Target: Lauren Green, religion correspondent at Fox News
Goal: Apologize for attacking scholar Reza Aslan’s Muslim faith.
Reza Aslan, religious scholar and author of the book Zealot: the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, recently stopped by Fox News to talk with anchor Lauren Green. What he encountered was a reporter who consistently questioned his right to write about his subject as well as insulted the quality of his scholarship despite clearly not reading a page of his book. The end result is what Slate stated “may just be the single most cringe-worthy, embarrassing interview on Fox News.”
Aslan’s book centers on the idea that the historical Jesus was crucified for leading a movement that threatened Roman rule in Judea. Instead of engaging the author on his perspective and how he reached those conclusions, Green used his Muslim faith to attack his objectivity as an academic. At one point, she read a quote from a critic who stated “So your book is written with clear bias, and you’re trying to say it’s academic. That’s like having a Democrat writing a book about why Reagan isn’t a good Republican.” The assaults continued despite Aslan stating multiple times his degrees and academic background.
Green further used Aslan’s Islamic faith as a springboard to state his academic viewpoint on the subject was not legitimate. She told him “you’re promoting yourself as a scholar, and I’ve interviewed scholars who have written books…looking at the same information…to say that your information is different from theirs is really not being honest.” She even accused the author of hiding his Muslim religion, prompting him to note his biography on the book’s second page included his faith.
Clearly, Green’s constant attacks crossed the line from simply asking an author about why he wanted to examine his subject to outright slander. The argument that an academic’s personal beliefs somehow prevent him or her from objectively analyzing the history of other religions is questionable at best. By choosing to make her interview of Aslan an ongoing personal assault, Green denied her audience an informative and potentially enlightening discussion. By signing this petition, you will demand Green apologize for her degrading treatment of Reza Aslan.
Dear Ms. Green,
I am writing to object to your recent interview of Reza Aslan regarding his book Zealot: the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Specifically, you conducted the interview as an ongoing personal attack on Aslan’s academic objectivity solely due to his Islamic faith.
Specifically, your first question was “you’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity.” When Aslan responded by listing his background as a scholar and interest in the subject of Jesus’ life, you decided to continually frame the discussion around his religion. Instead of any kind of in-depth discussion on Aslan’s scholarship or conclusions, you chose to spend much of the time quoting various critics. These included one who stated Aslan’s book was “like having a Democrat writing a book about why Reagan isn’t a good Republican.”
Furthermore, you used this as a springboard to attack Aslan’s right to his own academic perspective and then claimed that the author has never publically stated his faith. It was apparent that during the interview you decided to go for sensationalism rather than objective and informed reporting.
Reza Aslan deserved better, and so did the viewers who tuned in to watch your interview of him. I ask that you apologize to him and to your audience for the way he was treated.
[Your Name Here]
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