Reza Aslan, the host of “Believer” on CNN, is under fire for a scene on his show in which he ate human brains while showcasing a group of Hindus who practice cannibalism in India. Critics claim he was presenting a negative and inaccurate portrayal of the religion, as the group featured in the segment is only a very small faction and isn’t embraced by mainstream Hindus in any way.
CNN host eats human brains, sparking outrage. Reza Aslan, the host of “Believer” on CNN, is under fire for a scene on his show in which he ate human brains while showcasing a group of Hindus who practice cannibalism in India.
Religious scholar and television host Reza Aslan is facing backlash after he ate part of a cooked human brain with a Hindu sect as part of his new CNN show.
Aslan, 44, is accused of mocking Hinduism — a religion approximately a billion people worldwide practice — after featuring a fringe, cannibalistic sect of the faith on his new show, Believer, a six-episode “spiritual adventures series” in which he explores the “world’s most fascinating faith-based groups.”
“Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal,” Aslan wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “It was burnt to a crisp! #Believer.”
In a recently aired episode, Aslan sat with the Aghoris of India. The small sect worships Shiva, the Hindu God of Destruction, and have been known to eat feces, drink out of human skulls, eat human flesh and smear themselves with the ashes of corpses, CNN reports. The secretive sect is generally opposed by mainstream Hindus.
Aslan took part in the extreme rituals, having the ashes smeared on his face and eating the human brain tissue. He noted that the Aghoris are a “small movement,” adding that they take part in “ostentatious displays of defilement.”
Many have since condemned the journalist, accusing him of using a fringe group to represent the entire Hindu faith. Critics include U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu member of Congress, and Hindu Trump advisor Shalabh Kumar.
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
— Shalabh Kumar (@iamshalabhkumar) March 5, 2017
“CNN story on Hindu rites and cannibalism is completely baseless,” officials with the U.S. India Political Action Committee said in a statement.
“Most Hindus are vegetarians and uphold non-violence,” Sanjay Puri, chairman of the committee, also said. “We are very disappointed. This is an issue that is of deep concern to the Indian American community evidenced by the large number of calls/emails we have received.
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