The Islamic religious scholar who was badgered by a Fox News anchor for writing a book about Jesus admitted Monday that he “kind of had an idea” he was entering the lion’s den when he agreed to do an interview with the conservative cable news empire.
Reza Aslan, the author of the book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, said he wasn’t surprised that he was grilled by FoxNews.com anchor Lauren Green, who couldn’t seem to let go of the fact that a Muslim had written such a book.
“You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Green asked immediately to start the interview.
Aslan said that a scathing critique of his book that appeared on the Fox News website — and which Green cited in her interview — gave him a hint of what was in store.
“Well, yes. I’m familiar with Fox News for sure,” Aslan said during a radio interview on “The Majority Report.” “They did a few days before the interview, they published an attack piece on me. So I kind of had an idea what I was getting into.”
As he did during his interview with Green, Aslan insisted that, despite the protestatons from a number of Christian conservatives, he wrote the book as an academic.
“The philosophical backbone of [Green’s] question is that it would be impossible for someone to write about Jesus without some kind of faith-based prejudice,” Aslan said.
“It’s weird to all of a sudden talk about it as though only practitioners of a faith can write about the prophets of that faith,” he continued. “If that were true, there would be a lot fewer Islam books out there.”
This post has been updated.