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Richard Dawkins and Mehdi Hasan

Andrew Brown of the Guardian accuses Richard Dawkins of “anti-Muslim tweets” for criticising the absurd beliefs of journalist Mehdi Hasan.

Now I know the likes of Andrew Brown and Mehdi Hasan have made playing the victim card into a business wherever Islam or Islamism are concerned but in the real world, a criticism of one’s religious beliefs are not bigotry. Full stop. If they were, then Brown’s criticism of Dawkins would be deemed bigotry against atheists. What applies to everyone else also applies to Mehdi Hasan.

Brown and Hasan conveniently forget the distinction between having the right to a belief (however absurd) and the expectation that others respect your beliefs.

In response to Dawkins, Mehdi Hasan tweeted:

@RichardDawkins thanks Richard. Now, can you pls clarify, should NS stop publishing me because of my Islamic religious beliefs? Yes or no?

Of course Dawkins made it very clear that he was not saying that religious journalists should not be allowed to publish but that is besides the point. The shrill cries of Islamophobia and further attempts at scaremongering people into silence continue unabated.

Now whilst Dawkins says Mehdi Hasan’s views should not prevent him from publishing in the New Statesman, I am not so forgiving.  Not because Hasan is a “Muslim” but because he is a proponent of Islamism – a far-Right movement.

I know he comes across all innocent as many Islamists do but here is more information on Mehdi Hasan for those who have been duped into thinking he is a “Muslim journalist”.
Mehdi Hasan has said:

The kaffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Quran; they are described in the Quran as, quote, “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as; not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no intelligence” – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Quran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.

On another occasion he has said:

Once we lose the moral high-ground we are no different from the rest of the non-Muslims; from the rest of those human beings who live their lives as animals, bending any rule to fulfil any desire.

Of course there is a lot more but I do not have the stomach to find them for you. He has defended the vile Islamic regime of Iran and attempted to normalise Islamism as the intervention of “Muslims” in the public space – so as to conflate Islamist with Muslim in order to cry racism and Islamophobia any time anyone confronts him and his beloved movement.
Well, sorry no can do.

For for those who don’t know the difference between a Muslim and Islamist, read this.

Of course Andrew Brown and Mehdi Hasan know this already. They are just hoping you don’t.

Comments

  1. Uthmān says

    1. In his original tweet, Dawkins was not only criticising the belief, but also the fact that, because of that belief, the New Statesman would print Mehdi Hasan’s journalism. This is the main basis of the objection to what Dawkins wrote. It is very clear from the tweet itself:

    “Mehdi Hasan admits to believing Muhamed [sic] flew to heaven on a winged horse. And New Statesman sees fit to print him as a serious journalist.”

    Even Dawkins later realised that his choice of words was problematic, and apologises for that here: http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/4/22/away-with-the-fairies

    2. Mehdi Hasan has responded to the allegations against him based on those Youtube videos in the following articles:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/dissident-voice/2009/07/islamic-extremists-muslim
    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/anatomy-of-a-hitchens-hatchet-job_b_1742497.html

    The first of those also deals with the claim that he is an Islamist. Frankly, as someone who could probably be described as an Islamist myself, I wish he was one. But sadly, I will have to deal with the fact that he really just isn’t.

    • Contessa de Metoncula says

      For heaven sake, we are in the year 2013 and you cannot call yourself a serious journalist if you believe that Mohammed flew to heaven on a winged horse, or Jesus Christ went to heaven or any other fairy tale!
      What was he smoking please?
      There is NO such a thing..It is my right not to believe this nonsense and to verbalize it ! Live with it!

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

        @Contessa de Metoncula : Well said and seconded 100% by me.

    • says

      Dawkins may have apologised but I still think that someone who is a proponent of right-wing Islamist movement should not be publishing in a left journal. Also I have seen Mehdi Hasan’s responses to “allegations” (err videos of him speaking). I don’t take any of that seriously. It is like a Sharia court telling me it follows equality laws. Hogwash. Go sell it to those who can be easily duped.

  2. Contessa de Metoncula says

    Organized religion is like fast food and is actually dead or non food! That does not mean there arent’ good things within those religions,but most of the time they are not applied! I resent the exclusivity aspect of all the faiths!
    It is just the opposite. Those who believe in Myths are as lazy as those who do not want shop or cook real food and leave it up to the industry to feed them without questioning how the food was grown, what pesticides and fertelizers were used, how animals suffered from birth before landing on their plate.
    Same thing with Myths..You cannot prove the existence of a man made God except in his or her imagination and therefore there is NO such thing like heresy. Before you can call it that, you have to prove the existence of a supreme being and that my friends, is impossible to do..
    One should have the freedom to believe or not to believe whatever they want to and not punished for either!
    Don’t impose your myths upon other! I am getting an indigestion of all the nonsense!

  3. says

    …but I still think that someone who is a proponent of right-wing Islamist movement should not be publishing in a left journal.

    Unfortunately many people on the left, for reasons I can’t quite fathom, don’t see political Islamism as right-wing.

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

          @Justin : His sort of mindset, OTOH, sure are.

          Should we give him a pass because his misogyny is covered by his skin pigmentation and belief system?

          • Justin says

            @StevoR: I would be more open minded if you were willing to illustrate how he is a misogynist. As far as I know, he is a liberal journalist, who has found no conflict with secular values and his religious beliefs. That Dawkins seeks to villify him for his religion rather than praise him for his secularism is something I find intensely frustrating.

  4. says

    Some of Mehdi Hasan isn’t bad. For instance, he wrote something decrying antisemitism among Muslims in the UK. This really needed saying and it needed someone like Mehdi to say it.

    Otherwise I’m slightly taken aback that someone so full of religion is/was a political editor for the New Statesman. A similarly fundamentalist Christian wouldn’t have a chance at that post.

    I’ve read his piece where he’s soft on Iran but where has he “attempted to normalise Islamism as the intervention of “Muslims” in the public space”?

  5. says

    I don’t think those comments make him an Islamist – atheists are sneery about sky fairies – though they were were really bigoted and offensive of course. I agree with Rosie about the fundamentalist Christian scenario I think. Dawkins really does push things – he retweeted something from someone hoping there’d be no Muslims at his holiday destination (having cancelled trip to Maldives – vile regime of course, and Dawkins quite right to say so.)

  6. Justin says

    What exactly is it about Hasan that makes him right wing? The fact that he denounced suicide bombing? The fact that he is skeptical of the concept of an Islamic state? That he calls enacting the death penalty for apostasy “an intellectually, morally and, perhaps above all, theologically unsustainable position?” His criticism of the Muslim community for antisemitism? His terrifying support of secular values?

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

    Maryam Namazie, heard of your clash with this scumbag Mehdi Hasan via Ophelia Benson’s blog and just want you to know, for whatever little it may be worth you have my admiration and support.

    @ Mehdi Hasan : Today, about three threads here and on Butterflies & Wheels’ is the first time of I’ve ever heard of you and its not a good first impression, you misogynist douche.

    Dude, what’s wrong with you? I gather you literally believe some Dark Ages warlord flew to Jerusalem and back to some Arabian hellhole in a single night on a flying horse having literally heard an angel in a cave tell him everything? (Well “everything” except for, y’know, anything at all that’s useful and true and good.) You think a murdering, thieving dark age child rapist – a man who in about his fifties raped at least three children – Aisha, Hafsa bint Umar and Zaynab bint Khuzayma – aged around ten or so that he claimed to have ‘married” is actually a “prophet” worthy of any sort of respect and an ethical role model? Seriously?

    Dude you are, I think, horrifically wrong and asan understatement are a flippin’ drongo to use Aussie-slang – and also a nasty misogynist bully.

    Prove me wrong.

    Here’s my challenge for you – answer my questions for starters, you know your faith more than I do but its in wikipedia and its in your koran, so tell me I’m wrong, tell me somehow there’s some justification for having eleven to thirteen “wives” plus a number of “concubines” at least three of the “wives” being flippin’ children aged ’bout ten years old! (Which is being charitable to your beliefs actually.) Tell me you can show good rational reason why some scumbag named Muhammad living back in the Dark Ages is a good role model for today’s 21st Century world who actually had a metaphorical clue about how to live like a decent respect worthy human.

    Now that’s the easiest part. Part two – put yourself in a woman’s shoes imagine being a girl getting raped by a fifty plus year old. Imagine three of them. Imagine their pain and terror and ignorance and suffering. Imagine yourself in the place of Islams’ many, many victims and outcasts and second or third or two hundred and thirty fifth class citizens. Try. It won’t match the reality but try anyway.

    Now to really test yourself and show you are worth something other than contempt put on the burka and stay in Saudi Arabia for a while. Or a Taliban ruled area of Afghanistan.

    Bet you won’t and can’t do any of these. Prove me wrong.

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

    a man who in about his fifties raped at least three children – Aisha, Hafsa bint Umar and Zaynab bint Khuzayma – aged around ten or so that he claimed to have ‘married” …(snip)… answer my questions for starters, you know your faith more than I do but its in wikipedia and its in your koran,

    See :

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

    Plus :

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

    In addition to :

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

    Excerpt from there :

    According to traditional sources, Aisha was six or seven years old when she was betrothed to Muhammad and nine when the marriage was consummated.[14][14][16][17][18][19][20] However, al-Ṭabarī records that she was ten.

    So Aisha was ten years old at oldest according to one source, nine by most others and “married” at six or maybe seven.

    I think that makes the “prophet” Muhammad a flippin’ disgusting child raping bucket of of vomit and a scumbag overgrown cult leader who should be globally reviled NOT revered. What do the rest of you reckon?

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

    @6. Justin : At a guess what makes Hasan right-wing would be his attitudes to women and the fact that he believes in a religio-political ideology that is exceptionally nasty, theocratic and totalitarian?

    Is it possible to seriously accept and follow a Dark Age overgrown cult that thinks women, apossites and Jewish people and atheists are deserving of death and still be a member of the progressive Left? I do not think so.

    • Justin says

      >Is it possible to seriously accept and follow a Dark Age overgrown cult that thinks women, apossites and Jewish people and atheists are deserving of death and still be a member of the progressive Left? I do not think so.

      But Hasan *doesn’t* think that. Do you honestly believe that every Muslim person in the world thinks like that? Then perhaps we shouldn’t be pooh-poohing words like Islamophobia, if all you can imagine is a horde of barbarians trying to storm our gates.

      • elyss says

        If he doesn’t believe those things then he cannot call himself a Muslim, just as someone who doesn’t believe in transubstantiation cannot call themselves a Catholic.

        • Justin says

          “You must adhere unfailingly to my straw-man of your belief system or you are not a TRUE Muslim?”

          Yet we never nod our heads along with the pundits who say that the only intellectually honest atheist cares not a whit for morals, now do we?

          • zibble says

            You’re comparing downplaying the atrocious teachings of a supposedly perfect holy book with taking a hugely reductionist take on atheism? Even if you’re right, that’s a crappy analogy.

            It’s also not a straw-man to actually know what’s in the Koran and what it says. The fact that Hasan doesn’t know what’s in the Koran or makes excuses not to care doesn’t change the fact that he’s promoting its views.

            It doesn’t matter if Hasan isn’t actively promoting pedophilia – okay, scratch that, it does matter, since some Muslims actually do – he’s still promoting a pedophile, and he, and most religious believers, seem to think it’s okay to do that without taking any kind of responsibility.

  10. Justin says

    @zibble

    >You’re comparing downplaying the atrocious teachings of a supposedly perfect holy book with taking a hugely reductionist take on atheism? Even if you’re right, that’s a crappy analogy.

    You uh, don’t see the similarities? It’s one group of people putting words in the mouth of another group of people (that they don’t like). Or do you honestly believe that all 1.75 billion Muslims in the world are violent jihadists out to murder you for not believing in Santa? Because if you do there’s really no point in having this conversation, you have more serious problems than this.

    >It’s also not a straw-man to actually know what’s in the Koran and what it says. The fact that Hasan doesn’t know what’s in the Koran or makes excuses not to care doesn’t change the fact that he’s promoting its views.

    Feel free to cite as many in or out of context passages from the Koran as you like, it still doesn’t change the fact that the vast majority of Muslims have far more reason to be antipathic towards the west than we do of them. It also doesn’t change the fact that it’s terribly wrong to condemn a large group of people for views that minorities only have.

    Take me, for example. I’m a South Asian Atheist, who, by virtue of my skin color has *suffered* anti-Muslim bigotry. It’s absolutely horrible, and being discriminated against for views you don’t even have? It’s a real eye opener. It shows you how little your actual practices have *anything* to do with the discrimination you face.

    >It doesn’t matter if Hasan isn’t actively promoting pedophilia – okay, scratch that, it does matter, since some Muslims actually do – he’s still promoting a pedophile, and he, and most religious believers, seem to think it’s okay to do that without taking any kind of responsibility.

    I love this terrible statement. I just love it.

    Take me, for example, as an American. And look at *all* the terrible things we’re doing across the world. It doesn’t matter if you and me are actively promoting violence overseas – okay, scratch that, it does matter, since some Americans actually do – we’re still supporting a nation that condones extra-legal drone strikes that kill children: http://www.asiantribune.com/node/62242, that force-feeds prisoners on hunger strikes that haven’t been charged with any crimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/opinion/hunger-striking-at-guantanamo-bay.html?_r=0, and that, oh yes, assaulting Iraq War veterans for happening to be Muslim: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/muslim-cabdriver-alleges-assault-by-passenger-who-cited-boston-bombings/2013/04/30/9fa45a7c-b0d2-11e2-bbf2-a6f9e9d79e19_story.html

    And most Americans seem to think that it’s okay to support this country without taking any kind of responsibility. We aren’t all Americans just moving to Mexico?

    Maybe because they see some good things in being there, or else don’t feel personally responsible for the bad things that people who aren’t them do.

    At the very least, it’s absolutely terrible to call Mehdi Hasan a bad person *just because of his religion.*

  11. G Lewis says

    I like how Mehdi Hassan snaked his way out of saying the death sentence for apostasy wasn’t in the Quran. well, he’s right. Because it’s in the Hadiths. That weasle makes my blood boil.

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