In the second part of this interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the Turkish Islamic scholar discusses the Arab uprisings, the Sunni–Shi’ite sectarian tensions in the region, radicalism, and conservative Islam
London, —The Arab uprisings, which were long in the making but caught everyone by surprise, are now in their fourth year. It remains as difficult today as it was four years ago to reach conclusions about developments that have brought both hope and despair to a region in crisis. For those most sceptical of the turmoil unleashed by the toppling of a series of dictators, the revolutions that have rocked the Arab world are still at risk of being hijacked by conservative Islamic forces.
While there are moderate reasons for optimism, for example in the case of Tunisia where it all started, the war in Syria has become a human tragedy of huge proportions. The spillover of the conflict into neighboring Lebanon and Iraq, the wave of refugees, and the involvement of various regional actors are threatening to plunge the whole region into chaos. Bashar Al-Assad’s determination to hold on to power has turned Syria into the main stage of Sunni–Shi’ite sectarian tensions today, and a golden opportunity for jihadists and would-be jihadists around the world. Amid increasing radicalization, the region’s diversity is in danger and minority groups and women fear as never before about the future.
Fethullah Gülen, who has spent most of his life thinking, teaching and writing about the place of Islam in the modern world, shares his thoughts on all these matters in this second part of his interview with .