First Hindu lawmaker in US Congress slams CNN’s portrayal of Hinduism

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, has accused CNN of ‘sensational and false’ reporting about religions after it aired a show which has allegedly portrayed Hinduism in a negative light.

Tulsi Gabbard - member of the US House of Representatives from Hawaii's 2nd district
Tulsi Gabbard - member of the US House of Representatives from Hawaii's 2nd district. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia.org

The only Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, Gabbard wrote on her Facebook page, “CNN on Sunday aired the first episode of a new series called 'Believer' hosted by Reza Aslan. For this episode, Aslan apparently sought to find sensationalist and absurd ways to portray Hinduism.”

"Aslan and CNN did not just throw a harsh light on a sect of wandering ascetics to create shocking visuals as if touring a zoo but repeated false stereotypes about caste, karma and reincarnation that Hindus have been combating tirelessly," she alleged.

The show explores the facts and myths behind the Aghori, a mystical Hindu sect known for extreme rituals.

The three-term congresswoman said she is ‘disturbed’ that CNN is using its power and influence to increase people’s misunderstanding and fear of Hinduism when people across the country are working hard to increase mutual understanding and respect between people of different religions.

"CNN promotional materials and trailers that included a scene showing a group of Hindus under a caption, 'CANNIBALS', perpetuated bizarre and ugly impressions of Hindus and their religion," she charged.

"CNN knows well that sensational, and even false reporting about religions only fosters ignorance that can lead to terrible consequences," she said.

'Believer' hosted by Reza Aslan
Reza Aslan - the host of 'Believer'. Photo courtesy: CNN.com

Gabbard hoped that CNN and Aslan will engage with the Hindu community moving forward to resolve the pain and outrage that the 'Believer' episode has engendered in the community.

The documentary focused on the rare Aghori sect, which uses ritual practices with physical objects to invoke divine grace, said the Hindu Student Council.

Reza Aslan explores the facts and myths behind this religion. ‘Believer’ airs every Sunday at 10:00pm ET/PT.

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Garima Kapil
Garima Kapil – Senior Writer

Garima Kapil has around five years of experience in the field of writing and editing. Specialised in writing, performing proof-reading and text editing functions along with content ideation; she has worked with leading e-commerce and as a freelancer. She writes on lifestyle, news, telecom, travel, education, healthcare, immigration, along with other subjects required as a full-time writer and freelancer. 

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