Why Can't Fox News See Reza Aslan's Humanity?

If you were on the Internet at all this past weekend, you probably caught a glimpse of Reza Aslan’s now viral interview with Fox News host Laura Green. The segment plays more like an interrogation, as Green begins the interview asking Aslan why he, as a Muslim, would be interested in the life of Jesus, the founder of Christianity. Aslan, who has studied theology for more than 20 years and holds multiple degrees—including a Ph.D in religion—repeatedly references his academic background to Green, but to no avail. The Fox News host continues to badger him with questions about his faith and his motives for writing the book. In the clip, Green appears unable to understand how Aslan could be capable of writing objectively on the subject of Jesus—or be trusted to deliver an account of his life, degrees or no degree.

The interview has inspired outrage and derision across the web. But while the clip has largely rallied public opinion in Aslan’s favor, it gives insight into the ways in which the Right—and to an unfortunately large extent, American popular culture—perceives Muslims. Green can’t comprehend—or refuses to comprehend—how a Muslim person could overcome their Muslim-ness and participate, as an academic, in conversations that are not about Muslims. For Green, for Fox News, and for people like Peter King and Ray Kelly, Muslims seem to be one-dimensional stock characters incapable of autonomy or the capacity to reason. Is Green incapable of accepting Reza Aslan as an academic because she is incapable of accepting his humanity?
Green is, after all, only a product of her culture. Let's face it: popular culture has told us, time and time again, that Muslims are only capable of occupying a handful of roles: The Terrorist, The Subjugated Muslim Woman, and The FBI Informant. Tune into the terrorist drama of the week (CSI and Law & Order frequently contribute episodes to the genre) and you’ll become familiar with these generic on-screen Muslims. It doesn’t matter whether they’re Pakistani, or Afghani, or Egyptian, or Palestinian—they all speak the same gibberish language, wear the same Muslim-ish garb, and have the same terrorist-brown skin. They feature in any number of films on the same subject, whether playing background roles to Sacha Baron Cohen’s racist Dictator caricature or making cameos as oppressed, voiceless Muslim women in movies like Sex and the City 2.
These uneven media portrayals are more than misrepresentations. They strip Muslims of their agency and their humanity. If Muslims are not slaves to their violent faith, then they are slaves to their sexuality or inherently lascivious nature. Is it these portrayals that make it so easy for drone operators to shoot down anonymous Muslims in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan, like video game targets? Is it these depictions that make it so easy to go to war with Muslim-majority countries, with little thought to the devastating aftermath?
Maybe it’s a chicken-or-the-egg question. But consider popular culture’s treatment of Muslims in its fictional narratives and then see how people like Green can completely disregard all other facets of a Muslim man’s identity—all the facets that make him a living, breathing human—and reduce him to a stereotype. In Green’s world, Aslan’s Muslim-ness overwhelms his distinctions as a scholar of religion and as a prominent voice on interfaith relations in this country. Unlike his non-Muslim colleagues, who have written extensively on Islam (pick up any book on the subject at Barnes & Noble and it’s likely the author is non-Muslim), Reza Aslan is not seen as an academic. Instead, he’s seen as someone to be suspected and interrogated, dissected, and exposed. Green—and others—will not let him get away with walking around in the clothes of a mortal human being.
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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