Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination (known as STAND) supports the Hindu Mahasabha of America in their insistence that Reza Aslan and CNN refrain from airing a program that mocks their beliefs through an out-of-context program centered on a small fringe group that engages in cannibalism.
Billed as a “religious scholar,” host Reza Aslan of CNN’s “Believer” appears to have sought out other fringe groups to ridicule prominent religions.
While CNN has long considered the subject of faith to be fair game for ridicule by airing programs of hatred against newer religious faiths, the rest of us know that we live in a volatile time when many people of faith worldwide are under relentless attack through harassment, threats and violence.
CNN should realize that this is neither the time nor the place to pour more hatred into a public already saturated with the anger and bitterness of a bigoted few. To name just some of the most recent religiously and racially motivated incidents:
Aslan’s series is disrespectful and potentially incendiary toward people of faith (actual “believers”) and CNN should do the right thing and pull the plug.
Here is the message posted from Hindu Mahasabha of America posted at change.org:
We the undersigned demand that you not broadcast the show "Believer with Reza Aslan" that is to air on Sunday, 10 PM EST, which is running a segment on Hinduism. As per the preview available on your website, this segment indulges in out-of-context exotica on Hinduism by this so called scholar of religions.
The show characterizes Hinduism as cannibalistic, which is a bizarre way of looking at the third largest religious community in the world.
Hinduism is different from what is commonly understood as religion in the West. It needs a deeper understanding. One cannot use the religion framework that is in vogue in the academia to understand Hinduism. The Hindu spirituality encapsulates a unique knowledge system that transcends the material and the non-material. Hinduism gives complete freedom to its practitioners to pursue spiritual knowledge in a way that suits them. There is no religious authority that enforces any kind of law, any commandment, any fatwa. Hindus are governed by the law of the land as determined by a democratic polity. There is no system of shepherds, popes or mullah to tend the flock. This openness in Hinduism manifests in a plethora of practices - some of them could be seen as exotic - as per the discourse in the western parlance. Thus, necessitating a nuanced approach to understanding Hinduism in its totality first. Only then the specifics - as cited in the show - could be understood in its proper context.
By decontextualizing the sect Mr. Aslan is showing, he is equating Hinduism with all other religions that are governed by a single book, which are commandments driven, which have religious bureaucracies, and have history of countless genocides committed in the Jihads and the Inquisitions. By such a portrayal of Hinduism, the showman is setting the stage for the most ghastly genocide of Hindus in America paralleled only by genocide of Native Americans, of Jews in Nazi Germany and Africans in Namibia, and so many others.
The genocide against Native Americans were committed precisely because they were seen as “uncivilized” by the Europeans. Your showman is going to accomplish the same Sunday night with CNN as a platform.
Sirs, the morning after, the Monday morning, when Hindu kids go to school in America, they will be bullied by their classmates as cannibals! Some may even commit suicide. A few deranged of the society will get their guns and open fire in Hindu temples to eliminate the "cannibals" of the society. And in all these acts you as a news organization will share the responsibility.
May we bring your attention to the book “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” by Dr. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, which documents how Native Americans were characterized by the settlers and precisely why the American genocide was committed against them.
Sir, you are about to add another chapter to the book of American genocide.
Stop the broadcast of Reza Aslan!