“A Christian’s perspective on the Islamic notion of Service” – Dr Jon Pahl book launch

On Tuesday the 3rd of September, the AIS proudly hosted a book launch for author Dr Jon Pahl and his newest publication Fethullah Gulen: A life of Hizmet. Pahl, a Pastor and devout Christian, gave his perspective on the Islamic notion of service.

Jon Pahl is a religious historian and award-winning teacher who received his PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Dr Pahl has written numerous books covering a wide range of religious topics.

In his latest book, Fethullah Gulen: A Life of Hizmet, Dr Pahl draws on extensive interviews from supporters and critiques alike, getting to know Fethullah Gulen himself and providing unique access to his beliefs and teachings.

Pahl sat down with the AIS to discuss the launch of his book and answer questions from the audience on his experiences and views. Dr Pahl’s rare insight into the teachings of Gulen, as well as his supporters and critics, allowed for a well-balanced authorised biography and conversation.

Topics discussed included the notions of altruism and hoşgörü, literally translated as tolerance, and what this means for Turkish and global society.

The evening was moderated by Barney Zwartz, former religion editor at The Age, and included insights from Professor Greg Barton, Research Professor and Chair of Global Islamic  Politics at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation.

Speaker bio
Jon Pahl is a historian of American religions and the history of Christianity, a public theologian, and an award-winning teacher, musician, and community activist. He received his B.A. from Valparaiso University, M.T.S. from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Dr. Pahl has spoken with audiences at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Stanford, Yale, Princeton and many other academic venues around the globe, in addition to his work as a youth minister, lay preacher, administrator, Board member, and teacher in many diverse congregations and agency settings. He is writing a book with the title A Coming Religious Peace?, and a biography of the controversial Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, under the working title Fethullah Gülen as Peacebuilder: A Life of Hizmet. He lives on a lake in Clintonville, WI with his wife of 35 years, Lisa, and he maintains an apartment in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park neighborhood. He enjoys gardening, spending time with his extended family and friends, and sitting in on the sax with jazz, gospel, and r and b bands.

For more information on Dr Jon Pahl and book launch see the video and photos below.