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July 29th, 2013
10:34 PM ET

Reza Aslan on his FOX News interview: "I completely understand where Lauren Green is coming from ... I kind of feel bad for her"

On the heels of Friday's FoxNews.com interview with Reza Aslan, a 10-minute interaction which has resulted in significant conversation on the internet and beyond, on Monday evening "Piers Morgan Live" invited the author to share his reaction and interpretation.

"Look, I mean, truly I was kind of embarrassed," says Aslan, of the interview which forced him to explain why, as a Muslim, he's qualified to write a book about Jesus. "There's nothing more distasteful than an academic having to like trot out his credentials. You really come off as a jerk when you do that. It was very hard not to keep mentioning that I'm actually qualified to write this book, so let's talk about the book instead."

A religious scholar with a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, Aslan's book "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" became an Amazon number one bestseller on Monday.

Speaking live with Piers Morgan via satellite in Seattle, Wash., the 41-year-old exuded a great deal of class when speaking of the woman whose line of questioning served to raise quite a few eyebrows:

"I just want to say, I completely understand where Lauren Green is coming from. I kind of feel bad for her. The truth of the matter is that when you write about religion like I do, you're writing about something that people take very seriously," he explained. "A lot of people, whether it's Muslims or Christians or Jews or what have you, feel sometimes that academics like myself are attacking their faith, attacking their very identity. But nothing can be further from the truth."

Watch the clip for more of Morgan's discussion with Aslan, and for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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  1. Jo Hargis

    No, I don't think her line of questioning was in appropriate. It was revealing. This is the perfect indication of how entrenched these people are in their religious ideology. They can't even fathom the educational aspect of this, can't even comprehend the research the man did. They can't comprehend the fact that someone could actually embrace Islam and write about another religion because he's a Ph.D. in religions. Does not compute. More than anything, it showed her extreme bias and utter ignorance, and that, my friends, is why the questioning was not inappropriate.

    I would only hope this gentleman learned his lesson. Don't waste your time on bunch of folks who demonize education in the first place. You'll never *get through* to them.

    July 29, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Talmag

      It really showed her ignorance and inability to conduct a good interview. However, those on Fox are not required to be specific or good at interviews. Most who watch Fox would not recognize whether is was good or not. They go in for the showmanship of some like O'Reilly or the distortions of Hannity. She probably had not gotten her 'frequent words to use" list.

      July 31, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • pbk

      It's fair to ask someone about their belief system. Muslims are not allowed to believe in Jesus. They believe in Isa ibn Maryam. In any event, our beliefs inevitably creep into our academic works. I have read his other book "No God but God." Aslan does not critically examine the historical Muhammad. He glosses over the atrocities committed by the early muslims. He does not examine Muhammad's prophetic claims.

      August 5, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • shamblin

        Its fair to ask about his personal faith but that shouldn't be the only thing that she asks about. He answered her about being muslim and she refused to move on.

        August 6, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fireiitup

    Mr Reza: My question to you is ; why did you come to the US? I lived in Iran and graduated from Tehran American School. I am and always have been an American citizen, If you do not like, or choose to pontificate on other religions, why did you or better yet how did you take advantage of our universities? Are you a citizen of this country? Did your country of origin not have universities? I would not buy your book to put in my bathroom, shame on you!

    July 30, 2013 at 12:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • GeekQueen

      So, have you bothered to read or listen to anything Aslan has said? He studies religions, that doesn't mean he dislikes them–in fact, he appears to be reasonably respectful of all religions (including the two he has professed over the course of his life). I don't know what his academic or personal opinion of religion has to do with his access to an American education.

      Also, he came to the US because of the Revolution, and grew up here. He is an American.

      July 30, 2013 at 1:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Renegade

      You do realize the Shah's of sunset aren't really Shah's, right?

      July 30, 2013 at 1:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • pico

      @fireiitup – As hunger is cured by food, so ignorance is cured by study

      July 30, 2013 at 11:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sue

      Wow! So you have not read Raza's book and ready to attack the man.
      How many books have your actually read on anything at the American School in Iran? ( From K- 6 grade )

      July 31, 2013 at 11:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bostonian

      @fireitup You need some seriuos help. You have not clue what you are talking about.

      July 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jponce71

      so goes the ways of a closed mind. So full of anger and biased. It is exactly those things that will prevent your enlightenment. No matter the religion or country of origin.

      August 1, 2013 at 2:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. AC94114

    Why are you racist trolls even commenting on here? Go spread your ignorance & hate on the Fox News website where it will be appreciated in some form.

    July 30, 2013 at 3:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. REDDY

    ASLAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN QUESTIONED ABOUT ISLAM AND MOHAMMAD>

    THEY LET HIM GO VERY EASY IN CNN INTERVEW>

    July 30, 2013 at 7:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • jisakujien

      The things he questioned in his book Zealot actually questions a BIG part of the Islamic faith (namely the crucifixion of Jesus) so uhhhhh stfu lol

      July 31, 2013 at 7:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • shamblin

      Why? He's out promoting a book about jesus, not mohammad and islam. What would be the point of that.

      August 1, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Conrado

    It's impressive that the man remains so cool-headed... I wouldn't be able to do so. ;) This woman is so desperately trying to prove the scholar's prejudice against Jesus that she doesn't even realize she's biased herself. The way this interview was conducted was poor by any standard, not to say pathetic: we still don't know anything about the contents of the book. This lady is a true disgrace to journalism.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Rahul

    the guy has a patience of a saint.

    July 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • edmundburkeson

      But he's got the religion of a sultan.

      July 30, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Kali

        What did you get out of this? Muslims believe in Jesus.

        August 1, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RettasVegas

    Lauren Green is an uneducated, beligerantly rude reporter, who fits perfectly with all the Faux Fox News programming, LOL!
    I would have never had such a belly laugh if I had not read this on CNN's site! I blocked Faux Fox News from my TV in 2008, when I would sometimes mistake it for REAL news...LOL!
    Sometines on MSNBC they comment on Faux Fox News reportes, and I'm never surprised of how very lame they all really can be, they are bitter looser's and cult bait for the extreme right "wing nuts" LOL! They are good fodder for SNL too, LOL!

    July 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jessy

      Shameless she had not read the book and went on her attack. This is so very typical of Fox reporters is it not?

      August 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. edmundburkeson

    Reza deserves criticism because his story does not jive. He said in a recent story on CNN that he was an evangelical Christian who was frightened away by contradicitions and then embraced the History of Jesus movement which itself is packed full of contradicitions that he doesn't seem to mind. Well? Which is it? Evangelical? Liberal Christian? Muslim? He seems a little confused!

    July 30, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nick

      It's religion! He'd be lying if he wasn't confused.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laura

      Your ears must be full of wax. You heard wrong.

      August 1, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • pbk

      That's stupid. Leave Christianity because of contradictions, but embrace Islam? Islam is full of contradictions.

      August 6, 2013 at 12:12 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Delvia Logan

    I am so sorry that this reporter showed her ignorance in your interview. Religion causes too much trouble and people get too uptight when other ideas and beliefs are in their face. Congrads on your book sales and thank you for trying to get others to think about this topic.

    July 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Bottomline

    Historian? We don't need anymore historians. The Bible was inspired by God. No other book could be written as such even if man could try. All the events are true. If it was put on trial in the court of law, it would be proven as fact. You are sworn in by oath by placing your hand on the Bible. Every govt building has quotes from the Bible. Our founding fathers believed on it as their basis to form this great country. The Bible is clear on who Jesus is and his purpose. It's up to you on what you do with Jesus (not religion). Accept or reject. When you take your last breath on earth you will find out if you made the right choice.

    July 30, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daniel

      @Bottomline: Wow.

      July 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • shamblin

      Bottomline you don't know what you're talking about. The founding fathers of the U.S. did not look to the Bible as the "basis" of our country. Most of them weren't even Christian at all. Also, the Bible isn't factual history. That should be obvious. Most sane Christians realize that.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:06 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Roomi

      Sure; here are some core principles of Bible

      However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

      Very Inspirational words of Bible – Red Book of Zealots

      July 31, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Andrew

    I strongly dislike Reza Aslan. As an atheist I am disturbed by his slander of non-belief, arrogance, intellectual dishonesty and his serious study of mythology as if it were real.

    But Fox News is similarly an enemy of fact-based thoughtful reasoning. Maybe they could all be locked in the same building together?

    July 30, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. getreal

    let see how things would go if we got a christian scholar on cnn that debunks the muslim religion.
    cnn lovers seem to be lovers of muslims who's utlimate goal is takeover. but your all to scared
    or stupid to face this fact. but keep throwing christians under the bus.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • shamblin

      No one was trying to debunk.

      July 31, 2013 at 5:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • pbk

      I agree. I bet most here have never read the Qur'an or delved into the Hadith of Sahih Al Bukhari or Sahih Muslim. Have any read the Tafsir of ibn Kathir? Most pat Muslims on the back and trash Christians. That seems to be the trend of media these days.

      August 6, 2013 at 12:09 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. edmundburkeson

    You could call Reza's book an act academic terrorism. Only it is not new! Liberals have been committing academic terrorism since the dawn of academia.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • NM

      "You could call Reza's book an act academic terrorism. Only it is not new! Liberals have been committing academic terrorism since the dawn of academia."

      1. You could call Reza's book a historical analysis, using standard historical mechanisms, about Jesus. You should in fact, because that is what it is.
      2. "it is not new" – here, in my opinion, you are correct, but for all the wrong reasons. This type of analysis was first performed by Albert Schweitzer, and more recently by Bart Ehrman – I asked Reza about new findings at an event last week, and he said that his book did not introduce new material, but was a well written book about the current understanding of who Jesus the man was.
      3. You last sentence is just name calling and silliness, you should apply for a job as an anchor on Fox News.

      July 31, 2013 at 8:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. LC

    Am I missing something? I fail to see why the interviewers questions are so controversial. Aslan is a Muslin writing about Christianity, is it so wrong for a reporter to delve into that and ask why? Isn't that a reporters job?
    This story is getting way too much attention.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      Totally agree!!

      I'm really trying to see what the problem is with her question.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:46 am | Report abuse | Reply
      • shamblin

        Its because that was all she wanted to ask. And when she got the answer, for some reason it wasn't good enough for her. Its just a good example of the angry mindset of many American right wing Christians. Christianity is the biggest religion in the world and a journalist still can't understand why a professor of religious studies would be interested in the history of Jesus. Its funny.

        August 1, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D Fisher

    I thought part of being American was that everyone regardless of their beliefs or background was able to freely and openly discuss religion. Where does the logic of Fox News begin and end? So Christians can't discuss the Jewish and Muslim faiths? Jews can't discuss Christianity? If we can't have an open dialogue on religion in this country, we will become just as intolerant as the religious fundamentalists we like to criticize. Let's not forget that Prof. Azlan is hardly a radical, the man is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ironically, Roger Ailes of Fox News is a member of the Council.

    July 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      .....and part of being American is that a news reporter can get on national television and ask the guest whatever the heck he/she wants without everyone getting their shorts all in a knot.

      August 1, 2013 at 8:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jack

      Part of being an America is we have Fox New : (
      This says very little about our media.

      August 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Roomi

    Reza displayed absolute class, knowledge, patience and humility in face of ignorance, hatred, irrationality and anger (Core Trait of a FOX; Ironically it seems that all ignorance and darkness gravitates in to FOX when they are shunned by contemporary American society. A man is known by the company he keeps (away from !!).

    If Fox was based out of some other country, the state dept. will likely labelled them as a terrorist organization. Their spread of hatred, fear makes KKK look like angels. Just to refresh KKK was founded not on the core of values of christianity as understood by FOXANS!!

    July 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Roomi

    Reza displayed absolute class, knowledge, patience and humility in face of ignorance, hatred, irrationality and anger (Core Trait of FOX CLAN; Not surprisingly, all ignorance and darkness gravitates in the evil well of FOX when they are shunned by contemporary American society. A man is known by the company he keeps (away from !!).

    If Fox was based out of some other country, the state dept. will likely labelled them as a terrorist organization. Their spread of hatred, fear makes KKK look like angels. Just to refresh KKK was founded on the core of values of christianity perhaps not remembered by many FOXANS (New term for all kinds of Zealots who enjoy free lifetime membership @ FOX MENTAL ASSYLUM

    July 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ROBERT MAJKA

    Pierce Morgan is an idiot. Why didn't he ask the question "why is a Muslim writing a book that clams Jesus is fraud?"

    Does he call himself a journalist or does he and CNN just hate FOX so much that they've all become idiots?

    July 31, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • NM

      Does the book claim Jesus is a fraud? If so, in what way – give us just three points where Aslan claims Jesus is a fraud, and back it up with references and quotes from peer reviewed work – hint if you want to good example of how to do this, read the 100 pages of footnotes in, for example, 'Zealot' by the self same Reza Aslan. Also, the 'Muslim' part of the question was asked repeatedly of Aslan on Fox News, to understandable derision.

      July 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Grow up

        You did not read the book so why so why the lies?

        July 31, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roomi

      Here is the bible on slavery. This also forms the core of Foxan Beilefs

      Sure; here are some core principles of Bible

      However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

      Very Inspirational words of Bible – Red Book of Zealots

      August 1, 2013 at 5:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • shamblin

      Because he didn't write about Jesus being a fraud. And Green already over-asked about his being muslim. Pay attention.

      August 1, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ninja

      You did not read the book did you ? Raza never called Jesus a fraud. Karen Armstrong has written books on Muhammad. Hope you do read her book & Raza's or do you just watch Fox Tv?

      August 1, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  19. MrDascher

    It was frustrating to watch the racism of the interviewer, but not surprising coming from Fox News. I thought the scholar handled himself beautifully, and I thank him for remaining calm and rational in the face of a personal and cultural attack. He seemed to treat the situation as a learning moment for everyone, and is obviously a very decent person and good teacher. It was almost embarrassing to see the interviewer look down at her notes more and more, as if she was burying herself in the claims of people who MIGHT have actually read the man's book. She was unprofessional and racially biased in contrast to his openminded curiosity about religious history. I think this IS a learning moment for all of us.

    August 2, 2013 at 8:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Janet K

    Barns and Nobal sold out Raza's book in the DC area, this only shows Americas are not as box minded like Fox. I ordered mine from Amazon.

    August 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Greg Allen

    I seriously don't see what the big deal is here. If you agree to an interview you should be ready for what the interviewer asks. I do a local radio show and have never been slammed for what I did or did not ask someone. Everybody grow up already!

    August 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Private Personal Training

    I think it maybe an interesting book. I think he handled himself very well. I also think he didn't sound like a jerk.

    January 26, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  23. aylasaur

    He never said he was a historian. He said he was a religious scholar, which he clearly is with 3 degrees in religious disciplines. The Ph.D. is in Sociology of Religions and he is in fact a professor of Islam at the University of Iowa. Sociology is a social science closely related to history and can often involve a concentration or minor in a historical subject. Without access to his transcripts you can't really say he is a liar.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reza_Aslan

    July 30, 2013 at 1:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Renegade

    Crown Prince Ali Reza Pahlavi, is that you?

    July 30, 2013 at 1:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Trisha

    Can you just shut up already? Everything you say is wrong. You're embarrassing yourself and society.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  26. jponce71

    Yet and still is more qualified to speak on the topic than you.

    August 1, 2013 at 2:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Edd2003

    During the Fox interview, he also said that the Romans called Israel Palestine, which is false.
    It was called Judea, during the life of Jesus.
    For someone with 4 ph.D s in religion to get something like that wrong...

    August 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  28. lolrebpus

    So when your beloved fox indicate does EXACTLY what you accuse the supposedly left wing biased media of doing this is how you behave? calling lies and trying hard to disprove Reza`s credentials despite having any background yourselves?

    Pa-thetic. get out of here.

    July 30, 2013 at 2:34 am | Report abuse | Reply

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