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University of Iowa News Release


April 5, 2010

Middle East and Islamic expert Reza Aslan to speak at UI April 12

aslanBest-selling author Reza Aslan, one of the world's most respected experts on Islam and the Middle East, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 12, at the Iowa Memorial Union Main Lounge.

The University Lecture Committee is presenting the lecture, which is free and open to the public. Aslan returns to the UI, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and was a Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He was also a visiting faculty member in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the UI.

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

In his lectures, Aslan explores the interplay of faith and politics in the rapidly growing Muslim world and offers perspective into navigating the terrain of doing business in the Middle East, according to the UI Lecture Committee. In his presentation, he also integrates extensive research and experience to illuminate the future of diplomacy and foreign policy in the Middle Eastern region. Aslan also discusses ways in which religions -- from Islam to Judaism to Christianity -- have been understood and interpreted throughout history.

Aslan's first book is the international bestseller, "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam," which has been translated into 13 languages and was named one of the 100 most important books of the past decade. 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"), and editor of an upcoming anthology from Norton titled "Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East." He 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, 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. Aslan's writing has appeared in numerous publications around the world, and he has appeared on several radio and TV news programs.

Aslan is president and CEO of Aslan Media Inc, a technology-based enterprise that reaches the global market of Muslim communities. The company's ventures include BoomGen Studios, social networking Web site, and Appovation, a mobile application company.

Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles, where he is associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Sarah Raaii, University Lecture Committee,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,