Dr. Jeffrey Lyon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Hawaii. He holds an M.A. in Hawaiian Language and Literature, from the University of Hawaii and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Lyon has worked in biblical and early Christian literature and has recently been working on 19th century Hawaiian language texts. Previously, he worked as a senior system analyst for a large financial firm in California.

“I don’t think I’ve ever run into a current day religious movement that impresses me more than Hizmet. I saw firsthand a number of their activities in Turkey. I went to Turkey skeptical. I came back from Turkey with most of my skepticism gone, and feeling that it was an organization that I could really get behind.”

“There are not many people who can convince people to be better than they are. And the people that I met in Turkey had been convinced by Mr. Gülen to be better human beings. To take the resources that they had and do something with them to make the world a better place. … I saw people who were moved by his influence in ways that, well, they didn’t just impress me, they thrilled me. They moved me inside.”

“Hizmet does not aim at swatting mosquitoes, it aims at drying up swamps. And I think education is the, far and away, the best way to do that. And wherever Hizmet schools are, I feel that somebody is doing something good about a situation.”

“Is Hizmet too good to be true? It seems too good to be true. And yet, I haven’t seen the dark side. I, you know, I’m not Muslim. I cannot evaluate Hizmet in terms of its approach to Islam. I can only evaluate it in its approach to me, to a non-Muslim. I haven’t seen anything I don’t like.”