Competing Frames of the Gülen Movement

The Case of Malaysia

In: Sociology of Islam
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  • 1 University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • 2 S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Blk S4, Level B4, Nanyang Ave, Singapore 639798 ismnawab@ntu.edu.sg

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This paper identifies and describes the three main competing frames of the Gulen movement, namely the moderate, tolerant and modern frame; the secretive Islamist agenda frame; and the security risk frame, which the Gülen movement’s followers, detractors and the Turkish government promoted over the span of the movement’s growth, expansion and decline. We use the identified frames as conceptual tools to analyze the development and decline of the movement in Malaysia. In our analysis, we determine the cultural and political factors that made it easier for the Gülen movement to promote its moderate, tolerant and modern frame in Malaysia; how Gülen followers and Malaysians navigated the secretive Islamist agenda frame in ways that enabled the Gülen movement to operate in Malaysia; and the Malaysian response to the security risk frame that was promoted by the Turkish government, which eventually curtailed the movement’s activities in Malaysia.

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