Reza Aslan’s interview: What does Fox News have against Islam?

Published: July 30, 2013

She continued to ask questions such as, “It still begs the question, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?”, as if to imply that it was highly suspicious for a Muslim to be writing about Jesus. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Lauren Green, Fox News correspondent on religious affairs and host of ‘Spirited Debates’, recently upheld Fox News’s impeccable record on focused bigotry and American essentialism, during an interview with the noted academic, Reza Aslan. The talk focused on his new book called Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.

Normally, any host might have started the interview by asking the author about his/her book and what subjects it deals with, but apparently Lauren Green had a different idea of how an interview should be conducted. Here’s how the interview started:

Lauren Green: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”

It seems that Ms Green has a problem with Muslims writing about Christianity. Reza Aslan aptly replied,

“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.”

Now, the debate should have ended there and then, but Ms Green kept on probing the issue of the author being a Muslim for the entire duration of the interview and the real topic – the book – was pushed into the background.

She continued to ask questions such as, “It still begs the question, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?”, as if to imply that it was highly suspicious for a Muslim to be writing about Jesus and it seemed she had already made some assumptions when she asked,

“But Reza, you’re not just writing about religion from the point of view of an observer.”

By this time, Reza Aslan had her intentions figured out and kept insisting that he had no hidden agenda and that he was writing the book from an academic point of view and not as a Muslim. He asked, what his personal faith had to with the book, but Ms Green charged,

“I believe that you’ve been on several programs and never disclosed that you’re a Muslim.”

It seems evident, from this interview, that Ms Lauren Green (former Miss Minnesota 84’) does hold some sort of bias against Muslims and it begs the questions, do American citizens have to hide their personal faith just because some people think it’s bad?

It seemed, from the interview, that the Fox News was on some investigative quest to unveil the author’s hidden agenda against Christianity and prove the prejudiced view that he may have about Jesus Christ – all because he happened to be a Muslim.

If Lauren Green’s view point, that commentaries or books on a particular faith can only be written by its adherents then she must explain why she wrote an opinion piece on Fox News’ Opinion page titled, “Is There Something in Islam That Makes Believers More Susceptible to Radicalisation?” on March 10, 2011.

It appears in her biography that she has a degree in piano performance from the University of Minnesota and is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism; so apparently, her degree in paino performance essentially gives her the divine qualifications to write and analyse the Muslim mindset, but a scholar of religions had to be questioned incessantly.

Yes, that makes perfect sense.

Although this interview is one of the many monumental goof-ups in Fox News’ history, their stance on Muslims reflects on how a certain section of the American population feels about Muslims, and for that matter all other people who are not white conservative republicans.

Fox News seems to have taken the ‘noble responsibility’ of becoming the voice of that particular non-evolving segment of American society, led by figures like Paul Broun, Todd Akin, John Hubbard, Michelle Bachman, Pamela Geller etc – their bias against Islam is blatantly apparent.

Racism and religious bias still occurs in the US and Fox News has only fanned the flames. When the Boston bombings took place they went head over heels in their attempts to demonise Muslims, but remained mum over the Aurora and Connecticut tragedies. Please consider what Fox News’ Bob Beckel, co-host of The Five, said about Muslims on TV:

“I would not have another mosque built in this country until we got it worked out who was not a terrorist.”

Why are these people not stopped from poisoning minds and encouraging a hate culture?

At this point, I have not even started on the hate filled rants of O’ Reilly, Hannity and Rush Limbaugh nor on Fox News’ biased coverage of the Zimmerman Trial.

Now I am not saying that Fox News is the American version of, the jihadi magazine, ‘Inspire, but it’s pretty close to becoming one as is evident from the testimony of Randolph Linn, the Ohio Mosque arsonist, who blamed Fox News for motivating him to commit hate crimes against Muslims.

So my plea to the members at Fox News, please stop this madness.



A student of Information Systems Management at Latrobe University, Melbourne. He tweets @Einsjam (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Asif

    Hahahaha, you’re actually getting worked up over Fox News bias? Most sane americans dont take their lunacy seriously, why are you?Recommend

  • Erum

    A spade should be called a spade EVERY single time they act like a spade…that is why it is important to call out Fox News each time they behave in this unethical manner.Recommend

  • Anshuman Tripathy

    This was good piece, but I fail to understand why you have to take on American trash TV to look for religious bias. What about the “Yahoodi Lobby” every Pious defender of Islam blames in Pakistan everytime something outrageous or blasphemous (according to them) happens (including Imran Khan when a Video surfaced which showed an Ahmadi woman showing her support to PTI, which in this case is the “blasphemy”).

    And let me not go into debate about the number of times I’ve seen Pakisatni News Anchors / Plotical Analysts blaming the Hindus Zionists whenever there is a terrorist attack on Pak or India.

    Compared to that I think Lauren Green was being too polite.Recommend

  • Pankaj

    Nailed it. Its time that serious action is taken against Fox News. Their level of stupidity is assuming gigantic proportions and actually hurting the media industry.Recommend

  • Rumormonger

    One statement: “Fox News is white trash”Recommend

  • bigsaf

    Its been picked up and called one of the worst Faux interviews ever. The ignorance and prejudice was just so blunt – there was no trace of any professional journalism (I know its Faux, but still)…she totally came off as a dogmatic Christian theologian hurt by some unknown criticism based on rumours and afraid and ridiculously suspicious of someone of a Muslim background discussing it. Its like as if any notion of academic scholarship didn’t exist in her world.

    Don’t know why Reza Aslan did an interview for Faux Entertainment…(maybe for the jokes!) but this may turn out to be a great thing for Reza Aslan (who was remarkably cool and tried his best to explain it to her as a 5 year old kindergardner) as his book sales are now going strong thanks to that interview.Recommend

  • Me

    At least no channel in the US or any non-muslim country has ever shown live, on-air, religious conversion of a minority to the dominant religion. Recommend

  • Naveen

    That’s a lot better than what Pakistan Media shelves out for Hindus>

  • anon

    FOX (considered a conservative not a liberal channel) is definitely biased against Muslims, and most other minorities. I wish, people in Pakistan paid more attention to themselves, instead of slight bias shown towards a Muslim in US. In last couple of days many people have been sharing this video because it supports their warped point of view of muslims being victims.

    I would just like to remind the author of this article and others who rightly condemn this interview, this book will probably be banned in Pakistan (and many muslim countries if anyone bothers to read it) and if any TV-Channel in Pakistan conducted this interview, Reza Aslan would be called from a zionist agent to a blasphemer. Keep in mind this book does not present the Muslim or Christian version of Jesus’s story.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Reza Aslan’s ” No god but God “………………was brilliant, informative and very readable.
    My cable operator has stopped giving us the FOX News channel……..but we still have two or three comedy channels and there are times though seldom when even CNN fills in for Fox News when the need arises…………..but its TV and should be viewed accordingly.

  • Saad
  • zach

    What is it with ex beauty contestants and epic displays of stupidity.

    Well written blog. Reminds me of Aaron Sorkin.Recommend

  • Biig Dood

    What Fox News did was racist and bigoted, there is no denying that. But I guess you are preaching to the choir here as Pakistan predominantly views through the prism of Islamophobia. In any case, Reza Aslan has the last laugh since his book has catapulted to No. 1 on after the Fox News interview.
    @Author: Just out of curiosity, could you let me know if any Muslim Scholar has written a critical review of the founder of Islam? I ask this as the West has a tradition of Christians doing critical studies of the Bible, Christianity, Crucifixion and Jesus as in this case.Recommend

  • Ash

    I applaud the attention that this interview is getting but I’m extremely disappointed with analysts of it. C’mon, is it really a surprise that Fox News is biased? We’ve been protesting against their prejudiced and slanted programming nearly since its inception, (“So, why do you hate America?”), it’s like no one has a memory anymore.

    Anyway, I do think it’s good to write about this. But I have to admit being a bit peeved that the author is letting misogyny into this discussion (what exactly does being former Miss Minnesota have anything to do with this? Except maybe a thinly disguised poke at the old “beauty pageant winners are not smart.” Yeah, it’s 2013. I don’t think that holds any weight). It’s plain that the station has an agenda and selects anchors who are willing to play into this. Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Great piece dude!Recommend

  • Noman Ansari


    Hahahaha, you’re actually getting
    worked up over Fox News bias? Most
    sane americans dont take their lunacy
    seriously, why are you?

    Dude Fox News is the most watched news network in America. Though I am guessing it is like watching an accident. I admit, I used to leave Fox News running in the background quite often. Not because it was news, but because it was mindless entertainment.

    Sadly, at the time, I had no idea that our own networks would replicate Fox News in having shows that turn into shouting matches. Recommend

  • Immanuel

    Iam glad that the writer mentioned john Hubbard, the republican Neanderthal who thinks that slavery was a blessing in disguise for blacks.Recommend

  • Gp65

    Yes that interview was absurd. Also Fox news is biased not just against Muslims but Indians, blacks, gays, Democrats, Jews, Hispanics and many other groups. But the last time I checked no Fox news anchor ever said Muslims were wajib ul qatl. it has never to date shown conversion of a Muslim person to Christianity on live TV.

    Muslim women are not raped and forcibly converted in US. Buses are not stopped, ID cards checked and then Muslim passengers segregated and shot in US. Muslims are not falsely accused of blasphemy so that their property can be seized by land mafia.

    Please review the degree of oppression of minorities in Pakistan before getting so riled up by this clearly silly interview.Recommend

  • Np

    ET mods- my post might appear a little sharp but it is totally factual and directly related to the content of this blog. Please allow.

    This man wrote a book about Jesus which does not show Jesus in a very good light. Do you remember what happened when the Danish cartoons were published? Do you remember what happened when the video Innocence of Muslims was published? Can you please tell me why YouTube is still banned in Pakistan?

    In a country where blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed carries a death sentence, you are surprised that some anchor might ask some pointed questtions of a person who has written critically about Jesus and questioned the Bible?

    I am not a Fox News fan – in fact just the contrary. But for heaven’s sake get some balance.Recommend

  • Mj

    The book you’ve mentioned, although a reasonable and relatively unbiased effort, makes some glaring mistakes which go against the established narrative or ‘ijma’, such as with the age of Aisha at the time of her marriage.


    Loonwatch is as biased as websites by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Fox news is American Zaid Hamid …..Recommend

  • Sane

    There are many lunatics and maniacs in media, specially the electronic one. Specially in USA, UK and India. Some in Pakistan as well.Recommend

  • Blunt

    @Anshuman Tripathy:
    We also know how Indians are treating their minorties esp. Muslims. Gujrat riots aren’t so far to be forgotten. Moreover, prime culprit of the incident Narinder Modi has been ‘awarded’ for this great achievement in form of candidate of next PM.
    So please make in order your own home, before throwing stones to anyone else.Recommend

  • Sane


    Very correctly you responded to Anshuman Tripathy.

    I would like to add further that India is the only country in the world which plan and do ‘terrorist’ attacks on themselves.and then blame others. For knowledge of all: this has been confessed by giving affidavit in the court by one of their superior government servant (probably from intelligence or interior ministry).Recommend

  • Usama

    BTW FOX news major shares owned by a Muslim investor. Name: Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Recommend

  • Dajjal

    The attitude of the anti-intellectual mouth breathers at fox news is neither new, nor surprising… however, it would have been nice if Reza Aslan was asked, that if his 4 degrees (including a PHD in Sociology of Religion) and his 20 years of research etc leads him to a conclusion about the life/death of Jesus which is totally different to the story of Jesus in Islam, then which one is correct? They can’t both be correct… Either he should reject his research or his religion, either that or he will have a massive case of cognitive dissonance…Recommend

  • qzj00

    Research is based on facts & logic while one’s religious belief is based on faith . . . and, by definition, faith has nothing to do with logic and therefore the two should have no issue in coexisting. Recommend

  • Dajjal


    Islam considers itself to be the absolute truth, so research and logic should prove its claims to be correct, not incorrect… Recommend

  • Razi


    So very typical of you. And you will obviously not change tactics: try hopelessly to come across as a well-wisher but unable to hide your blatant bias which is no different from Fox News. I suggest you focus your energies on the uncountable evil acts committed in India rather than spending time on Pakistani news sites. After all, that squares with your pristine logic.Recommend

  • Ja

    When the anchor asks why he wrote a book about the founder of Christianity though he is Muslim, he says it is not as a Muslim but as a Ph.D in religious studies that he wrote it. Fair enough. I would like to know what type of reception he would have got in Pakistan if he had written a similarly critical book about the founder of Islam. Think about it.

    Undoubtedly Fox News has all kinds of bias but questioning he hypocrisy of a Muslim author writing a critical book on Jesus when we all know what happened last year throughout the Muslim world when INnocence of Muslim was uploaded on YouTube does not amount to Islamophobia. It is just common sense. Recommend

  • Chin2

    Oh come on. Look within before you start criticizing others.

    Agree that Fox news is biased but it never preached violence on Air. Many new channel in Pak do. People praising Mumtaz Qadri, justifying Salmaan Taseer’s Murder, hate speeches on Ahmadis, Shias, Hindu etc, death to America & yahood wajib-ul-qatl have all happened on Pak channels.

    So look within first.

    Also, what if a non-Muslim writes a book on the life of Prophet Mohammed(PBUH). No wait, what if a Muslim writes a book on the life of Prophet Mohammed(PBUH). In both cases there will be mass protests everywhere Muslims live.

    At least Christians are sane enough to not care what a no body living somewhere in the world thinks about Jesus Christ.Recommend

  • mind control

    I think Ms Lauren Green has been more generous to Mr Reza Aslan in her show, than Aamir Liaqat has ever been to Ahmadias or victims of rape, on his show.

    Let us all cool down a little.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    If a non muslim writes about Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), Pakistanis will declare a month long holiday and burn down their citiesRecommend

  • Mehdi

    Agree with your view points. They are right wing nuts. Recommend

  • abdul

    pakistani TV`s 24 hours a day say bad things about hinduism, christianity, jews, budhists, russians,americansRecommend

  • qzj00

    It is not unique to Islam. All major religions believe the same. If validity of any religion is made subject to be provable by logic, one would think that over the last several thousand years someone COULD have narrowed down to the one (or none) religion that would satisfy logic and would have thus eliminated the existence of religion. Rightly or wrongly, it has not happened and is not going to happen and both logic and faith will continue to co-exist (yes, co-exist) in the minds of billions of followers of many many religions in our world. Recommend

  • h.Mani

    @Gp65: I seldom write any more in Tribune I don’t need to, as you and Mehdi do a fine job..I respect tribune, however..It is one of the fairest news out let,far better than anything in India or even in Pakistan.I ,however read and enjoy you, &Mr Mehdi. You never let any Pakistani columnist get away ‘throwing stone’ when they live in very fragile Glass home, themselves,this irany is lost on them..This world will be a poor place without you guys and T.E.Keep up the good work.How does people find the nerve to run their mouth, I mean Type Writer key?I guess we live in a strange blind World or think Mehdi and you have gone to sleep.Sadly they are mistaken.Nice dayRecommend

  • Insaan

    I don’t see any thing wrong with questions asked from this guy.

  • h.Mani

    @Razi: You are over looking what drives G.P. 65.True he is not admirer of Pakistan or its hipocracy,he makes that very clear.I have never seen him out of line,not factual or ever in any other news out let,but you can not find factual error in his rejoinder You can not reprimd him for his fondness for TRIBUNE.I do not know if he is a admirer of other out right disfunctional country,INDIA.One must be fair,factual and objective,one can have biases,even be a bigot,but not a liar, I abhor liars.I would have backed you up if you had taken his points and knocked them down,one by one,as not factual.If you can not,then you know what to do?No one has yet,called us,a society which loves minority,does not slaughter its weak or discriminates females and poor down on luck weak unfortunate countrymen,in this Pakistan-India are one two punch.There is no running away or avoiding this,this is a well known secret.But then why do we indulge in it?Do you know?I don’t.Have a nice day.No malice.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat


    I agree, but that’s a rather unclassy red herring, isn’t it?

    You cannot shift focus off one’s crime of murdering a person, by pointing out to some other criminal who murdered three. You have to judge a piece of news in its own national and cultural context.

    We’re not talking about minorities in Pakistan, or India, or Saudi Arabia, whatever ghastly state they may be in. The topic of discussion is Muslims in America.Recommend

  • Pradhan

    Dear Blunt/Sane,
    The topic is not regarding what India did or didn’t. The discussion is why my Pakistani friends crying about what appeared in US media where their own media is far more worst than what showed in the “show in discussion here”. India never cried on social media about how people biased in America even when America actually was biased and close friend of Pakistan from 1947 to 1998.
    Sane Pakistani should took this kind of bias as an indication for introspection not a chance for criticism. No matter how much you cry/shout/criticize nothing is going to change if you don’t change yourself and start giving an impression that you want to be a constructive nation than whatever you are right now.
    As in game of cricket people say that it doesn’t matter who you are batsmen or bowler if things are not going your way then get back to basics. Things are not going in Pakistan’s direction so get back to the basics.
    If you guys really want answer to your accusations there are other articles/blogs already available on ET. so, I am not going to repeat those lines again but Sane, please do some research before you state facts. Blunt, Modi’s rise has nothing to do with the riots it has everything to do with corruption of current govt. the corruption is so much that the corruption money alone can buy more than 10 pakistan.Recommend

  • Ostrich,get ur head out of the sand

    @ Razi

    Oh… gp65’s comment is unpalatable, because the person’s the nationality ?
    What about the content of the comment ?Recommend

  • Dajjal

    So, what you are saying is that to believe in religion, one my suspend critical thinking? Recommend

  • qzj00

    Yes, one has to suspend critical thinking about religion . . . and that is why it is called faith. Religion can not sustain critical thinking and it must, by necessity, co-exist with criitical thinking being applied to all parts of life except to one’s religion! That is a paradox. Isn’t it? Recommend

  • Sane


    There is no need of further research. Your people have done enough research to conclude and then confession in your own court that all terrorist attack/activities for which Pakistan was blamed were basically planned and executed by your security agencies themselves. So positive thing is that India is the only country which attacks on itself and blame others. Must be a Guinness World Record, which never be broken.Recommend

  • Gp65

    @Faraz Talat:
    Do not disagree with you. This is why I did not give Fox a clean chit or for that matter the interviewer. My comment was simply directed to the author who I felt was handwringing on a small issue elsewhere when there were much bigger issues in his backyard that I have never seen him write about. Also I felt that taking this one silly interview and extrapolating it to Fox news being against Islam was excessive. @ja and @gratgy have elaborated on some of my concerns as well.


    Appreciate your kind words. My goal in coming to ET is not to gloat over India’s accomplishments (because lord knows we have plenty of major problems that need fixing). Nor do I have any antipathy to Pakistanis many of whom I count as my friends here in the US. I started viewing Pakistani newspapers after I was shaken by 26/11 as a Person who was born and raised in Mumbai and whose parents still live there. I feel that ordinary Pakistani people have been systematically lied to by their own government and this affects their world view and especially view of India and lately US. It is for this reason that when I come across factual inaccuracies or misleading conclusions I speak up. Oh and by the way I am a she – not a he.Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Faraz Talat: Your rebuttal to GP65 comment spoke my mind………thanks.

  • Anthony Permal

    Calling out Fox News is like calling out the Daily Mail.Recommend

  • You don’t sound very sane
  • Razi

    @Ostrich, get your head…

    Her criticism was a logical fallacy, and her response to the guy who pointed it out is equally unconvincing. So it’s not her nationality that’s an issue for me but Pakistani nationality is an issue for her.Recommend

  • Dajjal

    Fantastic, so what you are saying is that the only difference between Religious People and Star Trek/Star Wars/ Harry Potter/ Lord of the Rings Fans is scriptural literalism?Recommend

  • Noor

    @ Razi

    Sir,no one has problems with Pakistani nationality.. People are just frightened of the terrorist sponsoring image that the country has. Its not just because of the isi supporting groups in afganistan and kashmir,but also the average citizen’s nod to jihad against ‘infidels’.I don’t agree with you,but I respect your opinion.

  • sure?

    @Faraz Talat, @Parvez

    Cannot speak for gp65 but I have observed a sense of entitlement with this author that other people owe Pakistanis and Muslims (his blog on why Australia does not take in Hazaras who come by boat) and also in another blog a scathing criticism of expat Pakistanis because apparently one such expat accurately described situation in Karachi to a foreigner and that embarrassed the author despite the inherent truth. In other words , Pakistanis and Muslims are entitled to be thought of well and welcomed everywhere without taking into account their own conduct.

    The whole world knows what happened in response to Danish cartoons. It is not just Muslims in Denmark who protested but Muslims throughout the world. We saw the mayhem when Innocence of Muslims was uploaded. How then does it constitute Islamophobia if one Christian anchor is annoyed by Reza Aslam’s book which describes Jesus differently from Bible and in less than flattering terms? At least she wasn’t issuing fatwa (as was issued against Rashdie by Iran) nor did the US PResident declare Love Jesus Day.

    How you treat others surely has something to do with how you expect others to treat you – does it not?Recommend

  • Parvez

    @sure?: All what you’ve said has substance and could even be debated but kindly read Faraz Talat’s comment again dispashionately. The blog was on Fox-news, Reza Aslan, the book he wrote and Lauren Green……….and the author was drawing attention to something the Fox-News does well………being stupid.
    Now, to go off on a tangent in order to nurse ones greviences, was not right. This excellent forum ET provides may opportunities for stuff like that.

  • Christopher Hitchens

    Brilliant write up. Deserves a place in New York Times as the writers over there have somehow made a pact with the Devil. And by devil I mean Roger Ailes.Recommend

  • Gp65

    @Parvez: , @Faraz Talat,

    I feel @Sure? expressed my feelings better than I could have. In the very first sentence of my original post I acknowledged that Fox News has all kinds of bias. But my point then was o question this author’s attitude that it is okay for a Muslim to criticize Jesus and state that the Bible was wrong and as some others have said an anchor asking pointed questions to such an author hardly constitutes Islamophobia. I therefore gave example of what true oppression of people of other faith looks like. I did not give the example of Innocence of Muslims but reactions to that throughout Muslim word are of course is most relevant. Why does the author believe that behavior of Muslims towards non-Muslims In Muslim majority states would have no influence on how they themselves are perceived and treated elsewhere?

    As pointed out by @Sure, this is a pattern that one has observed with this author where a sense of entitlement is demonstrated.Recommend

  • Jamaluddin

    @Faraz Talat:

    And all other respected readers,

    Thank you all for the comments. Your appreciation and criticism is welcomed.


  • Katy

    @Anshuman Tripathy:
    Because what Fox News was doing was wrong, and the author called it out. When one person does something wrong, it doesn’t mean you have to focus on every other wrong thing on Earth too by other people. “Yes, but what about THOSE people who did THAT wrong?” We’re not talking about those people, we’re talking about THESE people.Recommend

  • Sid

    Completely agree that the interviewer was out of line. But you must take into consideration the thoughts that have been shared via the comments section.

    When you write in public space you most neutral observers will expect balance. There is a complete lack of it in your blogs.

    I can understand that you want to highlight the problems faced by the Muslim community, but either you feign it or show complete lack of understanding of interpersonal relationship dynamics.

    If people in islamic countries do not even allow others to practice their own religion freely, do not treat all as equal citizens, convert live on tv shows, go around giving hate speeches, is it not wrong for you to not even expect bias from one news channel?

    If i write a blog on the doubts that i have about certain aspects of ISLAM, would you take kindly to it. Forget that if the blog becomes famous people will go insane, but even one such as you would probably write a couter blog.

    Look inwards for solutions to your problems. Quite a few problems will be gone.Recommend