a member of the Center for Peace Studies since 2001.
“… one thing that the Movement, I think, has done in general is to learn, not overnight, but step by step, how to reach wider audiences. Not just in Turkey, and of course, Turkey has many different communities with many different backgrounds, but outside of Turkey as well, including people who don’t know very much about Turkey or, for that matter, about Islam.”
“… The second part that has impressed me very much over time is how the Movement really proceeds. I’ll use two words in Arabic, not by da’wah, but by tamthiil, by example, where people just become good teachers and encourage the students to think seriously about education or do charitable goods, but again, with an eye to getting the job done, and showing how it can be done, and not to say, “look at me, look at me, I’m part of the Hizmet Movement.” The modesty of people associated with it, from, at all levels, is the same.”
“In my view, the Hizmet Movement is a little bit of everything, except direct participation in politics. I know that many in Turkey would not agree with me. And in Turkey, like in Eastern Europe, the Arab world, and Iran, I keep hearing, in different languages, the phrase “hidden agenda.” Unfortunately, when people are suspicious and see complex movements they don’t understand, or see something successful where they can’t understand why, an easy rationale is to say, “oh, there’s a hidden agenda.” I think a more satisfactory answer is to say that in the modern world, individuals take charge of themselves, they organize into groups that work, and they’re willing and able to be flexible and to change that organization as circumstances come along. You don’t need a central committee or direction from above. What you need is a commitment to, in Arabic I can say it, the common good, al maslahat al ammah.“