Sunday, November 13, 2:00 p.m.
Panel discussion with Dr. Reza Aslan, Wajahat Ali, Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq, moderated by Angie Coiro
Dr. Reza Aslan, internationally acclaimed writer, multi-media entrepreneur and co-founder of BoomGen Studios, joins playwright, lawyer and humorist, Wajahat Ali, and authors of 30 Mosques in 30 Days, Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq's, for our panel discussion.
Dr. Reza Aslan is Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the premier entertainment brand for creative content from and about the Greater Middle East and President of AppOvation Labs, a mobile applications company. Born in Iran, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife (author and entrepreneur Jessica Jackley) where he is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.
Dr. Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is the founder of AslanMedia.com, an online journal for news and entertainment about the Middle East and the world. Reza Aslan 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 educational, conflict transformation organization for Israeli and Palestinian youths; PEN USA, which champions the rights of writers under siege around the world; and the Levantine Cultural Center, which builds bridges between Americans and the Arab/Muslim world through the arts.
Wajahat Ali, local playwright, lawyer and humorist is joined by Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq's, authors of 30 Mosques in 30 Days.
Wajahat Ali's play, "The Domestic Crusaders" is one of the first major plays about the American Muslim experience premiering at the the Berkeley Repertory Theater to universal acclaim in 2005 and in New York on 9-11-09. Honored both as an "An Influential Muslim American Artist" by the State Department and as a "Muslim Leader of Tomorrow", Ali also received the prestigious "Emerging Muslim American Artist" award. He is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and other publications. His first short story, "Ramadan Blues," was published in January 2009 and his first movie, "Ms. Judgments," was a finalist for the LinkTV Muslim American Film Contest. His blog, "Goatmilk: An Intellectual Playground" (goatmilk.wordpress.com), is ranked in the top 7% of political blogs by blogged.com. Wajahat practices law in the Bay Area, California.
Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq are the co-creators of 30 Mosques in 30 Days, a Ramadan road trip adventure across the United States. Using Facebook and Twitter to fundraise over $18,000 for the project, the two have driven over 25,000 miles to every state with the mission of telling authentic stories about Muslims in America on their site, www.30mosques.com
. During the trip they have prayed inside the infamous "Ground Zero Mosque" hung out with Muslims in Alaska and Hawaii and visited the first mosque ever built in the U.S. in Ross, North Dakota - a town with only 48 people.
They have told the stories of several refugees who fled their homes in Africa, Asia and Europe to settle in the U.S., a Singaporean woman who traveled across the globe to marry an incarcerated prison convict in South Dakota, a Native American Muslim who grew up on a Sioux reservation among others. Their eye-opening journey explores what it means to be Muslim in America today, and serves as a powerful counter-narrative to the media's image of a monolithic Islam, receiving coverage on ABC News, CNN, BBC, Time, PBS, NPR, Fox News, the Huffington Post and Aljazeera English.