Many people are of the opinion that our world faces a crisis, a clash of civilizations, from which we are unlikely to recover. However, Turkish born educator, scholar and advocate for peace Fethullah Gulen believes that through education, tolerance, and dialogue, peace can be achieved. Gulen has spoken of what he calls peace islands in an analogy describing his non-violent, cooperative ideas about conflict resolution. The perceived clash of civilizations may come in waves of violence and anger throughout the world, but once these waves reach these peace islands, they will retreat with the tide leaving the islands unscathed. Gulen ideals provide the blueprint for these islands. This collection as a whole attempts what each individual paper proposes: a dialogue rooted in tolerance that accounts for the unique histories and assumptions of each member involved. Proper interfaith dialogue requires first an encounter between two or more individuals, then a willingness (rooted in tolerance) of each individual to engage with the other. This definition of interfaith dialogue is central to Gulen's writings, and indeed to the focus of this collection of papers. Each author relates to Gulen's ideas in a unique way, offering a diversity of perspectives that gives true dialogue its vibrant energy.
About the Author: Virginia Burnett, PhD, is the Associate Chair of the History Department at the University of Texas, USA. She received her PhD in History from Tulane University and has been on the faculty at the University of Texas since 1990. She is author of Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit: Guatemala Under General Efrain Rios Montt, 1982-1983 (Oxford, 2010); Viviendo en La Nueva Jerusalem (Guatemala: Editorial Piedra Santa, 2009), Protestantism in Guatemala: Living in the New Jerusalem (University of Texas Press, 1998). She has also edited On Earth as it is in Heaven: Religion and Society in Latin America (Scholarly Resources, 2000) and co-edited with David Stoll, Rethinking Protestantism in Latin America (Temple, 1993). Currently, she and Paul Freston are co-editing the Cambridge History of Religion in Latin America. Yetkin Yildirim, PhD, is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, USA, and the Vice President and founding member of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog. He is the co-editor of The Ottoman Mosaic (Cune, 2010). His Islamic Perspectives on Spirituality in Childhood and Adolescence, appeared as a chapter in Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World's Religious Traditions.