Catholic scholar slams Islamic chair at ACU

A new chair in Islamic Studies at Australian Catholic University (ACU) has been blasted by a Catholic scholar of Islam who says the university is "naive" for establishing the position.

The Australian reports Fr Paul Stenhouse claims the Fethullah Gulen chair, established last November, was named for a Turkish Sufi leader now living in the US.

In last month's edition of Quadrant Fr Stenhouse said Gulen (pictured) was a disciple of another Sufi leader, Said Nursi, and alleged Nursi's goal was Islamic supremacy.

However, his comments were dismissed as "poorly written" and "not particularly well-argued", by another scholar of Islam, Monash University Professor Greg Barton.

"The Gulen movement was marked by the commitment of its members to work hard, live modestly and to serve others, which often meant donating money to worthy causes, such as education and interfaith initiatives," Prof Barton said

"Fr Stenhouse conflates this quiescent Sufism with some of the rare examples of Sufi militantism.

"For the most part, Sufis are accommodationists rather than confrontational. The Gulen movement is the antithesis of Islamist movements."

Gulen was granted a private audience with pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1998.

Catholic hits Islamic chair (The Australian 16/01/08)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic University - Fethullah Gulen Chair
Fethullah Gulen
Sakarya University: Dr Ismail Albayrak

ACU announces new Chair in study of Islam (CathNews 05/11/07)

16 Jan 2008