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07/31/2014 03:57 pm ET | Updated Aug 01, 2014

Author Reza Aslan Defends The Right Of Celebrities To Speak Out About Gaza

From Rihanna to Penelope Cruz to Madonna, celebrities have taken to social media to weigh in on the ever-escalating conflict in Gaza. And according to author Reza Aslan, that is perfectly fine.

In a HuffPost Live interview with host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani on Thursday, Aslan weighed in on a recent Jezebel article that advised celebrities to “STFU” about the conflict.

“Why wouldn’t celebrities talk out about what’s going on? I don’t understand -- because they’re on TV and they make money [by] making movies their opinions are no longer valid?” he questioned. “That’s an unsophisticated and frankly silly view for Jezebel to have.”

Aslan also warned that Jezebel’s critique could prevent others from speaking out for fear of the “backlash that inevitably comes when a celebrity talks about political issues.”

Despite the possibility of repercussions, the author urged newsmakers and celebrities with large followings to “make their voices heard.”

“What we need more than ever right now is people who do have a much broader circle, a much broader audience to speak out and get off the fence,” he said. “There is no more room for sitting on the fence in a conflict like this...When you have children being killed by the dozen in their sleep...there is no more neutrality in a conflict like this.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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