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Photo courtesy of the Grawemeyer Award
Leila Ahmed

Leila Ahmed, Thomas professor of divinity, who studies gender and religion and contemporary Islam, has been awarded the 2013 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for her recent book, A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America. Harvard Magazine reported on her research in “The Veil’s Revival,” published in  2011.

The award, conferred by the University of Louisville and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, recognizes “highly significant contributions to religious and spiritual understanding,” and carries a $100,000 honorarium. It is one of five annual prizes in the fields of music, political science, psychology, education, and religion.

According to the prize announcement, Shannon Craigo-Snell, a theology professor at the Presbyterian seminary who directs the religion award, said Ahmed’s book “offers education, insight and hope.” Not only does Ahmed “explain the multiple meanings of the veil within the diverse traditions of Islam, but she argues that right now, in post-9/11 America, the veil is taking on new meanings in the interplay between Islamic activism and the American tradition of struggle for liberty and justice for all.”