Dr. Pandya specializes in women, religion, and globalization. She received her BA from UC Berkeley in Near Eastern Studies/Arabic, and her MA and PhD from UCSB in Religious Studies, with a focus on women and Islam. She co-edited the book titled The GulenHizmet Movement and its Transnational Activities: Case Studies of Altruistic Activism in Contemporary Islam.
Dr. Pandya describes the Hizmet Movement as an “admirable new religious movement” and “humanitarian civil society movement” that seeks to “get rid of the boundaries” that separate groups from one another and instead “be able to draw boundaries around all humankind. In fact, not just humankind but animal-kind, all creations of God…”
Referring to Hizmet’s projects and operation of service as “inclusivist” rather than the “exclusivist and boundary-drying projects” which have dominated the discourse for a long time, Dr. Pandya comments, “It does make me proud as a Muslim, as a scholar of Islam, and also as a religious studies scholar to be able to see these inclusivist projects.”
She says, “This is the attempt to celebrate all of humanity. I think that’s why Hizmet is different from other religious groups.”
[Full transcript: ‘Hizmet is the attempt to celebrate all of humanity’]