The Gulen Movement is a transnational faith-based social movement inspired by Turkish Muslim scholar and preacher emeritus Fethullah Gulen. The movement dates back to 1960s and 70s, when it started as a small-scale volunteers movement. In the earlier days, the participants, following the encouragement of Fethullah Gulen, focused on opening dormitories and houses where students could have a safe heaven from the contentious political atmosphere of the decade. Later on, the educational efforts were directed to opening private schools and from that moment on, the Movement has become trademark for its private schools.
The Gulen Movement is active in education (with those private schools in almost 150 countries), humanitarian aid and interfaith dialogue; and has substantial investments in media, finance, and for–profit health clinics. The Movement has been described as a “pacifist, modern-minded and moderate example of Islam”, often praised as the contrast of extreme Salafism.
The movement has no official name but it is usually called simply as Hizmet (The Service) by its participants and is also euphemistically known as Cemaat (The Community) to the broader public in Turkey. Worldwide, it is known as Gulen Movement with a reference to its source of inspiration, Fethullah Gulen.