CNN presenter Reza Aslan sparks backlash after he eats HUMAN BRAIN while filming with Hindu cannibal sect
NEW YORK: A number of Hindu leaders and activists are angry about a new CNN show they say depicts their faith in a sensationalist manner. “Believer,” hosted by religion scholar Reza Aslan, premiered on Sunday with an episode on an obscure Hindu sect that practices cannibalism. The Aghori reject India’s caste system, as well as the notion of untouchables and the distinction between purity and pollution. In the hour-long premier, Aslan sits down with an Aghori guru and ends up getting smeared with cremated ashes and drinking alcohol from a human skull. At one point, he takes a taste of what’s presented to be cooked human brain tissue. The guru later threatens to cut off Aslan’s head if the scholar asks any more questions, and begins throwing his own waste at Aslan and the camera crew.
2/ I am very disturbed that CNN is using its power and influence to increase people’s misunderstanding and fear of Hinduism.
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) March 7, 2017
The U.S. India Political Action Committee, an advocacy organization for the Indian American community, released a statement claiming that CNN was presenting “a fringe sect … as the face of Hinduism.” “In a charged environment a show like this can create a perception about Indian Americans which could make them more vulnerable to further attacks,” USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri said in the statement. The Hindu American Foundation released a statement on Sunday saying the organization was “extremely concerned that while they are not Aslan’s intentions, erroneous depictions, misleading imagery, and provocative first half of the program could exacerbate Hinduphobia in the face of widespread religious illiteracy about Hinduism.” Aslan responded to claims of Hinduphobia on Twitter:
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) March 6, 2017