Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American activist and the award-winning author of three books. During his keynote he addresses the issue of anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States and offers insight into how to best fix these increasingly mainstream views.
Reza Aslan explains how the issue is very much one of 'us' versus 'them' and that Americans have found it exceedingly easy to associate any of their fears, anxieties or issues with the country's Islamic population. Muslims aren't perceived as American citizens in the United states, but rather as an unfamiliar and dangerous group of people. Reza Aslan believes that the only way to break free from this mentality is for American citizens to know and understand Muslims as friends, co-workers, neighbors or acquaintances. Until true relations are forged and stories are exchanged, no amount of education, knowledge or legislation can dissolve the anti-Muslim sentiments throughout America.