How to Win a Cosmic War

August 13, 2009

4:30pm - 6:00pm

Santa Monica


Reza Aslan



Author Reza Aslan suggests that the best way to defeat violent Islamic extremism is to address the grievances the fuel the Jihadist movement.
What exactly is a cosmic war?

According to acclaimed author Reza Aslan, it's a religious war — a battle that participants see as a struggle between the forces of good and evil, believing that God is directly engaged on their side.

Aslan appeared at this Milken Institute Forum to discuss his latest book, "How to Win a Cosmic War," which not only examines the ideology fueling militants throughout the Muslim world, but explores religious violence in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. At a time when religion and politics are increasingly intertwined, Aslan writes that we must strip conflicts of their religious connotations and address the earthly grievances that always lie behind them.

A keen observer of the Middle East, Aslan has emerged as one of the media's most incisive analysts of the post-election crisis in Iran. In addition to discussing his book, he also shared his perspective on Iran's opposition movement and its potential implications for the region as a whole.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Aslan first came to national prominence with his first book, the New York Times best-seller "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam" (2005). He holds degrees in religion 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 a Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction.

Aslan is co-founder and chief creative officer of BoomGen Studios, a hub for creative content from and about the Middle East. Born in Iran, he lives in Los Angeles, where he is assistant professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.