Asma BarlasPoliticsAsma Barlas
Equality of Women in Islam and How Muslims Interpret and Live the Qur'an/Koran


Asma Barlas is an expert on the equality of women in Islam and how Muslims interpret and live the Qur'an/Koran. Her challenges to widely accepted patriarchal interpretations of the Qur'an were cited in a "Newsweek" article on the controversial Dutch feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who renounced her Muslim faith after the 9/11 attacks. Barlas can discuss images of Islam in media, hate crimes against Muslims, the history of military rule in Pakistan and democracy in India. A native of Pakistan, she was one of the first women to join the Foreign Service and later became assistant editor of a leading opposition newspaper. In the 1980s she came to the United States, where she received political asylum. She is director of the Ithaca College Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity, and in spring 2008 she held the prestigious Spinoza Chair at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Her most recent book is "Islam, Muslims and the U.S.: Essays on Religion and Politics."

Research Focus

  • Comparative and International Politics
  • Islam and Qur'anic Hermeneutics
  • Women and Gender

Curriculum Vitae for Asma Barlas


University of Denver, Colorado
Ph.D., International Studies, 1990

University of Denver, Colorado
M.A., International Studies, 1986

University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
M.A., Journalism, 1971

Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, Pakistan
B.A., English Literature and Philosophy, 1969