Political commentator Reza Aslan argues that while he believes President Obama handled the election protests in Iran “perfectly,” the situation in the Islamic Republic has since changed dramatically since that time. Aslan says that political turmoil in Iran goes much deeper than the Green Revolution, and suggests “it’s a mistake to think we know who’s in charge over there.”
In June 2009, President Obama called for ‘a new beginning’ in relations between the United States and Muslim world. One year later, with no sign of an Israel-Palestine peace deal, a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, and an ongoing nuclear standoff with Iran, has the “new beginning” stalled? Is the process of engagement a long-term one? Should the current strategy be sustained?
What can politicians do to re-build trust among these communities? How much impact do foreign policy decisions actually have on individuals’ perceptions of Muslim-West relations? What is the role of media in shaping public opinion? How significant is the role of the Arab-Israeli conflict in widening the gap between communities in the US, Europe and the so-called “Muslim world”? Is progress on the Middle East front a sine qua non for the improvement of Muslim-West relations? – United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Reza Aslan is a writer and scholar of religions. Born in Iran, Aslan is currently a research associate at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy. He was a visiting assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Iowa and the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.
A frequent commentator on television, radio, and in print, Aslan is a graduate of Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of Iowa. He is the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam and How to Win a Cosmic War: Why We’re Losing the War on Terror.