Source: Huffington Post
By Carol Kuruvilla; Associate Religion Editor
As an American Muslim living in a climate of Islamophobia, Reza Aslan has had to develop a thick skin when speaking about his faith in public. In an appearance on Vox’s series “The Secret Life of Muslims,” Aslan shared a few conclusions about what he thinks can challenge negative perceptions of Islam.
As a scholar of religion and a New York Times bestselling author, Aslan is frequently called upon by the media to comment on issues surrounding Muslim life in America. Often, Aslan finds himself in the position of having to defend Islam, a faith practiced by roughly 1.6 billion people in the world, against the actions of a few political extremists. He’s also had his credentials as a New Testament scholar questioned on Fox News ― just because he’s a practicing Muslim.
“The hardest part for me when I’m being interviewed is to tamp down my astonishment,” Aslan said in the recently published video. “The thing that’s mostly going through my mind is, ‘Calm down, calm down.’”
What Aslan has learned from his experiences is that bigotry doesn’t stem from ignorance ― it stems from fear. Aslan believes that even truthful information doesn’t stand a chance against fear.