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An Online Petition Wants CNN To Stop Airing Reza Aslan’s Show On Hinduism

Published on 7 March, 2017 at 8:17 pm By

On Sunday CNN started airing a show on Hinduism hosted by Reza Aslan, an Iranian-American scholar of religious studies. The first episode of the show, ‘Believer with Reza Aslan’, focused on Varanasi, India’s oldest city and considered holy by all Hindus.


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Many were offended with the title of the first episode which was, rather inexplicably, ‘City of the Dead’.


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An online petition on Change.org is now urging CNN to stop the show.

The petition highlights that the show’s depiction of Aghoris is ill-informed:

The show characterizes Hinduism as cannibalistic, which is a bizarre way of looking at the third largest religious community in the world.

It tells CNN the difference between Hinduism and Abrahamic faiths:

The Hindu spirituality encapsulates a unique knowledge system that transcends the material and the non-material. Hinduism gives complete freedom to its practitioners to pursue spiritual knowledge in a way that suits them. There is no religious authority that enforces any kind of law, any commandment, any fatwa. Hindus are governed by the law of the land as determined by a democratic polity.

And points out how Aslan is misrepresenting Hinduism:

By decontextualizing the sect Mr. Aslan is showing, he is equating Hinduism with all other religions that are governed by a single book, which are commandments driven, which have religious bureaucracies, and have history of countless genocides committed in the Jihads and the Inquisitions.

The petitioners warn CNN of the dangerous consequences for the Hindus in the US the show will trigger:

The morning after, the Monday morning, when Hindu kids go to school in America, they will be bullied by their classmates as cannibals! Some may even commit suicide. A few deranged of the society will get their guns and open fire in Hindu temples to eliminate the “cannibals” of the society. And in all these acts you as a news organization will share the responsibility.

Though the show started airing, the petition continues to gain more signatories as it heads to the mark of 25,000.

In fact Hindus in the US are miffed with the entire show and its myopic portrayal of Hinduism.

Shalabh Kumar, one of the principal supporters of the US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter:

 

Individuals and Hindu organizations in the United States, too, condemned the show’s “xenophobic” portrayal of Hindu religion. Their concern is that manner in which Hinduism is being depicted in the show will fuel racial attacks on Hindus in the West.

Khanderao Kand, an activist who raised objection to the misrepresentation of Hinduism in California text books, told PTI that “telecasting this serial will add more misrepresentation, bias and may lead more hate crimes.”


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Similar was the view of US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) and other organizations.

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