Muslim scholar Reza Aslan has been quite busy of late. His 2013 bestseller “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” is currently being adapted as a major feature film by screenwriter and former studio head, James Schamus. Reza is also co-founder of BoomGen Studios, and the host of “Rough Draft,” a talk show on Ovation, as well as the host of CNN’s upcoming docu-series “Believer” which is about religion and culture.
In this interview for the Los Angeles Times, the never shy scholar talks about faith, pop culture, extremism, and yes, politics. He says this about Donald Trump: “The most important thing to know about Donald Trump is he is not a fringe character. Forty percent of Americans — not 40% of Republicans — think there should be a national registry of Muslims, 56% of Americans think that we should actually bar all Muslims from entering the United States. We keep asking: How is it that this man is getting such support in the elections. How? Because people agree with him.”
But Reza says he’s doing something to change stereotypes and perceptions, “We’re trying to develop television shows, feature-length films, projects that work to create a different perception of the people, the cultures, the stories, of the Greater Middle East. Part of that involves simply having Muslims and Middle Easterners being normal on TV.”