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Fox News interview brings 'Zealot' author bigger sales (+video)

After 'Zealot' author Reza Aslan appeared on Fox News for a much-criticized interview, his sales increased and the publisher ordered more copies.

By Staff Writer / July 30, 2013

'Zealot' is by Reza Aslan.

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After a Fox News interview with author Reza Aslan went viral, book sales for his new work “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” increased to the point that the publisher has now ordered more copies printed.

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Reza Aslan speaks on Fox News

Aslan appeared on the Fox program “Spirited Debate.” The host of the program, Lauren Green, got the interview off to an uncomfortable start by asking Aslan,  “You're a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?”

Aslan's answer: “I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”

“It still begs the question, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?” Green inquired.

“It’s my job as an academic,” the writer said.

At one point, when Aslan compared himself to a Democrat who might have studied President Reagan for 20 years (as Aslan has done with Jesus) and then written a book about him, Green asked, “Why would a Democrat want to promote democracy by writing about a Republican?”

Later, Green asked Aslan why he didn't disclose that he’s a Muslim. The author stated he mentions it on the second page of his book.

The New York Times called the interview “odd,” while Buzzfeed posted a story on the exchange with the headline “Is This The Most Embarrassing Interview Fox Has Ever Done?”

Aslan told the NYT that he was “thrilled” at how the interview has been received.  “You can’t buy this kind of publicity,” he said.

Aslan’s publisher Random House has ordered 50,000 more copies and sales are reported to have increased by 35 percent within two days. The book is currently at number 1 in sales rankings on Amazon and number 3 on Barnes & Noble.

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