The Middle East in Literature

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reza Aslan, associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, and author of No God But God, discusses the new anthology he edited, Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East.


Wednesday: Reza Aslan at Barnard Hall: "Park 51 Reevaluated: Reza Aslan on Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism"

Thursday: Reza Aslan reading at Asia Society: "Tablet and Pen, A New Anthology of Literature from the Middle East"


Reza Aslan

Comments [19]

gaetano catelli from Oxford, Mississippi

if America deals with dictatorial regimes, it's at fault for "supporting" dictators. if it doesn't, then it is "isolationist" in provincially refusing to "engage" with countries not like our own.

is there anything America isn't to blame for?

Nov. 15 2010 07:58 PM
gary from queens


please read:

To understand why this is not about muslim hatred. Muslims who are truly moderate have no mainstream islamic institutions to embrace. None. They are the most oppressed. But we non-muslims pay for that oppression as well.

To claim that Al Qaeda does "not represent Muslims anymore than people who murder abortion providers or bomb clinics represent Christians" shows ignorance of the koran, Islamic doctrine, and mainstream islamic jurisprudence which accepts the most attrocious Shariah laws (political commandments from the koran).

Nov. 15 2010 06:10 PM
gary from queens


You must have your head in the sand, or some darker place perhaps?

Just google for thousands of more links. But start here:

"In Europe, it caused hundreds of attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions over the last three years."
-----by Obama Supporter Abe Foxman from
-----click on any nation in europe.
----"The CST recorded a record number anti-Semitic attacks carried out against UK’s Jewish community last year – 924 in 2009 up 55% from 546 in 2008."
----"The latest French government figures show 510 anti-Jewish acts or threats in the first six months of 2004 - compared to 593 for all of last year."
----"The Community Security Trust (CST), a UK-based organization that monitors instances of anti-Semitism, has reported as many attacks in just the first weeks of 2009 as in the entire first six months of last year."


Nov. 15 2010 06:02 PM
Adrienne from NY

To be clear, I certainly do not mean all Muslims everwhere are our enemies. But isn't it true that part of this controversy has to do with the fact that Muslims from the Arab world, who do belong to various terriorists groups have attacked us? I just think there is more to this than ethnic prejudice like what Jews, blacks etc...have faced here in the US

Nov. 15 2010 03:01 PM

to adrienne from upper west side

MUSLIMS have not attacked us. We have been attacked by TERRORIST GROUPS, like Al Queda and the Taliban. They do not represent Muslims anymore than people who murder abortion providers or bomb clinics represent Christians. Furthermore, many, many Muslims speak out against violence. But you choose not to hear.

to gary from queens

Where are you hearing that hundreds of Jews in Europe have been maimed or killed by Muslim immigrants? Please cite your sources. People all over the US are objecting to mosques being built and I doubt it has as much to do with 9/;11 as it does the current ugly trend of Islamophobia. First it was the Catholics, then the Jews, now the Muslims.

Nov. 15 2010 01:34 PM
Paul from NYC

To the paranoid: As Mr Aslan pointed out, discourse around certain events has created phony "issues" of us-against-them, this time historically targeting and demonising the "nation of Islam" as a whole -- as if a whole people could be against the US or the Western world! -- which is patently ridiculous since so many different kinds of nationalities and races (hence a cultural kaleidoscope of different identities) are Islamic. Would all their brains be conditioned in the same way? Flawed human assessment likes to construct an "enemy" and then fill out the picture by selectively connecting certain dots and not others.

If your brain is truly working (and please check on that, don't assume!) it couldn't possibly arrive at a conclusion that the entire world of Islamic people are our enemy. However, if it does -- and if it does so about any people at all -- then what makes you think you can legitimately participate in a democracy?

Instead of indulging in unchecked emotion-based nonsense, it would be better for each person to ask some hard questions. Rather than asking (about 911) "how could they do that to us?" one should be asking "what did we do to deserve it?" The answer might be interesting.

Nov. 15 2010 01:17 PM

jgarbuz from Queens, I think you're being way too modest in your conspiracy theory. Liberals are being Islamised, Barbara Streisand is a liberal, ergo Muslims are corrupting us with musical theater.

If everyone who disagrees with you doesn't think your paranoid, you're essentially capitulating.

Nov. 15 2010 12:15 PM
adrienne from upper west side

I believe that Americans fear Muslims of the due to the fact that they are our sworn enemy and they have attacked us and even recently there have been incidents generated by people living here in the US. Hindus for instance, don't seem to have the deapth of problem Muslims have. I think its really dishonest to say Americans don't like Muslims out of mere prejudice. We are at war with the Muslim world and any kind of denial on that is just dishonest. Would any Muslims here speak out against a suicide bombing perpretrated by Hezbolah in Israel? Get Honest

Nov. 15 2010 11:46 AM
gary from queens

This is classic!! Columbia sponsoring a forum on "anti semitism and park 51."

In other words, Jews are being attacked in europe (and the middle east too) now. Hundreds being killed or maimed by muslim immigrants. it's causing the largest jewish migration from europe since the holocaust.

And Columbia juxtaposes THAT, with survivors of 911 attacks finding it insensitive to build a mosque at ground zero because the sponsors support Shariah law---the same philosophy that was used to justify the attack on Americians on 911 and all attacks since then.

What will be the subject of their next symposium: Why Adolph Hitler and my Uncle Morty in Hoboken didn't like Jews?!

Conservatives find the moral equivalence by liberals breathtaking, especially when it comes to Jews and Israel.

Nov. 15 2010 11:44 AM

log in; then they can't steal from u

Nov. 15 2010 11:43 AM

To the other fraudulent jgarbuz:

Left wing liberal Jews are being Islamized the way many Jews in the Land of Israel ("Palestine") were Islamized and Arabized after Umar invaded and took in in 638 AD. They are choosing voluntary dhimmitude. Sad, but true.

Nov. 15 2010 11:33 AM
Alicia from Tribeca

You rock, Reza! Why is it okay to hate Muslims in this country? I say it's NOT. I say build your mosque ANYWHERE it's permitted by zoning.

Nov. 15 2010 11:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

How can someone steal my user name as has the previous poster who used my name? Is that another example of stealing Jewish writing?

Nov. 15 2010 11:28 AM
Amy from Manhattan

When I worked for a medical journal, one article came in from an institution (whose name I can't remember) in Saudi Arabia. On the letterhead was the quote: "The ink of scholars is more precious than the blood of martyrs. --Muhammad." I hope Reza Aslan's book will help to spread an image of Islam that's more in keeping w/that quote than the current one.

Nov. 15 2010 11:25 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

There are no Jewish people at NPR. Brian Lehrer is not Jewish. Diane Rehm is not Jewish. Ira Glass is not Jewish. Robert Siegel is not Jewish.

Nov. 15 2010 11:23 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

What no Israeli writing going in the Middle East? Since ancient times, Jews have been major contributors, the Hebrew Bible being submission number one. Once again, the Jews are bring written out of Middle Eastern history. What else can one expect from NPR these days?

Nov. 15 2010 11:17 AM
Omar K.

Sorry, Alsan: that's not great prose. Maybe it sounds better in Persian.

Nov. 15 2010 11:16 AM

We love you, Professor Aslan. Thank you for your work as a public intellectual. You reach many people you'll never know, and never know of. Don't let this dark time in our culture (American culture) discourage you.

Nov. 15 2010 11:14 AM
C. Tennyson from Ridgewood, NY

I'm going to going to Egypt in a month. I always like to try to read the literature of wherever I happen to find myself. Can your guest recommend one or two Egyptian books to read?

Nov. 15 2010 11:11 AM

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