Say what you want about Reza Aslan, his religion and his books, but you can’t contend that he doesn’t know bigotry when he sees it. Reza Aslan, the Iranian-American writer and scholar of religions, went on CNN the other day to blast the comments of atheist comedian Bill Maher.
While Aslan called out Maher’s blanket generalizations of Islam as bigotry, he also took the time to school the media and CNN itself on their unsophisticated reporting of his faith.
Last Friday, Maher called out Americans who defend Islam but criticize Christian group’s homophobia. “If we’re giving no quarter to intolerance, shouldn’t we be starting with the mutilators and the honor killers?” He said.
Reza Aslan, who became famous among liberals after he embarrassed Fox News last summer, took offence to Maher’s simplification that characterized all Muslim nations as being the same. “When it comes to the topic of religion he’s not very sophisticated in the way that he thinks.” Aslan Said.
“The problem is that you’re talking about a religion of one and a half billion people,” he continued, “and certainly it becomes very easy to just simply paint them all with a single brush by saying, ‘Well in Saudi Arabia women can’t drive,’ and saying that’s representative of Islam. That’s representative of Saudi Arabia.”
After Aslan was done with Maher, CNN kept setting themselves up by asking Aslan blanketed questions along the same lines as Maher. For example, after showing a clip of Benjamin Netanyahu speaking about Hamas and ISIS, anchor Don Lemon asks Aslan if Islam promotes violence.
“Islam doesn’t promote violence or peace. Islam is just a religion, and like every religion in the world, it depends on what you bring to it. If you’re a violent person, your Islam, your Judaism, your Christianity, your Hinduism, is going to be violent.” Aslan went on to describe how marauding Buddhist Monks in Myanmar are slaughtering women and children, but it doesn’t mean Buddhism is a violent religion.
I have to admit that it pains me when I see a fellow liberal like Bill Maher say something stupid. I seriously questioned his statements myself when I watched his show. I’m glad liberals don’t get caught with our foot in our mouth nearly as much as conservatives, but when we do, I appreciate people like Reza Aslan for setting the record straight.