Way beyond Al Jazeera, the expansion of open media in the Arab world is changing the socio-political landscape of the region in dramatic ways. We will consider Noor, the Turkish soap opera likened to Dallas and dubbed into street Arabic that has become so wildly popular that imams in Saudi Arabia and Gaza have issued fatwas against anyone who watches it. Nobody pays attention. Or the work of Ali Ardekani, a 33-year-old videoblogger who cast as Baba Ali. He is funny and hip and has a huge following. He is one of a growing movement of young Muslims trying to change the face of Islam through new media. If Osama bin Laden were really smart, he would be paying attention.
Reza Aslan will give a public lecture, Winning a Cosmic War: Can Common Ground be Found within the Abrahamic Religions, on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 7:30pm at Elvehjem Auditorium, L160, 800 University Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin.
- Reza Aslan, a fellow at the University of Southern California, Middle East Analyst for CBS News, cofounder of BoomGen Sudios and executive for Mecca.com, an online community for Muslim youth.
- Ali Ardekani, aka "Baba Ali". Ali is a well known video blogger on Youtube, the founder of Ummah Films, and in the midst of a stand-up comedy tour.
- Ramez Maluf, director of the Beirut Institute for Media Arts and the Institute for Media Training and Research at Lebanese American University.