Last modified: 2014-07-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of Milli Görüş - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 February 2007
Islamic Community Milli Görüş is one of the biggest Turkish associations in Europe. It was founded in Germany in 1971 as Türkische Union Deutschland (Turkish Union Germany), renamed in 1976 Milli Görüş and eventually in 1994 Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş. The association has 26,500 members and owns 300 mosques in Germany. It claims a membership of 300,000 all over Europe and has branches in France, the Netherlands and Austria. Smaller branches also exist in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. Because of its links with Turkish Islamist parties, Milli Görüş is often portrayed as a screen organization controlled by fundamentalist Muslims, but it seems to have evolved recently in a less radical manner.
Quoting Martin van Bruinessen, University of Utrecht:
In 1975 the Turkish politician Necmettin Erbakan published a manifesto that he gave the title Milli Görüş, The National Vision. It spoke only in the most general terms of moral and religious education but devoted much attention to industrialization, development and economic independence. It warned against further rapprochement towards Europe, considering the Common Market to be a Zionist and Catholic project for the assimilation and de-Islamization of Turkey and called instead for closer economic co-operation with Muslim countries. The name of Milli Görüş would remain associated with a religio-political movement and a series of Islamist parties inspired by Mr. Erbakan, one succeeding the other as they were banned for violating Turkey's laik legislation. Following the ban of the Virtue (Fazilet) Party, a rift that had been developing in the movement resulted in two parties taking its place, the Felicity (Saadet) Party representing Erbakan's old guard, and the Justice and Development (AK) Party led by younger and more pragmatic politicians around Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who claim to have renounced on a specifically Islamist agenda. The AK Party convincingly won the 2002 elections and formed a government with a strong popular mandate, that brought Turkey closer to acceptance for membership in the European Union than any previous government had done.
Among the Turkish immigrants in Western Europe, Milli Görüş became one of the major, if not the major, religious movement, controlling numerous mosques. Like the movement in Turkey, it went through some remarkable changes, not least because the first generation, which was strongly oriented towards what happened in Turkey, is gradually surrendering leadership to a younger generation that grew up in Europe and is concerned with entirely different matters. Milli Görüş public profile shows considerable differences from one country to the next, suggesting that nature of the interaction with the host societies may have as much of an impact on its character as a religious movement as the relationship with the mother movement in Turkey. This is a strong argument for studying this and similar movements in comparative perspective and taking the context of the host societies explicitly into account.
Ivan Sache, 18 February 2007
The flag of Milli Görüş, made of the emblem of the association, can be
seen hanging on a wall, together with a Turkish national flag and a
smaller flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1992 version, on a picture
published by the Bosnjaci.net webzine on 2 March 2006.
The emblem of Milli Görüş is made of a green square with a white border, in which is inscribed a white disk showing a map of Europe in green and a white crescent with a green border, sharing its left border with the white disk. Below the green square are placed the black letters "IGMG" on a white field.
Ivan Sache, 18 February 2007