Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Scholar on Islam and the Middle East Comes to PCC

On Thursday March 3rd from 3;00 - 4:30 pm, Dr. Reza Aslan spoke in the Sylvania PAC lobby. The above video is a recording of that conversation. To assist you in locating specific moments during the video, we have broken down his talk into the following parts:

  • Poem from Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East (2:09)
  • Role youth played in recent Mid East revolts (5:16)
  • Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (9:57)
  • U.S. response to Libya (14:40)
  • Egypt’s shifting relationship with Israel (17:23)
  • Notion of a leaderless revolutionary movement (22:43)
  • Gulf countries’ tactic of paying off citizens (29:05)
  • How Middle Eastern literature has shaped national identities(32:09)
  • Social stratification in Egypt (37:29)
  • Potential U.S. role in Egypt (42:39)
  • Field of comparative religions (48:00)
  • Another poem from Tablet & Pen (53:00)
  • Q &A session begins (53:44)

Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is a contributing editor at the Daily Beast. He 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 of the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues; Abraham's Vision, an interfaith peace organization; PEN USA, which champions the rights of writers under siege around the world; and he serves on the national advisory board of the Levantine Cultural Center, building bridges between Americans and the Arab/Muslim world.

Aslan's first book is the International Bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, and named one of the 100 most important books of the last 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 the just published anthology from Norton titled Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East.

Reza Aslan

Aslan is President and CEO of Aslan Media Inc, whose holdings include BoomGen Studios, a mini-motion picture and media company focused entirely on entertainment about the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora communities. Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles where he is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. (Much of this text is taken from Aslan's press release to be found at http://www.rezaaslan.com/)

Further Reading and Listening ...

The PCC Library has resources to learn more about Reza Aslan. Check out his books and other recommended reading: PCC Library resources for Dr. Reza Aslan.

In Aslan's talk at PCC, he noted that he didn't feel as if the Muslim Brotherhood was a threat to Egypt's democratic movement and western interests. Another Middle East scholar, Stanford's Abbas Milani has written a new book on the Shah of Iran. In this interview with KQED's Forum, Milani does talk about his own point of view on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood: listen to Abbas Milani KQED interview.