Reza Aslan will no longer be on CNN.
The author—of books like No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (2005) and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (2013)—had been working on season two of his show Believer for CNN, a documentary series about religion globally.
Aslan courted controversy last week when he Tweeted about President Donald Trump; Donald Trump had attacked Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, after quoting the mayor out of context, adding that the attack justified enforcing Trump’s failed travel ban. Aslan—perhaps realising that Trump had singled out the “Muslim mayor” and had neglected to attack the mayor of Manchester, a white man whose city had also been subject to attack—Tweeted that Trump was a “piece of”…
Well, not a piece of chocolate.
Aslan apologized for the Tweet last week. CNN has nonetheless confirmed Believer's cancellation to The New York Times.
Aslan Tweeted his own statement in response.
“Obviously I am very disappointed in this decision," he wrote. " Believer means a great deal to me and to the countless viewers it's reached. Its message of religious tolerance and exploration is extremely important right now. I am deeply grateful to CNN for giving me the opportunity to launch the show and to amplify my voice on their network. I am especially grateful to the legion of people within the Turner organization who worked so hard to make the show a hit series. However, in these politically charged times, the tenor of our nation's discourse has become complicated, and I recognize that CNN needs to protect its brand as an unbiased news outlet. Similarly, I need to honor my voice. I am not a journalist. I am a social commentator and scholar. And so I agree with CNN that it is best that we part ways. I look forward to partnering with another platform in the future to continue to spread my message. I wish CNN all the best.”
I do love the idea of Aslan’s comments being vulgar, but Donald Trump getting to say all the horrible, racist, stupid things he’s said and still both being elected President and managing to hold onto power for this long.
It does say quite a lot about American society.
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