Kecia Ali

Associate Professor of Religion

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Ph.D., Religion, Duke University

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Kecia Ali (Ph.D., Religion, Duke University) held research and teaching fellowships at Brandeis University and Harvard Divinity School before joining the BU faculty in 2006. Her research addresses Islamic religious texts, especially jurisprudence; women in both classical and contemporary Muslim discourses; and religious biography. Her books include Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith,… Read more

Kecia Ali (Ph.D., Religion, Duke University) held research and teaching fellowships at Brandeis University and Harvard Divinity School before joining the BU faculty in 2006. Her research addresses Islamic religious texts, especially jurisprudence; women in both classical and contemporary Muslim discourses; and religious biography. Her books include Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence (2006), Marriage and Slavery in Early Islam (2010), and Imam Shafi‘i: Scholar and Saint (2011).  Her current project explores Muslim and non-Muslim biographies of the Prophet Muhammad, with particular attention to modern thinking about his marriages and personal life. She serves as co-chair for the Study of Islam Section of the American Academy of Religion

In the Media

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  • Sex and sharia: Islamic erotica is fine – if it’s sold virtually

    May 4, 2015

    Haaretz Kecia Ali, College of Arts & Sciences Though Muslims’ attitudes to sex are as diverse as those in any other global religious community, the image of contemporary Islam is certainly not sexy… Expert quote: “The discourse of Islamic authenticity has had a stifling effect on intra-Muslim debates about sex and sexuality.” View full article

  • Experts Media Alert – White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

    February 13, 2015

    The White House will hold a “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism” on February 18. According to a statement from the White House press secretary, the summit will “highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups in the United States and abroad to commit […]

  • In LA, Women Build A Mosque Where They Can Call To Prayer

    February 1, 2015

    NPR “Weekend Edition Saturday” Kecia Ali, College of Arts & Sciences A women-led mosque held its first jumma’a, or Friday prayer service, in Los Angeles this week. The group is hoping to strengthen the Muslim community in America by empowering the faith’s women… Expert quote: “The Women’s Mosque is one of a number of initiatives towards […]

  • Where Are Pakistan’s Female Muftis And Islamic Scholars?

    January 31, 2015

    Mintpress News Kecia Ali, College of Arts & Sciences “I have a problem. My husband said ‘talaaq’ (divorce) to me thrice in one sitting. Everyone says the divorce is final now although he revoked his decision within hours… Expert quote: “It is easier to perpetuate male authority and to cite men (even on ‘women’s issues’) […]

  • Many Views Of Muhammad, As A Man And As A Prophet

    October 20, 2014

    NPR “All Things Considered” Kecia Ali, College of Arts & Sciences The Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was one of the most influential men in human history — but there’s little we can say about his life with historical certainty. The details of his life have been debated and manipulated ever since he walked […]

  • Whose Sharia is it?

    May 27, 2014

    Feminism and Religion By Kecia Ali, College of Arts & Sciences It has been a lousy month for Islamic law. First, there was the kidnapping and threatened sale of Nigerian girls by Boko Haram, which claimed religious acceptability for their acts. As Muslim theologian Jerusha Lamptey opined, this is not my sharia… View full article by expert Kecia Ali

  • Hollywood Protests Against Owners Of Beverly Hills Hotel

    May 11, 2014

    NPR “Morning Edition” Kecia Ali, College of Arts & Sciences The hotel is part of a group owned by the Sultan of Brunei. The Southeast Asian country has enacted laws based on strict interpretations of Islam that impose restrictions on women and gays… Expert quote: “If his ordinance provokes a protest from the people who […]

  • Brunei’s Horrific New Penal Code — And Why It Matters

    May 11, 2014

    WBUR “Cognoscenti” By Kecia Ali, College of Arts & Sciences Hollywood protests over Brunei’s new “sharia” penal code have caught the public imagination. It’s a depressingly familiar story: a repressive government aims to squash dissent while bolstering its Islamic credentials… View full article by expert Kecia Ali

  • Hollywood’s snub of Brunei-owned hotels over sharia law: Will it backfire?

    May 6, 2014

    Christian Science Monitor Kecia Ali, College of Arts & Sciences As Hollywood celebrities join protests against the imposition of sharia criminal law in the tiny nation of Brunei, scholars and activists alike hope that this becomes more than just another “selfie” moment for high-profile glitterati… Expert quote: “Sharia is a term that gets tossed around […]

  • Child Marriages Rise Among Syrian Refugee Girls

    May 28, 2013

    The Atlantic Kecia Ali, College of Arts & Sciences Nine Syrian refugee women gather in the living room of a house on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Jdeideh in the Bekaa Valley, close to the Syrian border… Expert quote: “Often, we think of child marriage as a practice of hardened patriarchs who give […]

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