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Apr 25 2013

One sentence, from nine years ago

This matters.

As I said in the last post, Mehdi Hasan calls Maryam “Islamophobic” and claims that she “compares hijab to Nazism.”

mehdi3

This matters; he’s influential, and influential on the left as opposed to the right.

I expressed incredulity about his claim on Twitter but he hasn’t replied (yet) so I Googled. Guess where he got that little poison pen item.

Dear old Islamophobiawatch, that’s where. From a post nearly two years ago. And the post is bullshit anyway…as is most of what’s on Islamophobiawatch.

The hijab, too, is seen by the WPI [Worker-Communist Party of Iran] as part of some sinister Islamist plot. Writing in support of the headscarf ban in French state schools, Namazie delivered the following truly demented rant:

“‘My Hijab, My Right’ is like saying ‘My FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), My Right’!!! The veil is an instrument to control a woman’s sexuality, like FGM…. Today, more than ever before, the veil is political Islam’s symbol…. The veil is not just another piece of clothing – just as FGM is not just another custom. I suppose if it were to be compared with anyone’s clothing it would be comparable to the Star of David pinned on Jews by the Nazis to segregate, control, repress and to commit genocide.”

The linked article is from 2004. Bob Pitt of Islamophobiawatch went back seven years for a gotcha quote, so Mehdi Hasan is using something Maryam said in an article nine years ago to accuse her of “comparing hijab to Nazism” – which she doesn’t do in any case; she compares the hijab to the Star of David and then compares the purpose of the hijab to that of the Star of David.

This is very thuggish behavior.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    freemage

    I’d actually say that Maryam did compare Islamist doctrine (which mandates the hijab) to Nazism (which required the Star of David). That Islamist doctrine comes off looking poorly as a result is, frankly, Islam’s problem, not Maryam’s.

  2. 2
    georgelocke

    I agree with freemage. I don’t see that it’s possible to avoid viewing the above quotation as comparing hijab to nazi practices. It’s an apt comparison; it is a comparison.

  3. 3
    Thomas Hobbes

    I think “compares hijab to Nazism” works as a shorthand, in 140 characters, to describe what she said. Do you know if she has since backed away from that comment? Or said anything else that would suggest that she would repudiate the comment? If not, I don’t think it’s unfair to point to past statements to describe someone’s present views.

  4. 4
    left0ver1under

    To most people, fact checking means ensuring the facts one has are right.

    To a cretin like Hasan, fact checking means preventing the facts from being heard.

  5. 5
    Ophelia Benson

    I think the final phrase “to commit genocide” was too much, and I doubt she would say that today (if only because she’s had nine years of practice and experience, which teaches all of us what kind of thing to avoid).

    But “compares hijab to Nazism” is too short. On a loaded subject like that, if you don’t have room to be accurate, then don’t say it, or do 2 numbered tweets.

    And yes, I certainly do think it’s unfair to talk about Maryam “comparing hijab to Nazism” on the basis of one paragraph from nine years ago. If you have to go back that far then that’s a sign that your subject wouldn’t and doesn’t say it now.

  6. 6
    Acolyte of Sagan

    I think Hasan needs to realise that sometimes comparisons such as this are valid.

    Thomas Hobbes, wouldn’t it have been more honest of Hasan to say that Maryam ‘compares hijab to Star of David’? She was, after all, making a comparison of symbols of oppression, not of the identity of the oppressers.

  7. 7
    Thomas Hobbes

    Hi Acolyte of Sagan. Just saying “the star of david” on its own is too broad. The exact quote said that the hijab was “comparable to the Star of David pinned on Jews by the Nazis to segregate, control, repress and to commit genocide.” There is definitely an allusion to Nazism in there that I don’t think can be ignored. It might be a valid comparison. But I don’t think it can be ignored. And it certainly wouldn’t be ignored by someone on the other side of the issue. Most of us get very sensitive about Nazi analogies.

  8. 8
    Acolyte of Sagan

    Thomas Hobbes, isn’t Naziism’ as broad as- if not broader a definition than ‘Star of David’? I know it’s splitting hairs, but it’s a dirty tactic (and Hasan comes across as a dirty fighter) to selectively compare a symbol of oppression on one side with the oppressors on the other. Either compare like-for-like or don’t make the comparison.
    Had he been honest, he would have compared like-for-like claims, and said that she had compared ‘Islamists’ to ‘Nazis’. And still Maryam would have been right; after all, ‘segregate, control, repress and to commit genocide’ pretty much sums up both camps.
    OK, maybe ‘genocide’ is not currently applicable to Islam, though it is historically, and is certainly on the Islamic ‘to-do’ list (as it’s on other religions’ lists, of course) if the Jihadists are to be believed.

  9. 9
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh, “genocide” is applicable to branches of Islam, or Islam in certain places, or however you want to phrase it. But it’s not easily linkable to the hijab, as far as I know. I think possibly Maryam simply said a little more than she meant, in that sentence.

    But what Boko Haram is doing with its Sunday bombings? That’s genocidal. The Boston bombings appear to have been genocidal in their tiny way – the idea being just to kill some people in the dirty kuffar west. (If it’s true that that was the idea. I don’t know that it is.)

    That’s far from a monopoly of Islam though.

  10. 10
    Acolyte of Sagan

    Whether or not Maryam said more than she intended – and there is a case to me made that maybe she should have stopped the analogy before she got to ‘genocide’ – Hasan was being dishonest in saying that she compared the hijab to Naziism.
    One wonders if he would have had so many objections – or how he would have tried to spin it – had Maryam used a different analogy, and compared the hijab to the manacles and leg-irons of slaves.

  11. 11
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    This matters; he’s [Mehdi Hasan is] influential, and influential on the left as opposed to the right.

    Why is that? Why is someone influential on the left when they support enslaving women and discriminating against them and espouse all the brutalities of Islam triumphing over treating women as equal human beings?

    Why is anyone on the progressive feminist Left in the least bit sympathetic of Islam? This is, le’ts never forget a religion founded by a Dark Age warlord whose own holy book proudly boasts about and never condemns the fact that Muhammad first “married” and then raped a young girl when he was 53 and she was 6 then 9 or (sarcasm) just maybe as old as ten?

    (Actually several of them. See Aisha, Hafsa bint Umar and Zaynab bint Khuzayma all around the same too young age and 3 of Mohammad’s eleven to thirteen wives. As long as Muslims revere this serial child rapist then they durn well *should* have a problem with decent human beings.)

    Maryam Namaze is an awesome person and is / was being intellectually honest and outspoken here. She deserves the Left’s, well frankly, everyones praise and respect for those accurate comments. I hope she doesn’t back down and gets the support of the rest of the world.

    I don’t know much about Mehdi Hasan at all; think this is first I’ve ever heard of him. I don’t know who he is or why we’re supposed to have anything but contempt for him given those intellectually dishonest and cherry-picked ancient comments in his unwarranted attack on Maryam here.

    I also think the whole concept that there’s such a thing as “Islamophobia” is at best highly dubious and at worst a pretty evident silencing tactic but that’s another story.

  12. 12
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    TIme Mehdi Hasan STOPPED being influential or at all listened to in the atheist and progressive community!

  13. 13
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    .. Muhammad first “married” and then raped a young girl when he was 53 and she was 6 then 9 or (sarcasm) just maybe as old as ten? Actually several of them. See Aisha, Hafsa bint Umar and Zaynab bint Khuzayma all around the same too young age and 3 of Mohammad’s eleven to thirteen wives. As long as Muslims revere this serial child rapist then they durn well *should* have a problem with decent human beings.

    Source :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad%27s_wives#Hafsa_bint_Umar_and_Zaynab_bint_Khuzayma

    &

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad%27s_wives#Aisha_bint_Abu_Bakr

    Plus :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aisha_bint_Abu_Bakr#Age_at_marriage

    Someone care to tell me why Islam deserves any respect from atheist and progressives at all and why this M. Hasan has any influence too?

  14. 14
    anne mariehovgaard

    I think “compares hijab to Nazism” works as a shorthand, in 140 characters, to describe what she said.

    No, it really doesn’t, it’s (deliberately) misleading. If you just say “hijab”, are you talking about the garment, the people wearing it, the people making others wear it, their reasons (ideology)…? She compares “making people wear a hijab” to “making people wear a Star of David”. So why didn’t he write “compares hijab to being Jewish”? That’s not what she said either, but it’s no more wrong than his version.

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