Justice for Reza Aslan?

Justice for Reza Aslan?

By Maan Jalal
 maan@khaleejtimes.com

Published: Tue 13 Jun 2017, 2:18 PM

Last updated: Wed 14 Jun 2017, 2:17 PM

So I had a whole different column planned for this week. I was going to write about the very small but lethal populace of individuals who make a professional living out of being home wreckers. Case in point, the alleged mistress to Jennifer Lopez's boyfriend, Alexander Rodriguez. She's obviously a liar. OK I guess I made my point in less than 50 words and the subject may not have warranted a whole column. But in any case I was doing my diligent research (mainly listening to Wendy Williams' thoughts on the issue) as I scrolled down my newsfeed, when I read the pretty despicable news that Reza Aslan has been fired from CNN. Excuse me, what? Sorry JLo, your love life has just become obsolete to me.

This is not cool. For those of you who might not know, Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American author, public intellectual, religious studies scholar, producer, and television host. He's witty, intelligent and promotes a positive, realistic common sense approach to the negative bile that the media continuously spouts about all things Middle Eastern and Muslim. So what happened?

Donald Trump. Isn't he behind everything these days? He posted a characteristically offensive tweet after London Mayor Sadiq Khan's speech on the London attacks. "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"There are so many things wrong with that tweet that I don't have the time or the word count to go into details as to why it's offensive. Reza, like most people, had a strong reaction to the statement and tweeted and then deleted, "This piece of s*** is not just an embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency. He's an embarrassment to humankind."

Reza then apologised for the tweet and stated that he should have  used better language to express his shock and frustration at the American president's lack of decorum and sympathy for the victims of London. Fair enough. Despite this, CNN still decided to fire him. As expected a lot of people are not happy with the decision. CNN has also recently fired Kathy Griffin after her debacle with the whole fake head thing.

Putting the Griffin incident to one side, I just can't get my head around the fact that despite Reza's apology and the statement he released, he was still fired for one small mistake, which in the greater scheme of things, means nothing compared to the actual good he's doing. That good being his incredible documentary series, Believer, which I've been binge watching. Each episode finds Reza in a different part of the world where he immerses himself and experiences different religious sects and traditions. It's one of the most fascinating, informative and enlightening shows that I've seen. It's all about religious tolerance and understanding which in my opinion (and I'm sure a lot of people would agree) is incredibly important during these tense times.




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