Reza Aslan is a fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy and Middle East Analyst for CBS News. One of the nation’s most respected experts on Islam and the Middle East, he is author of the internationally acclaimed “No god but God: the Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.” Praised by the New York Times as a “grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined…literate, accessible introduction to Islam,”
In his lectures and writings, Aslan masterfully explores the intricate interplay between faith and politics in the Muslim world, presenting Islam as an ever-evolving faith and culture that is currently in the midst of a cataclysmic internal battle for reform and modernization. Drawing from “No god but God,” Aslan examines how, in the shadow of European colonialism, Muslims developed conflicting strategies to reconcile traditional Islamic values with the social and political realities of the modern world. He explains with great lucidity the different sects and schism within Islam and demonstrates the variety of ways in which the religion has been understood and interpreted by Muslims and Westerners throughout history. Aslan argues that the current conflicts in the Middle East are not the result of a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West, but rather the consequence of an “Islamic Reformation” occurring within the Muslim world, an internal struggle to define the future of this magnificent yet misunderstood faith and to harmonize its traditions and values with contemporary ideals of democracy and human rights. The first young Muslim intellectual to come on the scene in years, Aslan brings a new, passionate, and much-needed perspective to the national discussion regarding Islam.
AT A GLANCE: Reza Aslan has degrees in Religions from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and U.C. Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, 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 serves on the board of directors for both the Ploughshares Fund and PEN USA.
The New York Times best-selling, “No god but God” has been translated into half a dozen languages, short-listed for the Guardian (UK) First Book Award, and nominated for a PEN USA award for research Non-Fiction. His next book, “How to Win a Cosmic War” will be published by Random House in 2009, followed by an edited anthology, “Words Without Borders: Contemporary Literature from the Muslim World,” which will be published by Norton in the Spring of 2009.
His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The New York Review of Books, Prospect Magazine (UK), Slate Magazine, and The Nation. Since the publication of “No god but God,” Aslan has discussed the book on “Meet the Press,” “Fresh Air with Terry Gross”, “Dennis Miller”, “Hardball”, and “The Daily Show.”
Aslan is cofounder and creative director of BoomGen Studios and the Editorial Executive of Mecca.com, an on-line community for Muslim youth.
Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles, California.
In Page Speaker Search