On Friday, Fox News invited renowned religious scholar and prolific author Reza Aslan onto the air, ostensibly to discuss his latest book on Christianity, ‘Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.’
But instead, host Lauren Green launched into an Islamophobic attack on Aslan’s credentials and expressed incredulity that he, a self-professed Muslim, would be able to write about Christianity in a fair and honest way.
Throughout the nearly 10 minute interview, Green inaccurately sought to portray Aslan as a religiously-motivated agitator with a hidden agenda out to discredit the very religion that he himself once practiced:
GREEN: This is an interesting book. Now I want to clarify, you’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?
ASLAN: Well to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees — including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades — who also just happens to be a Muslim. So it’s not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus, I am an expert with a Ph.D in the history of religions…
GREEN: But it still begs the question why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?
ASLAN: Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.
Undeterred, Green continued by reading aloud from an equally Islamophobic FoxNews.comcolumn by John Dickerson in which he dismissed Aslan’s academic pedigree, referring to him simply as “an educated Muslim” with an “opinion” about Jesus.
Green would pivot back to Aslan’s religion at least seven more times during the interview, simply refusing to accept that a Muslim could also be an impartial scholar of Western religion.
As Aslan pointed out towards the end of his interview, many scholarly works have been written about Islam by Christian academics. Those authors, he noted, are rarely if ever asked to defend their credentials or explain why they chose to cover a religion apart from their own, certainly not on Fox News, which regularly provides a platform to hate-mongers like Pamela Geller andFrank Gaffney and passes them off as experts on Islam.