Translocal Ethics: Hizmet Teachers and the Formation of Gülen-inspired Schools in Urban Tanzania

In: Sociology of Islam
Kristina Dohrn Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany,

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The Gülen Movement (GM) is one of the most dynamic religiously inspired movements in the world today. Constituting a globally active, translocal community with a strong center in Turkey, GM-affiliated actors are primary players in shaping the educational landscapes of countries around the world. The emergence of Gülen-inspired schools (GISs) in urban Tanzania is reflective of the GM’s global reach. Different from other faith-based educational institutions, GISs like Feza Schools in Dar es Salaam do not explicitly promote Islam. However, an Islamic belief and conduct is the base on which actors of the Gülen Movement shape their lives as teachers or administrators in school, as well as the background for founding and supporting them. Hizmet teachers at the Feza Girls’ Secondary and High School (FGSHS) are translating the Islamic background of the GM’s educational engagement into a moral formation of the students that is framed in universal terms. Looking at the teachers’ translocal practices and motivations, it becomes clear that at GISs religion, ethics, and education are closely intertwined.

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