Date: April 12, 2010, 7:30 pm
Location: IMU Main Lounge

One of the world's most respected experts on Islam and the Middle East, best-selling author Reza Aslan is the vision behind Aslan Media Inc., a technology-based enterprise dedicated to reaching out to the massive, global market of Muslim communities. Aslan Media's multi- platform ventures include BoomGen Studios, the first ever motion picture studio entirely focused on entertainment content about the Greater Middle East and its global Diaspora communities;, the world's first social networking site devoted to the global Muslim community; and Appovation, a mobile application company geared towards the needs of an increasingly technologically-savvy global Muslim population.

An internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, Aslan is also a contributing editor for The Daily Beast and has degrees in Religions from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, 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.

Aslan's first book is the New York Times Best- seller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award in the UK, and nominated for a PEN USA award for research Non-Fiction. His most recent book is How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror, followed by an edited anthology, Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, which we will be published by Norton in 2010. Aslan is currently at work on his upcoming book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, a biography of Jesus, which will be released in Fall 2011.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy, Aslan's writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The New York Review of Books, Prospect Magazine (UK), Slate and The Nation. Aslan has appeared on Meet the Press, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Dennis Miller, Hardball with Chris Matthews and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He also serves on the board of directors for both the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues, Abraham's Vision, an interfaith peace organization, and PEN USA.

At the podium, Aslan masterfully explores the intricate interplay faith and politics in the rapidly growing Muslim world. A brilliant thought leader with keen insight into trends, growth and change affecting global Muslim communities, Aslan offers perspective into navigating the terrain of doing business in the Middle East. Considered the primary source for news and insight into Iran and Iranian- American relations, Aslan seamlessly integrates extensive research and experience into his presentation, shedding light upon the future of diplomacy and foreign policy in the Middle Eastern region.

One of the most prolific scholars on religions, Aslan also discusses the variety of ways in which religions "from Islam to Judaism to Christianity" have been understood and interpreted throughout history. At a time when religion and politics are increasingly sharing the same vocabulary and functioning in the same sphere, Aslan draws upon his best-selling books and upcoming biography of Jesus to illustrate the dramatic role religion plays in modern life.

Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles where he is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.