Haleh Afshar, a prominent Iranian-British professor who dedicated her career in government and scholarship to promoting the rights of Muslim women, died on May 12 at her home in Heslington, England. She was 77.
The cause was kidney disease, her brother Mohammad Afshar said.
Ms. Afshar, who was known as Lady Afshar, was the first Iranian-born woman to be appointed to the House of Lords, receiving the title of baroness. She held multiple advisory roles with the British government on gender issues and the role of Muslim women in Britain. A longtime professor of politics and women’s studies at the University of York, she helped start the Muslim Women’s Network UK and was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her efforts.
A self-described “Muslim feminist,” Ms. Afshar spoke out against the government of Iran for blocking educational opportunities for women, arguing that the regime was frightened of educated women because education enabled them, as she put it, to “read classical Arabic, access the Quranic teachings and demand their rights.”