People are lining up to buy an unlikely controversal book that has skyrocketed to number one on the bestseller list. The blockbuster, Zealot, a Controversial Biography of Jesus, is written by a Muslim scholar named Reza Aslan.
A fiery interview that aired on Fox News propelled the book's soaring sales. Host Lauren Green asked, “You are a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”
Aslan explained, “So it's not that I’m just some Muslim writing about Jesus. I am an expert in the history of religion with a PhD in religion.”
Over and over, host Lauren Green challenged Aslan's credentials for writing about Jesus because he's a Muslim.
Green asked, “Why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?”
Aslan replied, “Because it's my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That's what I do for a living.” The author continued, “This is not some attack on Christianity. My mother is a Christian. My wife is a Christian. My brother-in-law is an evangelical pastor.”
Green said, “You've been on several programs and never disclosed that you're a Muslim.”
“Ma'am, the second page of my book says I’m a Muslim. Every single interview I have ever done on TV or on print says I’m a Muslim," he said.
The interview is causing a firestorm. The Washington Post called the questions "loaded and prejudicial."
The Huffington Post says it was "cringe-inducing."
The book immediately soared to number one on the Amazon Best Seller list. The publisher rushed 50,000 additional copies into print.
David Freedlander of The Daily Beast said, "This was certainly the best thing for Reza Aslan's book, to get into this fight with Fox News."
The author talked about the interview on Piers Morgan Live.
Piers asked, “What were you thinking as that interviewer was asking those ridiculous questions?”
Aslan said, “Truly, I was kind of embarrassed.”
Zealot portrays Jesus as an illiterate and casts doubt on some of the basic tenets of Christianity, such as the virgin birth.
Fox News defended interviewer Lauren Green on their website: "She raised the uncomfortable question about why a Muslim was writing to deny the existence of the Christian faith."
But Reza Aslan says he's grateful, “I do thank Fox News for helping me beat J.K. Rowling. That never would have happened otherwise.”