Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  27 minutes
Date:  2012
Genre:  Interview
Language:  English
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Islam Unknown (episode 5): Reza Aslan

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In this wide-ranging conversation about politics, society and culture, Reza Aslan argues that Islam is a religion based primarily on practice, rather than creed.

Islam Unknown (episode 5): Reza Aslan

In this wide-ranging conversation about politics, society and culture, Reza Aslan argues that young Muslims are better off in the United States than they are in Europe.

Aslan sees Islam as a religion based primarily on practice, rather than creed. He says its one essential credo — there is no God but God — is so malleable that "it allows Islam to be whatever people want it to be." The result has been a diverse and eclectic religion. But that has also allowed Muslims to be defined by colonial powers, and has left them vulnerable to jihadists who provide their own compelling narrative to young Muslims — particularly those in Europe.

The genius of bin Laden (who was still alive when this conversation was recorded), Aslan says, was "his ability to connect local grievances with global grievances to create a single narrative — a narrative of suffering and injustice at the hands of the West." So, a young Dutch Arab Muslim can link the racism he faces with the war in Chechnya, the suffering of the Palestinians, and the occupation of Iraq. He's been provided with a ready-made identity.

Despite the misguided rhetoric of the war on terror, Aslan, who lives in Los Angeles, says American Muslims are less likely to be seduced by such rhetoric, because of the nature of American identity. "The American identity is a constantly mutating one... You become part of us, and America changes to become part of you."

No reviews available.


Main credits

Elders, Fons (interviewer)

Other credits

Camera-sound, Maher Al-Sabbagh; editing, Theo Raben; music, David Parsons.

Distributor credits

Docuseek2 subjects

Religion and Spirituality
Philosophy, Critical Thinking and Ethics
History of Religion
Netherlands, The

Distributor subjects

No distributor subjects provided.


Islam; "Islam Unknown (episode 5): Reza Aslan"; Icarus Films;

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