The first time I saw Reza Aslan speak was at UCLA in 2011, when he appeared with the smooth-talking imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, the would-be imam at the Ground Zero mosque. The two sat on the stage in front of a swooning academic audience as Aslan acted as moderator. It was accompanied by a handful of planted "questioners" in the audience during the programmed q and a.
Reza Aslan, who is a professor at UC Riverside, is one of those smooth talking academics who pose as moderates in order to persuade the public that all this terror, hate and violence we see in the Islamic world has nothing to do with Islam. Never mind the fact that virtually all of these actions are accompanied by cries of "Allahu Akhbar" ("God is Great"). In the below treatise for CNN, Aslan uses academic language to fog the issue. He also brings up the example of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik to make his case.
Some observers would like to argue that Breivik was acting out of Christian motivation when he killed 77 people in Norway. It is true that his biggest anger was Muslim immigration in Norway and Europe. Aslan quotes Breivik as calling himself a "Christian warrior". Breivik is also quoted as calling himself an "agnostic" as pointed out here by Paul Austin Murphy in American Thinker. If Breivik is indeed an agnostic, that removes him from the argument because Islamic terrorists and those trying to impose sharia law hardly consider themselves agnostics when it comes to religion.
Aslan also brings up Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Ottawa attacker who recently killed a military guard before being shot to death in the Canadian Parliament building. It is true as Aslan points out, that Bibeau had a troubled youth with arrests for theft and drugs. It was also true that after his conversion to Islam, he was trying to go to Syria to join ISIS. I seriously doubt that his desire to go to Syria was to rob banks or score drugs. He had shown no desire to kill anybody until he converted to Islam.
At least Aslan didn't bring up that other noted mass murderer, Timothy McVeigh of Oklahoma City notoriety. McVeigh's anger was directed at what he considered an oppressive government. Whatever his Christian background may have been (He was not religious), religion had nothing to do with what he did, any more than the Catholicism of Adolf Hitler and Al Capone influenced their actions. Every religion has its criminals and those who stray from the straight and narrow path. The question is whether their religious conviction (if any) has anything to do with their bad deeds.
But even if you want to mention McVeigh and Breivik in this discussion (They were indeed terrorists when they carried out their acts.), how many more examples do you want to list of modern day religious terror involving Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, or whoever? You run out of examples within a few moments. Try to do that with acts of Islamic terror-just since 9-11 (over 23,000 and counting). First of all, you don't have the time. Secondly, you need notes-boxes of notes.
Aslan is correct when he says that the acts of terrorists should not be applied to all Muslims. However, you cannot sweep away what is happening; the terror, the hate, and the persecution of non-Muslims and try to downplay the importance of Islam as the prime causal factor. The religious texts are there and are quoted extensively by those who kill. Would Aslan try to argue that all these fighters for ISIS, Al Qaeda and the ones who carry out acts of terror in the West are suffering from some other malady like PTSD, bi-polar disease, ADD, bad upbringing, or drug abuse?
Maybe Aslan should design some ground-breaking philosophy course to explain all this away. It seems that perhaps, that idea is creeping into his head. Just think what a hit it would be at UC Riverside.
He could call it Aslan's Theory of Causal Disassociation.