Saturday, March 21, 2009

Reza Aslan...Worth Checking Out

"They must strive to obtain, from sources that are authoritative and unbiased, a sound knowledge of the history and tenets of Islam -- the source and background of their Faith -- and approach reverently and with a mind purged from preconceived ideas the study of the Qur'án..."

(Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 49)

For people who are interested in hearing alternative and interesting voices about Islam I'd recommend a former fellow student of mine at Harvard Divinity School, Reza Aslan. He has emerged as a major voice of what he might refer to as an Islamic Reformation. You can view him here debating Irshad Manji.

You can also visit his website.

Here is his bio:

Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is a fellow at the University of Southern CaliforniaÕs Center on Public Diplomacy and Middle East Analyst for CBS News. He is also a featured blogger for Anderson Cooper 360. Reza Aslan 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. 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 the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues, AbrahamÕs Vision, an interfaith peace organization, and PEN USA. AslanÕs first book is the New York Times Bestselling, 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 next book, How to Win a Cosmic War will be published by Random House in April of 2009, followed by an edited anthology, Words Without Borders: Contemporary Literature from the Muslim World, published by Norton 2010. Aslan is cofounder and creative director of BoomGen Studios, a hub for creative content from and about the Middle East, as well as the Editorial Executive of, an on-line community for Muslim youth. Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles where he is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at University of California, Riverside.


  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I am a Baha'i and---without mentioning any names---always seriously wonder about what is REALLY going on when anyone who is a Moslem converts to Christianity, which is like a Christian becoming a Jew. Since one of the basic tenets of Islam is to accept Jesus as the Christ, then what benefit is there in becoming baptized on in any other way, becoming a Christian, since you already believe and accepts the teachings of Jesus? Is it to obtain a green card? Is it to get homeland security off your case? Is it to get fundamentalist Christians off your back? If so, I understand it---I don't agree but I understand how this could explain a strange, illogical conversion story.

  4. Do you know what Reza Aslan's opinion about the Baha'i Faith is? As a Persian, he should probably have a very informed idea, I would think.

  5. Anonymous9:30 PM

    Dr. Aslan is a brilliant scholar.
    He deserves to be a Baha’i.
    If he chooses to accept the Baha’i religion, he will be one of the most appreciative one of this new faith.

  6. Anonymous2:53 AM

    Regarding Aslan's thoughts on the Baha'i Faith:

  7. Anonymous4:05 PM

    I read his thoughts on the Baha’i faith.
    I see his tremendous spiritual and mental capacity.

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