Reza Aslan (born 1972 in Tehran), is an Iranian-American writer and scholar. Aslan is also a regular commentator for American Public Media's Marketplace and the Middle East Analyst for CBS News. He writes columns for The Daily Beast and many other publications.
Reza Aslan has a BA in Religion from Santa Clara University, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Iowa. He has two PhD degrees in Religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In 1998 Reza Aslan was elected president of Harvard's chapter of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, a United Nations organization committed to the cause of global understanding. In that capacity, Aslan brought U.N. Deputy Secretary Denis Halliday to Harvard for his first public appearance since resigning his post as the Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq in protest of sanctions. His speech received national attention and sparked a worldwide speaking tour. In 1999 after the consecutive nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, the W.C.R.P. under Aslan's leadership brought the ambassadors of the two countries to Harvard in order to discuss for the first time their shared nuclear future. His work with W.C.R.P. led to a position as legislative assistant for the Friend's Committee on National Legislation in D.C., where Aslan worked as a liaison to Congress on issues of arms control and the Middle East.
In August of 2000, Aslan was named Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Iowa, becoming the first full-time professor of Islam in the history of the state. In that capacity, he taught courses in Introduction to Islam, Gender and Human Rights, and Religion and Politics in the Middle East, as well as supervising theses in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the Women's Movement in Iran, and Gender Violence Laws in Pakistan.
When the Pentagon and World Trade Center was attacked in September of 2001, Aslan put his expertise of the Middle East to work for both the University and the greater Iowa community by traveling throughout the state speaking to public and private organizations, businesses, churches, mosques, and universities. His efforts in Iowa received national attention in such periodicals as U.S.A. Today, U.S. News and World Report, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Aslan is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. In addition, he is a Research Associate at the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy in Santa Monica.
He has, with Amanda Fortini, founded Detox Films, a production company founded with a number of television and film projects in pre-production.