Mar 082010
Authors: Ryan Sheine

Unyielding wars, cosmic planes and spiritual conflicts are a few of the topics Reza Aslan, an Islamic studies and creative writing professor at the University of California, Riverside, will discuss in the LSC Theatre today.

Aslan will give a lecture about his book “How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the end to the War on Terror,” including exploring the conflict between jihadist Islam and the West, wars in the Middle East and Iranian-American relations.

Stephanie Tanny, contemporary issues assistant coordinator for the Association for Student Activity Programming, said that through his extensive research Aslan, “brings a really unique perspective.”

Tanny said Aslan views the War on Terror in the Middle East as unwinnable because it’s a war between spiritual ideologies on a cosmic plane being fought with earth as a battlefield and cosmic wars cannot be won on an earthly plane.

Aslan will be at CSU for two days giving lectures, answering questions and signing copies of his book.

Starting at noon on Wednesday, March 10, Aslan will be in the Braiden dining center where students are encouraged to come visit him and ask questions during lunch.

“It’s an informal setting,” Tanny said. “Students can just drop by.”

Jamal Kamandy, a self-described Persian Islamic and liberal Muslim, who is also executive board member for Young Americans for Liberty, said a unique perspective is a refreshing idea.

“The majority of people, their attitudes toward Islam and Muslims are based on what the media tells them and usually the media demonizes Islam and Muslims,” Kamandy said.

Kamandy said students should hear Aslan’s lecture because he will challenge the preconceived notions that everyday Americans have about Islam.

“The perception of the majority of people toward Islam tends to be very negative, and most of them haven‘t really experienced or spoken to a Muslim ever before so they have a lot of prejudice,” he said.

Phillip Gatchell, a senior landscape architect major, said students should be interested in an alternative perspective, “because I believe all views are relevant and deserve a voice no matter who it is from or how outlandish it is.”

“I have never heard any liberal Muslim views before,” Gatchell said, “The maintstream media does not provide that point of view.”

Staff writer Ryan Sheine can be reached at

The Event
Who: Reza Aslan, professor of Islamic Studies and creative writing at the University of California Riverside. Author of “No God but God: the Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam” and “How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the end to the War on Terror.”

What/When: Aslan will be giving a lecture on today at 7:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre. Aslan will be in the Academic Village Dining Hall starting at noon on Wednesday for students to stop by and ask questions while eating lunch.

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