by Tazeen M. Ali

About Tazeen M. Ali

Tazeen M. Ali (she/her) is Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author of “Qur’anic Literacy as Women’s Empowerment: Cultivating Interpretive Authority at the Women’s Mosque of America,” forthcoming in Journal of the American Academy of Religion.


Religion has often been categorized as a source of oppression and constraint in public discourse. Take, for example, policy debates in the United States about curtailing women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights; in these kinds of debates, particularly in progressive responses to these debates, religion is typically associated with justifying oppression. In reality, however, both religious and secular frameworks can and have been utilized with great success to advance all manners of subjugation and violence, whether through oppressive foreign and domestic policies, discriminatory laws, or military interventions.