Reza Aslan: GOP Is Party of ‘Xenophobia, Anti-Muslim Bashing’

Writer Pictures/Pascal Saez via AP Images
Writer Pictures/Pascal Saez via AP Images

Islamic activist Reza Aslan appeared on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show Monday night to talk about the recent remarks about Muslims by GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson.

Aslan, an Islamic scholar, also noticeably refused to directly answer a theological question about whether Muslims consider the son of a Muslim (as is the case with Barack Obama) to be a Muslim.

Aslan said their statements were just an example of “xenophobia [and] anti-Muslim bashing,” predicting that the GOP had become so anti-Muslim that they would receive a boost in the ratings for speaking negatively about Islam.

Cooper asked Aslan his thoughts of Dr. Carson’s comments that he would not support a Quran-following Muslim as President of the United States. Aslan said:

I’m not that surprised. In fact, the only thing that I’m surprised about is that the Muslim-bashing has taken this long to come out in the GOP field. I mean, in 2012, you know, we had Herman Cain saying he would never have a Muslim serve on his cabinet. We had Newt Gingrich promising a constitutional amendment banning Shariah in this country. And frankly, you know, the comments of Trump and particularly, Dr. Carson, I think are going to be rewarded in the GOP field.

“The xenophobia, anti-Muslim bashing in the modern GOP today. Sadly, that’s how you get votes,” he added.

The American Spectator’s Jeffrey Lord, who was also on the CNN panel, reminded the audience that it was Hillary Clinton who first labeled Barack Obama as a Muslim. Lord cited a segment from the book of Barack Obama’s body man, Reggie Love, in which the President reportedly called Hillary out for starting rumors suggesting that he followed Islam.

“Clearly, a lot of people feel” that Barack Obama may be a Muslim, Lord said.

“My problem is, in his past capacity as a Christian and a presidential candidate, he didn’t act on Jeremiah Wright. He had the authority to get him booted from that church pulpit, and he didn’t do it,” Lord added.

Lord, a former official in the Reagan administration, suggested that everyday Americans care more about their employment status than what religion the President follows, and that the issue was simply one that was driven through the mainstream media.

Cooper then turned back to Aslan to receive assurance that this was a “big issue” for Muslims in America.

“Ben Carson, for a man who wants a job for enforcing the Constitution,” is violating Article 6 in the Constitution, Aslan claimed.

At the end of the segment, Jeffrey Lord challenged Aslan on Islamic theology, asking the self-professed Islamic scholar what Muslims consider the religion of the son of a Muslim to be. “Is it true, that in the Muslim faith, that if you are the child of a Muslim father that you are considered by other Muslims to be a Muslim?” he asked.

Aslan would not directly answer the question. “A Muslim is whoever says he’s a Muslim,” he responded, before continuing to repeat himself and refusing to answer the theological question.

Cooper never discussed Aslan’s controversial background as a hardened leftist who has shown sympathies for Islamic terrorist organizations. He is on the board of an alleged Iranian regime front group, the National Iranian American Council. During the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, Aslan suggested that the Holocaust-denier was “actually a reformer.”

In 2010, he suggested that Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist organization, should be a part of a future Palestinian state, and that the U.S. should negotiate with the jihadi outfit.

In a 2009 speech, he said of the Iran-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, “You may think of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and certainly they have engaged in terrorist acts, but they are also the most dynamic political and social organization in Lebanon.”


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