Arguing again


I’m having a rather heated discussion with Mehdi Hasan on Twitter, with Oliver Kamm joining in, also the Ex-Muslims Forum and Alex Gabriel and a few more. What about? “Islamophobia” of course.

I started because Mehdi had been equating Maryam with fascists and the EDL earlier.

mehdi

mehdi2

 A. S. Markland

@mehdirhasan@MaryamNamazie It’s still fallacious to link fascist (irrational) with liberal-atheistic (rational) criticism of religion.

Mehdi Hasan

Really? Tell that to the fascist EDL who have in the past invited Maryam and co to join with them. Goodbye.

Maryam Namazie

Don’t be silly. If anything the EDL is more like your Islamist brethren. Both are far-Right. I am against both. @mehdirhasan@asmarkland

Mehdi Hasan

@MaryamNamazie@asmarkland So I’m an Islamist now? You’re a parody of yourself. Go away. The EDL are calling you. Ba-bye.

Maryam Namazie

I have never supported the EDL; unfortunately you cannot say the same about Islamism now can you? @mehdirhasan@asmarkland

Mehdi fights dirty. Maryam has nothing to do with the EDL or fascism; she denounces both.

He’s right that Muslims are a target group, but he’s dead wrong that all critics of Islam are xenophobic anti-Muslim bigots.

Update: There’s also one where he says Maryam “compares hijab to Nazism” – which sounds like a falsehood to me. In a tweet to me just now he even claimed she compares wearing hijab to Nazism, and that I really don’t believe.

mehdi3

Mehdi Hasan

@CEMB-forum Let me tell you what’s NOT legitimate: comparing hijab to Nazism and FGM, as your islamophobic friend @maryamnamazie does

That’s easy for him to say, isn’t it. No one is going to force him to wear it.

Comments

  1. says

    Someone once said of Hasan that he would be quite a good political writer for an Islamic journal, or quite a good Islamic writer for a political journal, but it was a mistake to have him as a political writer for the New Statesman. He’s overly religious. He’s also not much good at debating or at defending his ideas.

    But though he’s a devout Muslim I don’t think he’s an Islamist. Except for a little tenderness towards the Iranian theocracy, I’ve never seen any evidence that he was.

  2. says

    Maryam Namazie actively distances herself from the EDL, certainly. I think it is possible for liberal/atheist criticism of Islam to be tainted by Islamophobia – or anti-Muslim bigotry. I agree with Mehdi H that it’s difficult to fully disentangle criticism of Islam from attacks on Muslims – and I’m not sure he *does* say that all critics of Islam are xenophobic anti-Muslim bigots, or that he is an Islamist. What I don’t like is the way he has complained in the past that all criticism of him is motivated by Islamophobia – I don’t see why one should overlook his anti-kafir (sp?) bigotry but be expected to set the threshold low for Islamophobia.

  3. says

    Sarah, he was pretty much saying that in the Twitter argument. And if he’s willing to call Maryam “Islamophobic” and a fan of the EDL, he’s clearly not very careful about making the distinction.

  4. says

    @ #2 EDL – English Defence League a group who are nominally against Islamism in Britain, but who get described as islamophobic and racist quite a lot. I don’t live in the UK, so I don’t know if they’re racists pretending to be against the nastier types of Islam, or sensible people accused of racism by raving Islamists. It’s not always easy to separate the two.

  5. smhll says

    Update: There’s also one where he says Maryam “compares hijab to Nazism” – which sounds like a falsehood to me. In a tweet to me just now he even claimed she compares wearing hijab to Nazism, and that I really don’t believe.

    Looking at your other (more recent) post about this man’s claims about Maryam, it sounds like (from the source quote you provided) she compares having to wear the hijab to having to wear a Star of David on one’s clothing.

    (Which is not anything like saying “that dress makes you look like Hitler.”) (Couldn’t resist a brief burst of silliness. Sorry.)

  6. says

    I don’t live in the UK, so I don’t know if they’re racists pretending to be against the nastier types of Islam, or sensible people accused of racism by raving Islamists. It’s not always easy to separate the two.

    I can aver they are the former, not the latter.

  7. says

    The EDL are playing a very clever game. As far as I can tell, the word “Islamic” is a code word that their followers interpret as “anyone without a perfectly white skin and anyone from Eastern Europe.” They will come up with quite reasonable arguments against Islamism and then give these are reasons for deporting “them.” But, of course “them” includes the victims of Islamism and other people they don’t like who may have no connections with Islam whatsoever. It means they can pose as people who are unjustly accused of Islamophobia. I was once at a demonstration at which Maryam spoke. We were over the the other side of the Whitehall from Downing Street and to our right was a group, men only of course, of Islamic fundamentalists who were making an incredible noise although there were actually not many of them. Then a march turned up on the other side of the road in favour of the Islamists. I’m not sure who the were but many of them were carrying placards made by the “aptly named” Socialist Workers Party[1]. As if that wasn’t enough, the EDL turned up and they were shouting for us to join them. Some of them even came across to tell us what reasonable people they were and how they couldn’t understand why we didn’t support them. They then all got bundled into police vans. I’m not sure why but I saw a few glints of light that suggested that some of them may have been carrying knives.
     
        The situation is that many on the “soft left” who are steeped in a rather strange version of multiculturalism which is unable to countenance any cross-cultural moral values seem to find it very difficult to see the difference between criticising Islam and Islamophobia. This plays into the hands of the SWP, the EDL and political Islamic groups, who have very different agendas but can all use this confusion to their own advantage.
     
        The only thing to do is to keep arguing for sanity and to keep making one’s position crystal clear.
     
    [1] In case you were wondering the SWP are not socialists, they are not workers and they sure don’t know how to party.

  8. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Who is Mehdi Hasan and why is he given any influence or respect at all?

    I’ve not heard of him before this and what I am hearing about him here leaves me in little doubt he’s a contemptible, intellectually dishonest bully hiding his misogynist achilles heel behind the myth of so-called “Islamophobia” which is increasingly used as a ridiculous rhetorical silencing tactic.

    Maybe in future all progressives and feminists should automatically dismiss with well deserved mockery any and all such claims of “Islamophobia” by noting that for women in particular there’s nothing *unreasonable* at all about fearing a religious ideology that treats them – & so many others – so appalllingly brutally badly?

    Go get get ‘em Maryam and Ophelia!

    That’s easy for him [Meg to say, isn’t it. No one is going to force him to wear it.

    Very well said.

    Perhaps Mehdi Hasan should be challenged to dress in a Burqua and take a visit to Saudi Arabia for a year or so before he’s says anything else?

  9. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Argh. Blockquote fail, sorry. Guess y’all know where it is?

    Last two sentences there are mine and supposed to be outside of the blockquote natch.

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