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.
To learn more about Reza, his books, and his activities, visit his home page at rezaaslan.com.
ROSHI, Executive Director and Editor
With a BA in International Relations, some education abroad, and an MA in International Public Policy, Roshi's many interests have included 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.
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.
ALNAS, Style Editor
Always looking for the newest untold story, Alnas Zia 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
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.
DINA, News & Podcast Team Member
Dina Yazdani is an International Affairs major at Lewis & Clark College, and previously Occidental College. She is currently the President of the Muslim Students Association at her college, and formerly the President of OneVoice to End the Israeli & Palestinian conflict at Occidental. Growing up in a post 9/11 America, in high-school she felt compelled to help educate her classmates on misconceptions of Islam and the Middle-East, and continues to do so in college. Dina aspires to be a scholar on Middle-Eastern politics, and a journalist based out of the region. She is learning both Arabic and Persian, and holds a passion for promoting a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine, and a more free Iran. She was raised by a Sunni Malaysian mother, and a Shiite Iranian father in Portland, Oregon, and faces a daily identity crisis.
JOEL, News & Podcast Team Member
Joel Gillin was born and raised in Orange County, California. Knowing that technology and the internet were just a fad, he decided to pay out-of-state tuition to pursue a liberal arts degree at the University of Colorado, where he studied religions and philosophy. Following graduation, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia from 2010-2012. He has been an avid observer of the Middle East ever since he visited the Gaza Strip as a college student in 2009 just months after Israel's Operation Cast Lead. The Israel/Palestine conflict served as his gateway drug into the wider region's history and politics. He expects to have a stable and lucrative career as a freelance journalist reporting from the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter: @joelgillin
ZANE, News & Podcast Team Member
Zane is currently a Junior at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She is studying Sociology and American Studies with a focus on Arab American communities. Before joining the Aslan Media newsteam, she interned in the Outreach and Education Departments at the American Antiquarian Society. As a Palestinian American, she is most interested in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and has worked on campaigns related to it.
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
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.