UCR, the Magazine of UC Riverside, recently produced one of its periodic puff pieces on creative writing professor, self-declared Islam expert, and soon-to-be television host, Reza Aslan. The author, Vanessa Hua, is a former student and teaching assistant of Aslan’s who exhibits no objectivity whatsoever in lauding him as “a social media darling and a pop culture spokesman for Islam.” Later, she gushes, “People are always amazed that he works in many different realms, fiction and nonfiction, television, movies and academia.”
The adulation continues with a fawning quote from UCR creative writing lecturer Carly Kimmel:
I’m not sure all of his students even realize how famous he is. That’s sort of the beauty of Riverside. We are a bit protected from Hollywood here. Perhaps Reza likes that, too. He can just be “a great professor” when he’s here and he doesn’t have to be a celebrity.
Unfortunately, Aslan’s shoddy scholarship, apologias for Iran’s theocratic regime, willful blindness towards jihadism, advancement of the divisive “Islamophobia” myth, dishonesty about his academic credentials, and vulgarity are less impressive than his pop culture persona. Just don’t tell his press agents at UCR.
Cross-posted from Campus Watch.