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Nursi had been a month and a half in the S*ehir Hotel in Denizli when the order came from Ankara that he was to reside in the province of Afyon, still in western Anatolia, to the northeast of Denizli. A letter dated July 31, 1944, written by the Denizli businessman Hafız Mustafa Kocayaka to Sadık Demirelli, who had sent Nursi some Kastamonu rice, states that Nursi had left that day in the company of a police inspector. He was in good health and content at the prospect of the move. The government had ordered that he be given the generous traveling allowance of four hundred liras.1 Nursi was put up in the Ankara Hotel in Afyon for two to three weeks and then ordered to settle in Emirdag. Thus, he arrived at this small provincial town set in high rolling hills in the second half of August 1944. It was to be his place of residence for the next seven years, till October 1951, except for the twenty months he spent in Afyon Prison from January 1948 to September 1949. Since it was in the month of Sha‘ba\n that he arrived in Emirdag¨, it was before the date of August 21, on which the month of Ramad≥a\n began that year. Introduction The first three and a half years of Nursi’s stay in Emirdag¨ saw an intensification of his struggle with the forces that equated secularism with irreligion. Up to this time these forces had felt themselves to be in an unassailable position in Turkey. The acquittal in Denizli had taken them entirely by surprise; in the the words of one writer, it came like a bombshell, and they did not know what had hit them.2 It was a clear victory for the Risale-i Nur and religion, and a forerunner of its future victories. The fruits of Nursi’s twenty years of silent struggle were starting to show. Quite contrary to the intentions of those who had instigated the case, the widespread publicity of the Denizli trials and imprisonment of Nursi and the Risale-i Nur students led directly to a considerable expansion in activities connected with the Risale-i Nur. While up to this time activity had been mainly concentrated in two or three areas, now many thousands of people in different areas of Turkey became its students and began to serve it and the cause of the Qur’a\n in various ways. The basic aim of Nursi’s enemies was to 271 C H A P T E R 14 Emirdag¨ make both the local government and Ankara feel sufficiently apprehensive about Nursi and the Nur movement to act against them once again. One result of this was that all the attention was focused on Nursi himself, and constraints on him increased. Thus, despite the fact that he had been acquitted by Denizli Court and the Risale-i Nur had been cleared, the surveillance under which he was held was even stricter than previously, and the illegal harassment and illtreatment more severe. However, Nursi wrote to his students that he accepted this “with pride,” as it meant it was his person that was concentrated on and harassed rather than the Risale-i Nur or its other students; it allowed them to continue their service of it relatively unmolested.3 A further reason for this increase in pressure, culminating in Nursi’s arrest and detention in Afyon Prison, was related to the changing conditions in Turkey, and may be attributed to the fact that, with increased American influence after the end of the Second World War and moves toward democracy and more religious freedom, the hard-line secularists increased their attacks somewhat in desperation as they felt the ground slipping away, that up to then had felt so firm. Nursi followed up the advantage he had gained by the Denizli acquittals and the favorable impression made in official circles by the copies of the Risale-i Nur sent from Denizli. He did so by sending petitions to various high officials and members of the government informing them of the real nature of this struggle and the vital role the Risale-i Nur had to play in saving the country from the anarchy into which it was being pushed by forces working for the causes of communism and other supporters of irreligion, as well as informing them of the illegal treatment he was suffering at the hands of some...


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