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3 May 1972
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|Alma mater||Santa Clara University
Harvard Divinity School
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Iowa
|Organization||Aslan Media Inc.|
|Notable work(s)||No God but God|
|Relatives||Leila Forouhar (aunt)|
Reza Aslan (Persian: رضا اصلان; born May 3, 1972) is an Iranian-American writer and Scholar of religions. He is on the faculty at the University of California, Riverside, and is a contributing editor for The Daily Beast. His books include the international bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, and named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. It was also shortlisted for the Guardian First book award. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War, published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in a Globalized Age. He is also editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, published by W. W. Norton, and co-editor with Aaron Hahn-Tapper of Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities, published by Palgrave Macmillan. Aslan is CEO of Aslan Media Inc., whose holdings include BoomGen Studios, the first ever motion picture studio entirely focused on entertainment content about the Greater Middle East and its globally dispersed communities. His non-profit organization, Aslan Media Initiatives (AslanMedia.com), uses social-media technology to provide news and information about the Middle East to young people all over the world.
Aslan is currently President and CEO of Aslan Media Inc., whose holdings include BoomGen Studios, a mini-motion picture and media company focused entirely on entertainment about the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora communities. He lives in Hollywood, California where he is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. In addition, he is a Research Associate at the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy.
Aslan's family came to the United States from Tehran in 1979, fleeing the Iranian Revolution. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the early 1990s, Aslan taught courses at De La Salle High School in Concord, California.
In August 2000, while serving as the Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Aslan was named Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Iowa, becoming the first full-time professor of Islam in the history of the state. After the September 11 attacks, Aslan put his expertise of the Middle East to work for both the university and the greater Iowa community by traveling throughout the state speaking to public and private organizations, businesses, churches, mosques, and universities. His efforts in Iowa received national attention in such periodicals as USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Education and writings
Aslan holds a Bachelor of Arts' degree in religions from Santa Clara University, a Master of Theological Studies' degree from Harvard Divinity School, a doctorate in the sociology of religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Fine Arts' degree from the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He has served as Legislative Assistant for the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington D.C., and was elected President of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, Harvard Chapter. He serves on the board of directors of the Ploughshares Fund, PEN Center USA, and serves on the national advisory board of the Levantine Cultural Center.
As Contributing Editor, Aslan has written articles for The Daily Beast. He has also written for various newspapers and periodicals, including The Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Slate, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The Guardian, the Chicago Tribune, and The Nation. He has made numerous appearances on TV and radio, including National Public Radio (NPR), PBS, The Rachel Maddow Show, Meet the Press, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, Anderson Cooper 360°, Hardball, Nightline, Real Time with Bill Maher, Fareed Zakaria GPS, and ABC Australia's Big Ideas.
War on Terrorism
Aslan refers to Al Qaeda's jihad against the west as "a cosmic war", distinct from holy war, in which rival religious groups are engaged in an earthly battle for material goals. "A cosmic war is like a ritual drama in which participants act out on earth a battle they believe is actually taking place in the heavens." American rhetoric of "war on terrorism", Aslan says, is in precise "cosmic dualism" to Al Qaeda's jihad. Aslan draws a distinction between Islamism and Jihadism. Islamists have legitimate goals and can be negotiated with, unlike Jihadists, who dream of an idealized past of a pan-Islamic, borderless "religious communalism". Aslan's prescription for winning the cosmic war is to not fight, but rather engage moderate Islamic political forces in the democratic process. "Throughout the Middle East, whenever moderate Islamist parties have been allowed to participate in the political process, popular support for more extremist groups has diminished."
- 'The Struggle for Islam's Soul', essay in With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty, Will Marshall, ed. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006.
- 'From Here to Mullahcracy', essay in My Sister, Guard Your Veil; My Brother, Guard Your Eyes: Uncensored Iranian Voices, Lila Azam Zanganeh, ed. Beacon Press, 2006.
- 'Forward', Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions, Catherine Bell, Oxford University Press, 2009.
- 'Losing the War', The New World Reader, Gilbert H Muller, ed., CUNY Press, 2010.
- 'Preface', Reframing 9/11: Film, Popular Culture and the War on Terror, Jeff Birkenstein, Anna Froula, and Karen Randell, eds. Continuum, 2010.
- 'Preface'. Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal, Amarnath Amarasingam, ed. Brill, 2010.
- Reza Aslan - Bio
- Interview: Reza Aslan, Author "No god but God" - Page 3 - Blogcritics Books
- Review: No God But God by Reza Aslan | Books | The Guardian
- Islam's pulse in the US | GulfNews.com
- The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam; New Edition (2011)- as declared by the publishers, Arrow books (Random House Group Ltd)
- Military Religious Freedom Foundation -- Reza Aslan
- Interview: Reza Aslan, Author "No god but God" - Blogcritics Books
- ABC Australia's Big Ideas, Talk with Tony Jones "Reza Aslan: Terrorism and How to Win a Cosmic War" published on 1 Jun 2010. Retrieved on 6 Apr 2012
- The Washington Post "Book Review: 'How to Win a Cosmic War' by Reza Aslan", published on 28 Jun 2009. Retrieved on 6 Apr 2012.