religion | February 06, 2013

I Am Reza Aslan, Ask Me Anything: A Discussion Of East-West Relations

The online Reddit community broke into an in-depth, but respectful, conversation about the Middle East when Reza Aslan conducted an Ask Me Anything forum earlier this week. The professor and bestselling author opened the floor for anyone on the social media site to ask him questions about, literally, anything. However, the conversation mainly centered around issues of religion, East-West relations, and foreign policy. The forum was particularly in line with Aslan's area of expertise since he often speaks to a younger generation of socially conscious, politically active, and technologically savvy individuals in his keynotes and lectures. He also answered a few lighthearted questions about his food preferences, stating emphatically that: "I could live on Tadigh alone for the rest of my life!"

Here are a few of the most provocative responses that Dr. Aslan gave during the event:

  • On the next generation of political movements: "I expect that with the next generation we are going to see a lot more politically active Muslims in the US demanding a seat at the table."                                                    

  • On having a hybrid identity in The United States: "This is one of the few countries in the world where being hyphenated is celebrated. So revel in BOTH cultures."

  • On a new ideology for the Arab world: "What I'm actually starting to see is a revival, not of Pan-Islamism, but of Pan-Arabism, thanks to the Arab Spring. There is a sense of "we are all in this together" about the revolutions and post-revolutionary experiences that is fascinating."

  • On the balance of power in the Middle East: "A safe, secure, [economically] prosperous, democratic Egypt could change the face of the Middle East forever."                                 

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