Last week, religious scholar Reza Aslan appeared on a notoriously hostile Fox News interview to promote his latest book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” The interview quickly went viral, and thanks to the uproar over Fox attacking Aslan’s Muslim religion, “Zealot” has jumped to the No. 1 spot on Amazon’s books section.
In addition to its newfound fame on Amazon, “Zealot” is also currently ranked at No. 2 on the New York Times bestseller list, all thanks, it seems, to one incredibly hamfisted interview.
Over the weekend, Aslan’s interview began popping up on sites like Reddit and Buzzfeed as commenters blasted Fox's Lauren Green’s badgering attack on him. Throughout what Buzzfeed calls “the most embarrassing interview Fox News has ever done,” she ignored the book itself and repeatedly demanded to know why Aslan, a Muslim, would choose to write a book on the historical Jesus.
“Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim,” Aslan calmly responded.
Later, Aslan stated in a Q&A session on Reddit that he initially went into the interview hoping to sincerely discuss his book, but quickly realized that he was being used to gin up outrage among conservative viewers.
“I had some indication of what was about to happen from the attack piece they did on me a few days before the interview,” Aslan stated. “ I assumed that we would deal with that at first and then move on to the book. It was only about half way thru [sic] that realized what was happening.”
Watch Aslan’s interview with Fox News below.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.