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Reza Aslan: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

On Friday, author and religious scholar Reza Aslan went on Fox News to discuss his new book titled Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth with Fox’s religious correspondent Lauren Green.

The video has since gone viral because of Green’s insistence that a Muslim man could not be unbiased while writing about Jesus despite the fact that Aslan holds a Ph.D. in the subject.

Since the interview Aslan’s new book his number 1 on Amazon’s bestsellers list.

You can watch the entire interview above.

Here is what you need to know about the Reza Aslan:


1. He Holds a Ph.D. in Religious Sociology

reza aslan fox news interview

(rezaaslan.com)

Reza Aslan received his doctorate from University of California, Santa Barbara, in Religious Sociology. He also holds a number of other degrees including a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, as well as a master’s degree in Fine Arts for creative writing from the University of Iowa’s prestigious Writer’s Workshop.


2. He is One of America’s Foremost Commentators on Islam and the Middle East

Along with his career as a professor of Creative Writing at University of California, Riverside, Aslan is a contributing editor for The Daily Beast as well as an occasional writer for a number of publications including The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, Slate, The Guardian, etc. He has written extensively on the Arab Spring and its international and domestic political ramifications.

Above you can watch his interview on The Daily Show.

3. He Fled Iran in 1979

Reza aslan

(Getty)

Aslan, who often writes about how American imperialist intervention has helped to create a the radical Muslim world, knows this on a personal as well as scholarly level. In 1979 he and his family had to flee their home in Iran during the Islamic Revolution that resulted as a backlash to US political control over the Iranian Shah. The “Expert in Exile,” as Mother Jones has called him, has lived in California ever since.


4. His New Book Paints Jesus as a Political Renegade

zealot jesus

(Twitter)

What brought him to Fox News last week was his new book about the historical Jesus. The book, Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, came out on July 16 and in it, Aslan attempts to contextualize Jesus’s life within the social realities of life within the Roman Empire. Aslan paints the picture of a Jesus who was not only a religious figure, but also a political renegade that scared the Roman bureaucratic system into executing him.


5. He Said Islamaphobia is on the Rise

Reza Aslan

(Getty)

In 2011, Aslan told Mother Jones in an interview that anti-Muslim sentiment was most potent now than ever before:

This is the great irony of course. Despite the previous administration’s demonization of Islam, the truth is that in the United States during the early part of the Bush years, anti-Muslim sentiment was not nearly at the levels that it is today. Certainly there are a number of reasons for this, but as we now know, there has been a well-organized and deliberate attempt by a very small group of individuals, funded by a handful of foundations to the tune of 40 million dollars to convince Americans that Islam is the enemy.

Articles written by Aslan can be found all over the Internet and with almost every major news outlet.

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