The Aslan Media website and Social Media accounts are operated by the Aslan Media Initiatives team. With a diverse U.S. and international team, this not for profit media organization is proud to be home to a number of young, globally conscious, web savvy volunteers and staff members. Every day we work hard to keep you aware and knowledgeable of events in and issues about the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora communities.
REZA ASLAN, Founder
An internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, Aslan is a contributing editor at the Daily Beast. He 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 interfaith peace organization, PEN USA, which champions the rights of writers under siege around the world, and he serves on the national advisory board of the Levantine Cultural Center, building bridges between Americans and the Arab/Muslim world.
Aslan’s first book is the International Bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, and named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in a Globalized Age), and editor of the anthology from Norton titled Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East.
Born in Iran, he now lives in Los Angeles. To learn more about Reza, his books, and his activities, visit his home page at rezaaslan.com.
ROSHI, Executive Director and Editorial Executive
With a BA in International Relations, some education abroad, and an MA in International Public Policy, Roshi's many interests have include Politics, Journalism, and social change. A social media and Marketing professional, she puts her nonprofit and Communications experience to work for Aslan Media. Roshi tries to work every day for a better world through discourse, communication, and the support of democratic, pluralistic ideals. A child of two cultures, Roshi is an explorer at heart...and has been known to hug trees in her spare time.
NATHAN, Editor in Chief
Nathan Lean's thirst for creating harmony spans multiple disciplines and continents. With a BA in classical and jazz piano performance and a MA in international Relations/Middle Eastern Studies, he aspires to create harmony, whether musical or global. Nathan is the co-author of Iran, Israel, and the United States: Regime Security vs. Political Legitimacy (Praeger 2011) and the author of The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (Pluto 2012). He is a contributing writer on national politics and global affairs at PolicyMic. When he's not writing, you can find him roaming the souks of North Africa, surf fishing on the North Carolina coast, or hovered over a big bowl of Moroccan couscous.
AREEJ, Women's Section Editor-at- Large
Areej Noor is a Somali-American writer, political analyst, and Washingtonian by way of New York City. Completing an M.A. in Islamic Studies led Areej to research and write for the Brookings Institution’s Doha outpost focusing on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Her writings have been featured in the Times of India, Gulf News, and Executive Magazine among other publications. Three years ago Areej founded a production company, Moltencake Productions, after creating and producing a talk show project, which is currently being shopped around. She has just produced her first documentary-film on the ongoing revolution in Egypt.
EMAN, Content Manager
A Londoner, workaholic and a traveller, a girl of many aspirations, Eman desires to travel the world and experience different cultures. Eman graduated in Tourism and Business management and is aiming to further enhance her studies later on in Middle Eastern studies. Dedicated in supporting the work of NGO’s Eman has achieved years of voluntary experience and continues to strive to make a difference.
JAFREEN, Book Editor and Special Projects
Jafreen M. Uddin is the Book Salon Editor and Director of Special Projects for Aslan Media. She has a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and an M.A. in Global Histories from New York University. She also serves on the New York City board for the Muslim Public Affairs Council. When she isn't searching for good books to write about for Aslan Media, she can be found practicing yoga or dancing along to Bollywood music videos.
HIBA, UK Coordinator
Hiba is an avid blogger, tweeter, journalist, volunteer and traveller. She evidently likes to keep herself busy. From volunteering in Palestine to going on a desert expedition in Oman, Hiba seeks to experience the world she lives in-- to best understand it. Plus, a little sun and adventure never hurt anyone. Having graduated with a BA in Politics and Development studies, she is currently furthering her interest in politics by undertaking a Masters in Middle East politics.
You can follow Hiba on her twitter at: @WellApparently
Catch her on her blog: www.wellapparently.wordpress.com
LAILA, Multimedia Editor
With a BA in Political Science, and a MA in Public Policy and International Relations, Laila has a passion for bringing social change through understanding. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she is an Associate Producer working on political documentaries, while being an avid cupcake baker. In her spare time she enjoys going to concerts, and loves searching for new places to eat.
ALNAS, Style Editor
Always looking for the newest untold story, Alnas is a driven journalist/social media junkie. She graduated in print journalism with a minor in English from Cal State University, Fullerton. Her passion for fashion also keeps her in synthesis with the latest trends right off the runway. And she is a fierce one, always on the job and looking to combine her two biggest passions of fashion and journalism. Being an international student, she finds it necessary and enlightening to keep digging for stories from all over the world. Beyond work, she can often be found cracking lame jokes with friends, though her sarcastic humor is often confused as criticism. She is innately friendly, though it can sometimes be overshadowed when she’s “in the zone”, but usually graciously helpful to those who ask for it.
Find her on LinkedIn
NICHOLAS, News Content Manager
Nicholas is a journalist and writer based in Los Angeles, California. He studied print and digital journalism and international relations at the University of Southern California. An avid news junkie, social media addict, humanist and self-admitted geek, he is interested in social activism in the Middle East, Europe and the rest of the world. Driven by the news, he traveled to Egypt in the summer of 2011 and turned his fascination with the Middle East into a love for the region. He wants to be a conflict reporter, tell the stories of people ignored by the headlines, travel the world and make it a better place.
Follow him on Twitter at @NSlayton.
RANIA, Women's Section Editor
Rania Mustafa is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree at New York University. She is double majoring in Journalism and Applied Psychology. She aspires to be a journalist and a therapist simultaneously and hopes to marry the two to combat the issues of the Muslim community internally, by working on removing the taboo of mental health, and externally, by portraying the real images of Muslims and Islam. She's always reading something, attempting to blog, talking about something, knitting a blanket of some sorts, planning her next move, and taking pictures as she goes.
SAFA, Arts, Culture, Music and Film Editor
Safa Samiezade'-Yazd is a writer whose expertise falls into two categories: contemporary art/performance and the Middle East. Together, the two give her a unique perspective on the depth of a region that is usually overshadowed by its politics. Her three one-woman shows explored Iranian identity- one through the veil, the second through Khomeini, and the third through the Islamic practice of temporary marriage. All three have been performed in Colorado, Vermont, and New York City, and one was presented at the Women Playwrights International Conference at the University of Mumbai. Most recently, she co-curated the first festival of Iranian theater to be presented in the United States, which earned recognition in Backstage Magazine, The New York Times Arts Section, NPR's All Things Considered, WNYC, BBC Radio, Frontline's Tehran Bureau, and Voice of America's Persian News Network, which re-aired her interview as a “Best of VOA" segment. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Denver and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College.
Kirsten, Social Media Coordinator
Kirsten is a writer and editor living in the Pacific Northwest. She received her BA in Linguistics, and is a verbivore and polyglot. When she isn't corralling social media platforms for various web sites, Kirsten is writing, editing comics, reviewing books, and herding her menagerie of animals.
Follow her on Twitter: @Kirsten_ish
CHRISTA, Team Member
Christa Blackmon is a member of the Social Media team and Senior Editor of Palestine Note. A native of Miami, FL, she came to Washington, D.C. to study at American University's School of International Service where she focused on peacebuilding and conflict resolution in the Arab and Islamic context. She has previously worked with a variety of people and organizations including Dr. Akbar Ahmed, Just Vision, and Americans for Peace Now. A self-described Mid-East enthusiast, post-Orientalism constructivist, pro-theist Protestant, she is dedicated to the field of peace studies. You can follow all of her online adventures at flavors.me/christab. Christa is also currently the Executive Editor at Palestine Note.
DENIZ, Team Member
Deniz Firat is a cyber-citizen, and a world traveler. She left her home of Istanbul, Turkey when she was a teenager, living and volunteering in various countries including Mexico, Spain and the US. Deniz's educational and professional background includes Journalism and Advertising. She studied Communications in Istanbul University before she moved to the United States to continue her education on a Rotary Scholarship, at the College of Communications at the California State University, Fullerton. After years of working as a Media Analyst, Deniz will be attending The Monterey Institute of International Studies, in Fall 2012, studying International Policy, with focus on Turkey. Deniz is also a Crossfitter, nature worshiper, student of human behavior, and a book worm by nature.
Follow Deniz on Twitter at @denizzfirat
JENNY, Social Media Team
Jennifer recently graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism with a concentration in magazine writing/editing. She wrote her first "book" at the tender age of seven, and has been going full speed ever since. When she's not Tweeting like a fiend and interacting with Aslan's awesome followers, Jenny does freelance work. She recently also joined a web related firm in California. In her spare time, she enjoys running half-marathons, gulping large amounts of coffee, and spending quality time with her beloved Kindle. She currently resides in Chicago, but her insatiable case of wanderlust and love of other cultures means she's constantly looking for the next great adventure.
Find her on LinkedIn
KAITLIN, Assistant to the Editor in Chief
Kaitlin is currently studying philosophy at Transylvania University with a particular concentration in biomedical ethics. She has spent six months studying and working at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey, and has also traveled extensively throughout Israel and Jordan. Following graduation, Kaitlin hopes to attend law school and return to Turkey to teach English for a year.
NATALIE, Team Member & Graphics
Natalie is a rising junior at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and is currently studying overseas. As a patron of the quirky and weird, she tends to laugh at silly sounding words and odd looking animals, and has been known to issues odd noises herself from time to time. Her intense love of all things dessert-like makes her a fixture at local bakeries and cafés. Though she can be slightly defensive where food is concerned, she does enjoy sharing treats with her equally nutty friends particularly when Taboo or Cranium is involved. If this description has made you wary of encounters with her, rest assured that her spectacular quantity of curly red hair and often even brighter red face makes her very easy to spot- should you wish casually avoid her ridiculous ramblings. But, know though that she loves meeting new people and is always ready for a good laugh.