SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, USA: Hundreds of Hindu-Americans in different cities in the United States of America, including San Francisco Bay Area, Houston, New York, Atlanta and Washington DC, led protest marches against a recent TV show on CNN which the Hindus believe, perpetuates Hinduphobia.
“At a time when a number of incidents of hate crimes and racial slurs have been reported across the country against Indians and Hindus, it is sad that CNN has allowed Hinduphobia to be perpetuated through this show.” said Mani Keeran of the Coalition Against Hinduphobia, a group of Hindu and Interfaith community organizations leading the protests.
He demanded an unconditional apology from both Reza Aslan and the CNN.
The show ‘Believer’, which CNN calls a “spiritual adventure series” is hosted by a controversial TV host named Reza Aslan.
The show has drawn criticism for its inaccuracies and dehumanizing depiction of Hinduism and India and has been castigated for, among many things, resorting to sensationalism and shock journalism, calling the holy Hindu city of Varanasi as “the city of dead”, mischaracterizing and essentializing Hinduism into the practices of a fringe sect and calling the river Ganga “a giant toilet.”
Dr Vamsee Juluri, an Indian American professor of Media studies at the University of San Francisco called the show “reckless, racist and dangerously anti-immigrant.” Pointing out several inaccuracies, mistranslations and mis-characterizations in the show he said “It is one saddening reality that despite having had immigrants in America for so many decades now, a major news channel like CNN still cannot do better than the old Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sort of story when it comes to India.”
“Far from wanting to experience any spirituality within Hinduism, Reza Aslan seems to have gone to India only to confirm his Orientalist biases,” said Chandrashekar Wagh of the Coalition Against Hinduphobia.
The protests were joined by many prominent leaders of the community as well as elected leaders. Ash Kalra, the first Hindu member of California Assembly who joined the protests at Milpitas said “The hate crimes against different communities including the Hindu-American community are based on ignorance and what CNN showed would only accentuate these crimes.” He said “the media had the responsibility of educating people about all communities and not spread ignorance.”
India Post News Service