With prejudice and intolerance toward Muslims on the rise both in the United States and Europe, The University of Toledo’s Imam Khattab Lecture offers an opportunity to promote a better understanding of Islam and the Middle East. This year’s speaker is a candidate uniquely qualified for the job.
This year’s free, public lecture will be held Wednesday, April 1, at 7 p.m. in Nitschke Hall Auditorium. A reception will follow in the Brady Engineering Innovation Center.
Aslan is the author of a number of books, including Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam and How to Win a Cosmic War. Zealot recently was picked up by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to be turned into a feature film.
He is a creative writing professor at the University of California in Riverside and serves on the board of trustees for the Chicago Theological Seminary. He is also the founder of AslanMedia, a social network focusing on news and entertainment about the Middle East, and the co-founder and chief creative officer of BoomGen Studios, an entertainment brand for creative content from and about the Middle East.
At the lecture, Aslan will focus on the growing number of young adults in the Middle East and their increasingly vocal campaign for greater rights and opportunities. This young generation vastly outnumbers its elders; 75 percent of the population is younger than 35, and 50 percent is younger than 25. In countries like Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria, young people’s views stand often in stark contrast to those of the ruling elite. Aslan will discuss what motivates these young people and how they will affect the future of the Middle East.
“This is a timely discussion,” said Dr. John Sarnecki, UT associate professor and chair of philosophy and religious studies. “With what’s happening with ISIS and what’s happening with the demographic change in the Middle East, the talk is topical, it’s political, and it’s also helping us understand the world from a perspective of people who do not often have a voice in our media.”
This talk is part of the Center for Religious Understanding’s annual lecture series, which has been active for more than a decade. Aslan will be available for questions and a book signing after the lecture.