CNN’s Reza Aslan Sparks Controversy After Eating Human Brain in New Show About Religion

Religious scholar and television host Reza Aslan is facing backlash after he ate part of a cooked human brain with a Hindu sect as part of his new CNN show.

Aslan, 44, is accused of mocking Hinduism — a religion approximately a billion people worldwide practice — after featuring a fringe, cannibalistic sect of the faith on his new show, Believer, a six-episode “spiritual adventures series” in which he explores the “world’s most fascinating faith-based groups.”

“Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal,” Aslan wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “It was burnt to a crisp! #Believer.”

In a recently aired episode, Aslan sat with the Aghoris of India. The small sect worships Shiva, the Hindu God of Destruction, and have been known to eat feces, drink out of human skulls, eat human flesh and smear themselves with the ashes of corpses, CNN reports. The secretive sect is generally opposed by mainstream Hindus.

Aslan took part in the extreme rituals, having the ashes smeared on his face and eating the human brain tissue. He noted that the Aghoris are a “small movement,” adding that they take part in “ostentatious displays of defilement.”

Many have since condemned the journalist, accusing him of using a fringe group to represent the entire Hindu faith. Critics include U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu member of Congress, and Hindu Trump advisor Shalabh Kumar.

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