"Believer" may only be one episode into its premiere season, but it's already generating controversy.
For the CNN series' debut on Sunday, host Reza Aslan visited a Hindu sect that practices cannibalism. At one point during the hour-long airing, Aslan eats a piece of human brain.
This scene has been criticized for "sensationalizing" the Hindu religion.
One of the critics is University of San Francisco professor Vamsee Juluri, who wrote,
The idea of the show being sensationalized – specifically at a time when there are fears of xenophobia in the country – is a sense echoed by other Hindu critics as well.
Sanjay Puri, chairman of US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), said in a statement,
"Believer" revolves around documenting obscure faith groups around the world. The fact that an unorthodox Hindu sect was the first group to be featured perhaps adds to the shock value of the episode.
But considering the theme, there may very well be other episodes like it.
The irony? Aslan previously said he had hoped the show would create an understanding of people who are different from what most viewers are used to.
Still, CNN's airing attracted ire, including some harsh words from Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is the first Hindu to be elected to Capitol Hill.
CNN has not released a statement on the matter.
Citations: Daily Mail UK