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Nov 1, 2009

Home is special for everyone. For many, it is where they were born and raised. For others it is where they earn their living. For yet others it is a combination of both. Many emigrate to other lands in search of prosperity, or at least to attain modest standards of human life. Some of these emigrants would like to leave all that reminds them of their past in oblivion, while others survive with their memories and strive hard to suppress their longing. For Gulen, home means much more than this. The homeland is a mystical country for him, and his sense of belonging does not arise simply from its familiarity, or its being his place of birth: “We are bound to our homeland with a deeper connection and fascination-when we are home, it becomes as warm as our mothers’ embrace; when we are away, we think of it with a longing for the inner riches, the unique tastes and styles, and the magical expanses.” For more on his thoughts on what a homeland stands for, you are welcome to proceed to the lead article of this issue.

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe was such a home for many different nationalities and religions when centuries ago it was Al-Andalus. Quoting from Maria Rosa Menocal, Yukseldi notes that “Al-Andalus (711–1492) was a ‘utopian-like’ society in which Jews and Muslims lived side by side in peace and cooperation in what is now Spain.” There are others who object to this argument, and in this issue Yukseldi presents a panorama of Al-Andalus, discussing the differing views of the tolerant policies Muslims held during their sovereignty.

The atheistic world view nowadays is being propagated by authors like Dawkins and Hitchens. Bayram Yenikaya confronts several of Dawkins’s arguments that he has put forward in his book The God Delusion. Is religion evil? Can we prove God’s existence and non-existence by scientific methods? Yenikaya’s article “Dawkins’ Delusion” is certainly something that must be read if these are questions that you are interested in.

Efforts devoted to exploring Fethullah Gulen’s thought and vision are gaining pace. The latest example of this is the conference in Cairo: Future of Reform in the Muslim World: Comparative Experiences with Fethullah Gulen’s Movement in Turkey. The Fountain was there to observe the three-day conference, and a report on this event is available in the following pages. For those of our readers who are interested in what is known as the Gulen Movement, this report is worth perusing, with its information on this conference that was a first in the Middle East.

Can you draw parallels between human behavior and cancer? Sebnem Unlu believes there are universally governing principles which apply in the human body as well as in our behavior. Unlu informs us that cancer cells are constantly being created, even in a healthy body, but in a healthy body they are destroyed by specialized immune cells. In a similar way, we have to correct our mistakes and sins as quickly as possible, without allowing them to grow like cancer, to destroy our moral integrity.