Asma Barlas

Professor Emerita, Politics
School: School of Humanities and Sciences

Title

Selected Op-eds

Trump and Un-Americanism.

Al-Jazeera op-ed

Al-Jazeera, January 18, 2021.

Watching the spectacle of US President Donald Trump’s supporters breaching the Capitol on January 6 in an effort to stop the Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 elections, I was reminded of a line in Joseph Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness. This is about Mr Kurtz, a British colonialist, who goes native and rogue and a little mad after he gets to Africa, with lethal consequences for the Africans. What I recalled was that “all Europe [had] contributed to the making of Kurtz”. In the same vein, I feel that all America contributed to the making of the “very American riot...”

On Freedom of Speech and "Islamist Separatism."

Al-Jazeera op-ed

Al-Jazeera, November 11, 2020.

The decision of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo to reprint the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in September incited another wave of violence in France, a repetition of what happened when these images were originally published in 2015. This time, the government responded to the attacks by projecting the cartoons on public buildings, while President Emmanuel Macron declared Islam is “in crisis” and promised to stamp out “Islamist separatism” in France.

Reprinting the Charlie Hebdo Cartoons is not about Free Speech.

Al-Jazeera op-ed

Al-Jazeera, September 10, 2020.

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is at it, again: it has chosen to republish the derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad which provoked a violent attack against it in 2015. The editors say it is “essential” to reprint these on the eve of the trial of the perpetrators of that violence.

This Ramadan: Cultivating Our Awareness of God.

ABC masthead

ABC (Australia) Religion and Ethics, April 27, 2020.

Though I agreed to answer these questions — what to resist? what to pursue? — I’d rather not tell others what to do and what to avoid since, after all, religious beliefs are very personal. Besides, saying what sorts of practices should be shunned or rediscovered suggests that life is always clear-cut, seamless and easily balanced. More to the point, while Muslims share a religious framework within which we make certain choices, we come to Islam in different ways.

Reading the Qur'an Justly.

ABC Masthead

ABC (Australia) Religion and Ethics, April 5, 2019.

Can we call a religion just or unjust, given the fact that religions don't interpret themselves ― we do? This much is obvious from the way people have interpreted the same religious texts differently. In which case, who is accountable for unjust readings: a text or its readers, or both? 

Do Men Have the Exclusive Right to Interpret the Qur'an?

picture of Tariq Ramadan and myself.

OpenDemocracy, February 25, 2019.

Several years ago, Muslim students of the Avicenna Society of Rotterdam organized a debate between Tariq Ramadan and myself about the status of Muslims in the West. In speaking about the discrimination and violence Muslim women have suffered in the name of Islam, I pointed out that the Qur’an actually affirms their equality with men.

U.S. Women's Freedom Contradicts Victimhood, The Ithacan, March 20, 2019.

Only Muslims can change their society, The Guardian, August 25, 2009.

Islam and FeminismNew Statesman, April 22, 2009.

Towards a Feminist View of Islam, The Guardian, October 31, 2008.

Hajj Permits Sexual Equality, The Ithacan, January 25, 2007.

Al-Ghazali on Theological Tolerance, The Daily Times, Pakistan, July 29, 2003.

Literature and the Imagination, The Daily Times, Pakistan, July 15, 2003.

Muslims in the US (II), The Daily Times, Pakistan, July 1, 2003.

Muslims in the US (I), The Daily Times, Pakistan, June 17, 2003.

Islam, women, and equality - III, The Daily Times, Pakistan, June 3, 2003.

Islam, women, and equality - II, The Daily Times, Pakistan, May 20, 2003.

Islam, women and equality - I, The Daily Times, Pakistan, May 6, 2003.

On Democracy, The Daily Times, Pakistan, April 22, 2003.

The Incidental Saddam Hussein, The Daily Times, Pakistan, April 8, 2003.

Determining Islamic Authority in North America [ II ], The Daily Times, Pakistan, March 25, 2003.

Determining Islamic Authority in North America, The Daily Times, Pakistan, March 11, 2003.

Religion and Our Response to Violence, The Daily Times, Pakistan, February 25, 2003.

Reforming Religious Knowledge, The Daily Times, Pakistan, February 11, 2003.

Educating the Literate, The Daily Times, Pakistan, January 28, 2003.

Morality: For Women and Girls Only? The Daily Times, Pakistan, January 14, 2003.

Religious Authorities in Islam, The Daily Times, Pakistan, December 31, 2002.

Winning the Hearts of Muslims? The Daily Times, Pakistan, December 12, 2002.

Loving Oneself to Death, The Daily Times, Pakistan, December 3, 2002.

Margins and Mainstreams, The Daily Times, Pakistan, November 19, 2002.

The DC Rally and Political Belonging, The Daily Times, Pakistan, November 5, 2002.

Ignorance of a Hegemonic Imagination, The Daily Times, Pakistan, October 23, 2002.

Qur'an as a Thematic Whole, The Daily Times, Pakistan, October 8, 2002.

The Academy, 9/11, and Renewal, The Daily Times, Pakistan, September 17, 2002.

On Interpreting the Qur’an, The Daily Times, Pakistan, September 10, 2002.

Interpreting Religion and Tradition, The Daily Times, Pakistan, August 27, 2002.

Faces of Oppression, The Daily Times, Pakistan, August 13, 2002.

Secularising Religion and Sacralising Politics, The Daily Times, Pakistan, July 30, 2002.

Traditional Ignominies, The Daily Times, Pakistan, July 16, 2002.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, The Daily Times, Pakistan, July 2, 2002.

Hostile Intent: the Elisions of War, The Daily Times, Pakistan, June 18, 2002.

The Uses (and abuses) of Muslim history in Understanding Islam, The Daily Times, Pakistan, June 6, 2002.

The Secular Commitment to ‘Islamic Fundamentalism’, The Daily Times, Pakistan, May 21, 2002.

The Intelligentsia’s Self-inflicted Dilemma: A response to Ejaz Haider, The Friday Times, May 10, 2002.

The Political is Personal, The Daily Times, Pakistan, May 5, 2002.

Will the ‘Real’ Islam Please Stand Up? The Daily Times, Pakistan, April 23, 2002.

Trauma, Lies and Exceptionalism, The Daily Times, Pakistan, April 8, 2002.

Why Do They Hate Us?

Photo of a burning effigy of George W. Bush

Ithaca College Quarterly, No. 4, 2001.

It is deeply upsetting to contemplate that the United States should go to war with large segments of what we misleadingly call "the Muslim world" --- I say misleadingly because the Muslims live in the same world as everyone else does, and just like other religious groups, the world’s one billion Muslims belong to different races, cultures, and ethnicities, not to mention differing religious and political persuasions.

And yet there is a tendency to think of us (Muslims) as one homogenous whole, which then leads so many people to regard the actions of 20 men as somehow constituting a "Muslim" response to the United States. And yet the fact is that the vast majority of Muslims has condemned the actions of these 20 men.