In 2013 the Gülen sympathizers organized a first big national event under the name of SANAT, Stichting Aanmoediging Nederlands Art Talent, Foundation for Promoting Dutch Art Talent. It is more or less concentrated around local networks of Gülen people, probably close to the Cosmicus Schools. It can be seen as a preparation for the annual 'Olympic Musical Performance' which brings together Gülen friends for a musical festival, promoting peace, religious understanding and harmony in Istanbul. Some of it is shown in the movie Selam (2013, see the book Gülen-Inspired Hizmet in Europe, page 42).
This year there will be two sessions in the Netherlands: the smaller one for about 400 people was in the new audience hall of the Peace Palace in the Hague 21 April. Another event will be in the great theatre Doelen of Rotterdam, mid May.
Quite many people from the Gülen family were known to me, like politician Alaatin Erdal, Dialogue centre leader Alper Alasag, leader of the Dutch edition of Zaman, Mehmet Cerit. HOGIAF Business leader Adem Kuncu had come from Brussels.
A few members of the national parliament give a talk (two from the socialist party, one from the Christian Democrats). Vecih Er, president of the SANAT organisation spoke a word of welcome. He praised the sponsors and emphasized that this was meant as an intercultural Dutch event, promoting harmony. This is true, although I saw it also as the yearly warm meeting of the Gülen family. Some outsiders also were seated in prominent places. One of these was Muhammad Sini, a big name in Dutch-Moroccan organizations. He was twelve years the director of a great vocational school in Utrecht. Now he is working with the ministry of Justice for the national police. He was some 15 years ago also involved in the planning of the academic training of imams. At that moment I was defending an initiative of cooperation between Utrecht University and the Islamic University of Rotterdam. It had no chance due to political decisions, to give the money for this academic training and education to Leiden University and to the Free University of Amsterdam. In fact, both initiatives are now closed and the Islamic University of Rotterdam is still flourishing with quite many students. Also in Utrecht academic study of Islam continues, but the cooperation that was not wanted by Sini (and the minister of education) never developed further.
There was a song on a text by Yunus Emre. Four boys and three girls gave a very lively dance performance. There was also one Indonesian singer, Wulan, a small girl of 12 years, still finishing now her primary school. She sang a lyric by Adele about love:Rolling in the deep ... There's a fire starting in my heart ... you had my heart inside of your hands.. Notwithstanding her youth she was one of the best singers and probably therefore played neary last (only a Turkish comic, singing in Dutch, coming after her).
I heard that the major sponsor of this evening, a Supermarket and restaurant owner in Rotterdam, now faces much difficulties because Erdogan supporters in the Netherlands no longer want to buy in his shops because he is known more or less as 'siding with Gülen'. Also the Dutch edition of Zaman has since a few months less income through advertising because Turkish business people hesitate to be connected to him.
Thank you, Vecih Er for organising this already during four years!