Saturday’s Washington Post once again promoted the Muslim author Reza Aslan’s history-mangling Jesus book “Zealot,” this time by reproducing a top-ten “most intriguing religion books” list from Religion News Service. Not every selection was a liberal journalist's pick to click, but these books were laid out with large, color images of the covers.
John Murawski of RNS praised Aslan's work for providing a “much-needed antidote” to how Christians have ethnically and historically sanitized Jesus buried in “aspic”:
The Washington Post's habit of promoting Muslim author Reza Aslan and his lame book about how Jesus was a political messiah resurfaced on Thursday. On the Post's "WorldViews" blog, Max Fisher interviewed Aslan on the occasion of Megyn Kelly's statement on her Fox show that "Jesus was a white man, too. It's like we have, he's a historical figure. That's a verifiable fact, as is Santa."
Fisher declared "Kelly's insistence on a white Jesus has offended a number of people, who counter that Jesus's Middle Eastern ethnicity would likely have given him a darker complexion than that of, say, Kelly herself." Then Reza Aslan told Fisher that Jesus looked a lot like Reza Aslan:
The Washington Post's "On Faith" section is a forum for trashing conservatives again. After seeing their reaction to the latest critique of "trickle-down" capitalism by Pope Francis, leftist Muslim author Reza Aslan argued Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh would probably call Jesus a Marxist.
In a piece also published inside the Saturday Washington Post, the man who mangled the "historical Jesus" (not to mention his own resume) is arguing someone else doesn't know the real Jesus. Palin merely expressed how the pope sounded liberal in his apostolic exhortation. Limbaugh went further:
CNN's routine marketing lie is that they're the centrist network that doesn't take sides. In July, CNN's Belief Blog promoted Muslim creative-writing professor Reza Aslan's book about Jesus. CNN contributor Stephen Prothero wrote a Fox News-"correcting" article titled "What Reza Aslan actually says about Jesus" and they published Aslan's own piece on "Why I Write About Jesus."
But when it came to Bill O'Reilly's book "Killing Jesus," CNN's Belief Blog posted an article titled "Five things Bill O’Reilly flubs in 'Killing Jesus'". Oh, yeah, CNN never takes sides. The author is a liberal author named Candida Moss, who has written a book attacking the "myth" that the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire. She mocked O'Reilly's grasp of facts:
The Washington Post said happy Sunday to Christians with an article titled “Five Myths About Jesus” by Muslim author Reza Aslan. First question: How likely is the Post to run a feature by Aslan or anyone else titled “Five Myths About Muhammad”? Or “Five Uncomfortable Truths About Muhammad”?
The second question is: Couldn’t the Post have published the article “Five Myths on Reza Aslan’s Resume?” The Post exposed his lies to a Fox News reporter. This Post favor to Aslan seems odd since almost two months ago, their Sunday book review by liberal Stephen Prothero panned his book “Zealot”:
Friday’s Washington Post carried a large article with color photographs of Jesus-bashing author Reza Aslan called “The Book of Reza.” Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia mocked “the astonishingly absurd questions lobbed at him” by Fox News religion correspondent Lauren Green, asking why a Muslim would write about Jesus.
Aslan told the Post he held Fox in low esteem (like almost every leftist). “I know what Fox News is about,” he says. “This is a network that has spun fear-mongering about Muslims into ratings gold for 10 years.” But this didn't end up being a puff piece. Roig-Franzia found that the “absurd” Fox network accomplished something notable. Aslan implausibly inflated his academic resume, and then arrogantly dismissed he’d done anything unethical. Aslan is exposed:
The Guardian is unapologetically left-of-center editorially, but being a British publication, its geographical and cultural separation from the journalistic elite on this side of the pond helps inoculate it from venerating the sacred cows and cozying up to the favored pundits of the liberal media here in the States.
A prime example of that is Stuart Kelly's review of UC Riverside professor and Huffington Post blogger Reza Aslan's new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Where American reviewers have praised Aslan's writing style if not his chops as a religious historian, Kelly took on both (h/t Michael Gryboski; emphasis mine):
In Sunday's edition, the Washington Post perhaps unintentionally did conservative critics of Reza Aslan a favor by printing liberal religion scholar Stephen Prothero's review of the UC Riverside creative writing professor's new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.
"Aslan is more a storyteller here than a historian" who doesn't bring "much new here other than [his] slick writing and cinematic sensibilities." "In the end, 'Zealot' offers readers not the historical Jesus but a Jesus for our place and time — an American Jesus for the 21st century, and more specifically for a post-Sept. 11 society struggling to make sense of Christianity’s ongoing rivalry with Islam," Prothero argued, adding in closing that in Aslan's eyes:
They may find it scandalous for someone to say so, but our secular liberal media are playing favorites with religion. They have a spoiled child, Islam. Journalists see Islam as a bullied, minority faith for brown people. Draw a cartoon of Mohammed with dynamite on his head, and you are the worst kind of trouble-making hater.
But write a book declaring that Jesus isn’t God? That’s not picking a fight or making trouble. That actually delights media elitists. They see America as too identified with Christian-nation “intolerance,” a bond that needs to be broken. Look no further than Lauren Green’s Foxnews.com interview with Muslim author Reza Aslan, who wrote a book titled “Zealot,” which wildly claims that Jesus wasn’t God, and (scriptural evidence be damned ) Jesus never said or thought that he was.
Author Reza Aslan was disingenuous about his biases in his weekend interview with Fox News Channel's Lauren Green, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell told FNC's Shannon Bream on the July 31 edition of America Live. Aslan, as a Muslim, denies the divinity of Christ, and should have been straightforward about how his religious beliefs would necessarily color his view of Jesus, which he protests is purely a scholarly inquiry.
Besides proudly insisting he has no biases, Aslan got a number of basic things about Christ wrong, Bozell said, including the absurd claim that Jesus is never quoted in any biblical account as claiming divinity. Additionally, the MRC president noted, Aslan "also said, more than once, that he had a history degree in religion" when "in fact, he doesn't." [to watch the full segment, view the embedded video below the page break]
Author Reza Aslan falsely claimed that the Gospel of Mark contains no messianic claim by Jesus, but CNN's Piers Morgan asked him no tough questions and instead promoted his new book on Jesus in a slobbering interview on Monday.
Morgan mocked Fox News's interview of Aslan: "Reza, I mean, what were you thinking as that interviewer was asking those ridiculous questions?" Three times Morgan touted that Aslan's book was number one on Amazon.com. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR's Rachel Martin helped Daily Beast editor Reza Aslan promote his new biography of Jesus, who posited that there is a "chasm between the historical Jesus and the Jesus...taught about in church." As proof of this supposed gap, Aslan claimed that "there is actually no statement of messianic identity from Jesus" in the Gospel of Mark.
Aslan has it wrong. Jesus actually affirmed that he was the Christ (the Greek word for Messiah) in Mark 14: 61-62: "Again the high priest asked him...Art thou the Christ the Son of the blessed God? And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven." Even NPR pointed out Aslan's false statement in a correction on Monday, but Martin, a former religion correspondent for the public radio network, didn't catch his error during the segment.
The "mildly Islamist" party that won a plurality of votes in recent Tunisian elections is not a troubling sign, nor is the possibility that Egypt and Libya may be moving in an Islamist direction post-Qadhafi and Mubarak, Reza Aslan argued in a Sunday "Guest Voices" piece for WashingtonPost.com's "On Faith" section (emphases mine)
The Daily Beast contributor who once insisted that there's "no such thing as sharia law" is at it again, dismissing the threat of radical Islam presented by the political instability in Egypt.
In a January 30 post at Washington Post/Newsweek's "On Faith" feature yesterday, Reza Aslan dismissed fears that the Muslim Brotherhood is a radical group that could take Egypt in a theocratic direction should strongman Hosni Mubarak be forcibly ousted from power, even though members of the Brotherhood have expressed admiration for Osama bin Laden.
On the September 11th Saturday Early Show, CBS News Middle East analyst Reza Aslan slammed opponents of the Ground Zero mosque as having "unapologetically politicized" 9/11 and being part of a "whole wave of anti-Muslim sentiment."
While he denounced others for trying to "take advantage of this symbol for their own political purposes," Aslan made his comments only seconds after live coverage of the first moment of silence for victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Co-host Chris Wragge accepted Aslan's characterization of the controversy and responded: "...this is not an opportunity to add controversy into the mix. If there's one day, you know what, to keep our mouths quiet and let's just reflect on the lives lost, today is it, you don't mess with that."
Aslan followed up by admitting: "I'll be honest with you, I hope that there is kind of a backlash against what's going on right now. As you know, at 1pm today there'll be a rally in support of the so-called Park 51 project, at 3pm there'll be this international rally against it. So, I'm hoping that Americans all over the country see these images and think we've gone too far."
He later specifically condemned mosque opponents: "...particularly in the case of this sort of international anti-Islam rally that's being brought by this group called Stop Islamization of America. And they're inviting all these European anti-Muslim politicians in to speak. I mean, that's really now taking this to a whole other level."
CNN's T. J. Holmes brought back Time's Bobby Ghosh on Friday's Newsroom for more promotion of his "Islamophobia" cover story, and added two Muslim guests who largely agreed with his thesis that anti-Islamic sentiment was "coming into the mainstream," and how this was apparently a "reason for alarm." Holmes asked softball questions, and no one with an opposing viewpoint appeared during the segment.
The anchor had the three on for a panel discussion at the bottom of the 10 am Eastern hour about Ghosh's "Is America Islamophobic?" article, as well the controversy over the planned mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. Before introducing his guests, Holmes held up two examples of apparent "Islamophobia" in the country and seemed to sympathize with the apparent plight of Muslims in the U.S.:
HOLMES: Two-and-a-half million Muslims live, work and pray in America- not always easy. Case in point: protests in California- check that out- marching against a proposed mosque in their area, holding signs with slogans such as, 'Muslims danced for joy on 9/11'- or how about the planned Islamic center and mosque near New York's Ground Zero? More than 60 percent of Americans are opposed to that center being built. But the scope is bigger than that, according to a Time magazine poll. More than 3 in 10 Americans would say no to a mosque in their neighborhood. Then there are statements like this one from evangelical leader Franklin Graham.
Editor's Note: The following was originally posted to Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood blog on June 24. Perhaps of greatest note to NewsBusters readers is Tapson's reporting on the pronouncements of Daily Beast contributor and UC Riverside professor Reza Aslan that "There is no such thing as Sharia."
While Iranian-American protesters packed streetcorners in Westwood last Saturday afternoon in support of the revolution currently playing out in the streets of Tehran, an historical drama about stoning in Iran got underway at the Los Angeles Film Festival mere blocks away.
For the few who don’t know by now, The Stoning of Soraya M. is based on French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam’s bestselling book, which relates the true story of a woman in a remote Iranian village, in the years after the 1979 Khomeini revolution, who is falsely accused of adultery and stoned to death by a mob desperate to cleanse themselves of this affront to their collective honor and to their religion. It’s not only a gripping story in its own right, but it shines a harsh spotlight on the almost unimaginable reality that the barbaric punishment of stoning still exists in the Iranian law code, despite a largely nominal 2002 moratorium, the result of pressure from Western human rights groups.
(Full disclosure, even though I’m not reviewing the film here: I’m close friends with the filmmakers Cyrus and Betsy Nowrasteh, I provided Mpower Pictures with a bit of research on the project, I’m friends with other cast and crew and producers associated with the film, and I think stoning is bad. So don’t take my word for it when I say SorayaBig Hollywood’s John Nolte will be the most important, affecting film you’ll see all year. Instead seek out the multitude of reviewers who recommend the film, including and then see it for yourself.)
Following Saturday’s screening was a panel discussion, not so much moderated as simply hosted by Iranian novelist Khaled Hosseini, author of the bestselling The Kite Runner, who personally selected the film for the L.A. Film Festival. The panel also included Soraya’s writer-director Cyrus Nowrasteh, starring actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Dr. Reza Aslan, billed as an Islamic scholar.