Hindus Rightfully Eviscerate CNN over Gimmicky Reza Aslan Program

Reza Aslan and CNN are properly feeling the wrath of those of the Hindu faith for distorting their beliefs through a gimmicky ratings ploy.

United States Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard

Aslan used clumsy tabloid tricks, feigned disbelief, asked off-the-wall questions and stooped so low as to dine among cannibals on the charred brain of a corpse to mock one billion Hindus. The first episode poked fun at the Aghori religious sect, with Aslan all the while claiming with a straight face that he’s a “religious scholar.”

Aslan pretends a scholarly presentation of this religious group, which in fact is only a superficial tabloid portrayal.

U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a major with the Hawaii National Guard, an Iraqi War veteran and the only Hindu in the U.S. Congress, said she was “very disturbed” by CNN using its platform to denigrate Hindus in the March 5 airing of the “Believer” episode on the Aghori.

An eminent Indian American, Shalabh Kumar, said “This is a disgusting attack on Hinduism.” And Kumar tweeted, “I condemn @rezaaslan, CNN for airing Believer with fiction.”

Aslan pretends a scholarly presentation of this religious group, which in fact is only a superficial tabloid portrayal.

U.S. India Political Action Committees (USINPAC) chairman Sanjay Puri also condemned Aslan: “We are very disappointed. This is an issue that is of deep concern to the Indian American community evidenced by the large number of calls and emails we have received. In a charged environment, a show like this can create a perception about Indian Americans which could make them more vulnerable to further attacks.”

Whatever Aslan’s and CNN’s motives for such a travesty—viewership ratings, money, notoriety or face recognition for Aslan—it adds fuel to an already blazing fire of religious discrimination burning its way through American cities via TV networks.

Were he a bona fide religious scholar with genuine religious grounding, he would reflect that in his show. That he does not do so betrays a motivation not of empathy, but of vilification.

Whether Aslan’s program is about the Aghori sect of Hinduism or about Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism or any other belief system, CNN knows better than to stigmatize and make light of people of faith.

STAND calls on CNN to pull this series for objective scholastic review by independent religious experts.

Edward Parkin, International Director STAND
As International Director for STAND, Edward Parkin oversees efforts in 58 nations aimed at combating bigotry toward Scientologists and the Scientology religion. A native of Great Britain and 38-year Scientologist, Mr. Parkin coordinates projects promoting and defending everyone’s right to practice their religion of choice.