Can Muslims write about Christianity?

reza-aslan-cropped-proto-custom_24 (1)American public discourse about Islam is filled with essentialist paranoia, fear, and the commentary of people who not only don’t know much about the topic but are often dismissive of people who do.

But the reception that scholar Reza Aslan received on Fox last Friday was a new twist: Muslim views of Christianity are inherently suspect, it seems. Mr Aslan, who has a PhD in the sociology of religion from UCSB and a masters in theological studies from Harvard, is promoting his new book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” and was on with Fox religion correspondent Lauren Green to talk about it. He was born in Iran, his family fled the Islamic Revolution there in 1979, and he grew up in the US where he converted to Christianity as a teen and later converted back to the faith he was raised in.

Fox has been filled with Christian and Jewish commentators explaining Islam to their audience over the years. Daniel Pipes has been one of them. As has Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who became an atheist and who describes Islam as fundamentally violent and has written books attacking the faith. As have Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who both describe Islam as ‘inherently violent’. In the past, it’s even had conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck gives long expositions of the essence of Islamic law as he sees it.

None of those people are Muslims, yet as far as I’m aware their comments have never been questioned on the network as suspect since they came from non-Muslims. Yet his faith was a major talking point for Ms Green in their interview. Her first question? “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”



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