This paper investigates the relationship between an ethnic Muslim minority identity and transnational Muslim solidarity through the case study of HÜDA-PAR,1 the most organized political Islamic organization and the second-largest political party native to Southeast Türkiye. In this paper, it is scrutinized how the concept of ummah motivates the domestic/ideological, national, and transnational political discourse and initiatives of HÜDA-PAR. Based on interviews with senior members of the party, it is clear that HÜDA-PAR views “Islam as nationalism” while also adopting the ummah as a mechanism to voice the aspirations for greater Kurdish rights and interests. As a part of examining the party’s ideological position, the first section explores how ummah became an empowering notion within a national Turkish political structure. Section two illustrates the way the notion was used as a legitimizing force within the religiously conservative Kurdish social structure. The third section examines the notion’s unifying role with like-minded Pan-Islamic groups within the region they operate. The article also addresses the ambiguities that a mostly abstract and idealist ummahist approach to modern politics brings when faced with Kurdish nationalism, the regional realpolitik, and democratic pluralism.
The edited book presents multiple perspectives and a coherent research agenda characterized by an interdisciplinary approach. It is a major contribution to the literature on gender relations, in part due to its original approach to questioning binary debates such as secularization-democratization as well as Islamic exceptionalism and women’s rights. Through the case studies, the book goes beyond the Middle East to encompass analyses of the larger Muslim world. Its engagement with a broad range of comparative literature, providing rich topics, issues, and debates, makes it a fascinating read. The volume is an authoritative source of reference for anyone interested in understating the nuanced relationship between democracy, secularism, and gender in contemporary Muslim settings in an objective and comprehensive way.