What does being Muslim in the United States mean today? U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East greatly affects the everyday relations for Muslims living in the United States. How does our foreign policy shape the identity of Muslim Americans or put their identity in crisis?
Scholar and author Reza Aslan discusses Islamic identity in the United States, how the U.S. media portrays Islam, and to what extent the media factors into the formation of identity and stereotypes.
Reza Aslan is a writer and scholar of religions.
Born in Iran, Aslan is currently a research associate at the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy. He was a visiting assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Iowa and the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction at the Iowa Writer's Workshop.
A frequent commentator on television, radio, and in print, Aslan is a graduate of Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of Iowa. He is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam and How to Win a Cosmic War: Why We're Losing the War on Terror.
Jonathan Curiel is a journalist in San Francisco. He is the author of 'Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots.
"If you are looking for a new revolution in Iran, you can stop holding your breath now because it's not going to happen," says religious scholar and author Reza Aslan. However, Aslan does predict dramatic political change on the horizon.
His advice to the United States? Stop isolating Iran.
Originally Posted by rkm
He's wrong. Language and culture is what divides us, not religion. Religion divides groups of countries or continents. No christian has to go to church on a regular basis in order to satisfy Aslan's definition. By saying "christian", he is combining Catholic, Baptist, Mormon, Anglican, etc. all into one convenient group, christian. It took centuries for these sects to evolve and now he has genericized christianity. I don't agree and I'm not even a bible thumper...
If Reza Aslan is combining Catholic, Baptist, Mormon, Anglican, etc. all into one convenient group, christian, so are the Chsiratisn doing to the Muslims. But Reza Aslan was talking from the perspective of the point he wanted to make, not of ignorance.
Aslan is very much like Karen Armstrong. They both have a background in fiction and they apply those skills astutely to promoting Islam.
Sure 95% of women in Iran are literate, perhaps, but there is a big difference between being able to read and being well read. Islam promotes a submitted slave mentality. One is to become a "slave of Allah". Islam means literally submission.
Aslan suggests knowing Muslims. One example I can think of is a 30 year old woman I met from Morocco. She's been to University there studying French grammar so she also would have been through their equivalent to our high school system. She seemed quite intelligent but I was shocked by her lack of developed logic and critical reasoning skills.
She sent me links to these silly opinions by imans. One of them tried to excuse slavey in Islam (which was bigger than America approved by the Quran and which some imans are now trying to bring back). Another claimed that there were over 20% more women than men so polygamy benefited women else some would never get married.
I looked up the stats on population. Across the world the difference is more like 1% more for women than men and it's also 1% for Morroco. She couldn't understand that the iman was illogical. She'd been inculcated to accept islamic authority.
This brain-dead submission is why we see no invention in the Islamic world, and little curiosity -- they say that there are more books translated into Spanish every year than have been translated into Arabic in the last 1000 years.
Aslan is a skilled polemist. He shows everything is sweetness and light with Islam. We have nothing to be concerned about.
Before you make your mind up about Islam take in various opinions, for example:
I started to study Islam about 4 years ago because someone attempted to interest me in converting. He was thinking because I'm a firmly committed atheist and a cultural Christian that surely Islam's irresistible truth would overcome my skepticism regarding organized religion. He was wrong. But I knew little about Islam and took this invitational opportunity to rectify that ignorance. And I'm still at it...because it's a fascinating subject and it's very,very topical.
As to this bit with Reza Aslan, my bias is thus: I've found that no one really speaks for Islam. Since the disappearance of the Caliphate in the 16th century, Islam hasn't really had any central authority. I have repeatedly heard that this is perfectly acceptable since the unexpurgated Quran is truly their only authority.
Good program. Aslan is a popular scholar and he is a "flavor of the month" type for representing Islam to American non-Muslims. Zhudi Jasser,MD is a better resource. My impression is that Reza Aslan is a media savy, pretty-boy lightweight but he often says absurd things. He sounds rather professorial to me. One thing I would bet on is that each one of these well-groomed, well-spoken, public orators on the "Islam For Dummies" Circuit is on the hit lists of 250 million jihadis on the other side of Gates of Vienna.
I did enjoyed this lecture, though I have to say, I disagree with a great deal of it. I still find religion disgusting, including moderate religion (sometimes even more so), such as I understand Mr. Reza Aslan is speaking about. He is a very good speaker and I'd liked this lecture. He is right though, about the views on religion. It is a very complicated thing, as are most things in human history and culture, and generalizations about it are often wrong. And, though I strongly disagree, I am glad to see an intellegent person arguing, even if he isn't on my side of the debate.
Great stuff. I think Reza's ability to speak about such difficult issues with such ease is uncomfortable for many people. But to get people to think and arrive a deeper level to what is really driving their belief, one has to make them uncomfortable with ease. I think you can see that happening with some of the people who have commented below. At the end of the day he is a thinker who is making us all think and that is amazing in this day and age. I just discovered a new online forum that Reza and his partner have launched called www.boomgen.tv on a huffpost article.
These guys are doing amazing work.