Assoc. Prof. James D. Frankel is an associate professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Having received his Ph.D. in Religion from Columbia University, his area of expertise is the history of Islam in China. He teaches courses in Islam, Comparative Religion, Chinese Religions, and Mysticism and has authored the book, Rectifying God’s Name: Liu Zhi’s Confucian Translation of Monotheism and Islamic Law.
” I was very much impressed in Turkey, when I saw just how wide-reaching the efforts and the operation of Hizmet was, so I find it extremely impressive. The people that I met are all very, first of all, very positive, very helpful. I mean, hizmet means “service.” I think that they’re all very, they take this meaning very literally, in providing service for people.”
” I have participated, here in Honolulu, in a number of Hizmet’s friendship dinners. Honolulu is by nature a very multicultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic place, and I think that these friendship dinners fit in perfectly with the “aloha” spirit of Hawaii. This idea of people coming together and sharing, on a very basic, human level, so I find this, also, to be very positive.”
” My experience with the Hizmet Movement is that its participants, whether they come from the smallest towns in Turkey, or the biggest cities, in different parts of the world, are very much at home wherever they go because they have this sense of a shared humanity. And to me, that distinguishes them from other civic society organizations, or civic movements, in the universality of their outlook.”
” I feel that there has been a consistency in the personalities, in the concerns of the followers of the Hizmet Movement that I have met, whether it’s in Turkey or in the United States. And I can only imagine that this is inspired by the man behind the movement. So while I don’t know Mr. Gülen personally, I do know his followers, and I’m very impressed by them. I think this is a good reflection on him.”
[Reflecting on his Turkey trip] ” The thing that impressed me the most was the morning of our departure, when they escorted us to our bus, the whole town came out to say goodbye to us, and they were genuinely sad. They were crying because we were leaving. And I felt it, too. I felt that I had made real friends, and I felt a bond with these people that I had only known for a day. And to me, that was one of the most impactful moments of my entire trip.”