Mehdi Hasan’s hypocrisies

British hypocrite

Update: Since this post is receiving many-fold more visitors than this blog normally receives in the whole day, here is the TL;DR for those who are too dim to read, or too lazy to do so: Hasan should not engage in guilt-by-association against others when the tactics are so easily turned against himself. That is all.

End update

As I am trying to withdraw from Twitter food-fights I did not want to comment on this on that medium. But, since I have a platform of this weblog, I did think it would appropriate to point out a peculiar sort of behavior by Mehdi Hasan, a relatively prominent commentator in the UK who is becoming more well known in the USA.

A few days ago I saw Hasan criticizing Rand Paul on Twitter for the fact that his father was involved in a controversy around racist newsletters in the 1990s. I thought it was strange for Hasan to imply that the guilt of the father should echo down through the generations, The main issue I have with this sort of behavior is that Hasan himself was saying that homosexuals were pedophiles and non-Muslims lived like animals down into the 2000s, far more recently than the Ron Paul Newsletters. Hasan has disavowed these views, and my own view is that unless otherwise shown one can probably accept that he’s changed his positions (he has, for example, denounced the traditional Islamic punishment of death for apostasy in the last decade).

Hasan should probably more careful than most in holding someone’s past against them, let alone the transgressions of someone’s father (no matter the context). The grace that he is given, he should give to others.

His behavior indicates to me that he believes he is prominent and powerful enough that no one will point out the hypocrisy of his behavior in asking forgiveness of his own past while holding the past of the parents of ideological opponents against them.

But the main reason I’m posting now is that today I saw something again where Hasan attempted to play guilt-by-association: this time against Tulsi Gabbard. In particular, he criticized her for appearing on Tucker Carlson’s show, which is bad because Carlson is a bad person (a racist according to Hasan). Of course, some of us are aware that Hasan has a long-time grievance against Gabbard for being Islamophobic. It wasn’t a coincidence that he criticized her.

My problem is that Hasan works for Al Jazeera, which owned by the government of Qatar. Qatar is a repressive, reactionary, and racist state. I say this from personal experience having visited. Of course, I myself had fun in Qatar, because I stayed at a nice hotel, and drank wine and dined at Nobu. But we all know the lives that the Asian and African work-force live to maintain the techno-reactionary utopia (of course Western people are treated well in Qatar).

No one is pure and lives on an island. The United States itself has blood on its hands, and all Americans who are citizens of this democracy have some share of that. I don’t begrudge progressive journalists who work for Al Jazeera English. A job is a job today in journalism, and Al Jazeera is a big organization with diverse views. But, the fact is that within Al Jazeera its non-English arm often trades in racism and religious bigotry, and the ultimate ownership is in the hands of an autocratic monarchy.

To me, this means that employees of Al Jazeera English should show a bit of humility and acceptance of moral complexity when it comes to complicity and associations. As it is, quite often they are among the most woke and self-righteous exemplars of the opinion journalism class. Tucker Carlson and Fox News are perhaps nasty and racist in Hasan’s view, but Al Jazeera is sponsored by an incredibly classist and reactionary government. Should the latter negate our acceptance of Hasan’s assertions that he is a progressive person?

Hasan’s problem with Rand Paul is clearly with the views of Rand Paul. His problem with Tulsi Gabbard is that he believes she is Islamophobic. He should focus on these issues, instead of attempting guilt-by-association, because he and many other self-righteous pompous journalists live in gossamer glass houses.

48 thoughts on “Mehdi Hasan’s hypocrisies”

  1. Yes, I noticed this double standard in Mehdi Hasan even in his talk shows. He invites people and then talks them down….

    1. If he stops attacking Trump for some reason his work will not have anybody market in the US. If he has to go back to UK he needs to find some one else to be obsessed with like Boris Johnson but of course he still have the old reliable liberals’ enemies to attack Like Putin plus Qatar’s enemies like Saudis Egypt UAE

  2. Hasan’s old comments come up regularly for discussion on Twitter and he does regularly apologise for them. I don’t particularly blame him for them, unless you have really liberal and secular Muslim parents who have gay friends (or are unfortunate to live in a rural Pashtun area) you are going to be brought up with the view that homosexuality is a perversion.

    If I have a criticism, he is a rather shameless careerist (although again that is something drilled into S Asian youth). After he went on a tirade about how the tabloid Daily Mail had a long record of stirring up race hatred, they released a letter from him to the paper’s editor asking for a column in the most cringing and obsequious terms.

    My uncle’s lived in Qatar for the past thirty years or so, from what he says its about as racist and reactionary as every other state in the region. Athough definitely less so when it comes to Shia Muslims (of which Hasan is one), they are mostly left alone and not harassed by state authorities.

    1. Why do you say ” or unfortunate to grow up in a rural Pashtun area”. It’s not unfortunate to grow up there. How about in a rural Pakistani, Indian or Arab area. Stop pointing put Pashtuns and Afghans and what’s wrong with thinking homosexuality is a perversion. Freedom of Speech.

    2. Actually, am a fan of Mehdi, but I really don’t know more about his past, I don’t know if you could shed more light.

  3. In the last decades Qatar armed and funded many Terrorist organization in the Middle East. Hassan claimed that he abandon his support for Jihadist and the liberal media accepted that. It is absurd because his work for Al Jazeera include articles as a propaganda for Jihadist and Muslim Brotherhood. To gain acceptance in US the liberal media he devised a scheme and operate on 3 fronts: 1- relentlessly attack Trump and supporters 2- trying to join Jewish organization as fighter of anti Semitism with particular focus on Trump supporters but he had little success because Jewish .org will never trust him 3- fighting against racism, anti immigrants, Islamophobia, and expressed strong hostility against Putin because he help fighting terrorism in Syria and elsewhere. All that helped with the appearance on CNN and MSNBC to act as liberal Muslim. To urn the trust of liberals and Zionists .org he staged an interview with congresswomen Omar and secreted from he the “white man# comment.

    1. “Qatar has funded terrorist organizations”

      This is a meaningless statement. The United States, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Russia, Israel, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco have all funded or are currently funding terrorist organizations in the region.

      Just say Qatar’s foreign policy is adversarial to the United States, as that’s what your statement is code for.

      1. Adversarial to the US? The US has a HUGE naval base in Qatar which I doubt would be the case if the ties between the two where “adversarial”.

      2. I agree with you that all the counties you mentioned had and still funding and arming the terrorists of all affiliations, except Russia who suffered many casualties fighting them at home and in Syria. My focus on Qatar was related to Hassan and his work for Al Jazeera the most power media org in the region. With Hassan’s help they propagated many fake stories and video clips alleging that Assad used Chemical weapon, barrel bomb against civilians. Qatar still calling ISIS and al Qaida Freedom fighter or rebels at best.

      3. Well said, but no one will point out at the Western countries funding terrorism Israel and US are the biggest terrorist out there but of course being world’s super power everyone is silent.

  4. Vine? Red? That’s good for genes (especially R1A). Hope, Xerxie is not reading.

  5. note: i am moderating this thread. notice some stupid people leaving comments. i’m not posting those comments, and banning those people.

    please be advised you comment at your own risk on any of my posts. i find many of you odiously stupid.

    1. razib – zero value-add comments like this one are making it through your filter 🙂

  6. Quite a bit of Al Jazeera senior staff in its early days were former BBC employees in the region, which is why it had such a good/solid start right from the get go. A new News channel usually takes a while to reach that level but they avoided that.

    BBC also had the infamous HARDtalk program. Host is now Stephen Sackur but also had the legendary Jeremy Paxman before.

    Mehdi Hasan seems to be molding his profile into one of these types of News-tainment (because this is News Entertainment) Hosts. India has Karan Thapar in this role.

    Eventually (and esp. in current global environment, of the last decade) this approach is harder to sustain because People-Blocks are calcifying and one is eventually going to piss off enough people that the premise of why these Types of Hosts were famous/relevant/revered in the first place loses significance.

    Thapar in India already suffered as he had his access to higher level BJP people severely curtailed. It becomes an echo chamber soon enough.

    Maybe the best way to go would be to have a unbiased AI Host do these Paxman like evisceration of the interviewee.
    There already are some AI Hosts doing news casting, this is feasible enough and the pros far outweigh the cons (if any).

    A 30 minute interview where both sides (if there are 2 sides) get absolutely slammed and taken to task, what is not to like, the audience will be massive as well because it will no longer be catering to 1 block exclusively.

    If humans can’t trust each other, bring in a neutral arbiter. There is nothing like the capacity of an outside threat (AI, Aliens, etc) to Unite us. Lets use that biological mechanism to our collective long term benefit.

    1. “Neutral” is itself an object of contention. I have (Lefty) friends who emphatically think The Atlantic is “neutral” and/or “balanced.” To its credit, it includes heterodox commentators (Frum, Friedersdorf), but they are 1) a neocon Iraq War cheerleader and 2) a libertarian conservative. You’re not going to see anyone representing a Trumpist/populist perspective. Or any perspective from the “Somewhere People.”

      The Lefty would respond: “working as intended.” Those perspectives should not be represented, The Atlantic is “neutral” between everyone who matters.

      Ok, but that is not immediately obvious to me, or to good chunks of America.

  7. “As it is, quite often they are among the most woke and self-righteous exemplars of the opinion journalism class.”

    Perhaps this is an attempt to purge their guilt-by-association due to working for an organization that “often trades in racism and religious bigotry, and the ultimate ownership [of which] is in the hands of an autocratic monarchy.”

  8. I think there should also be focus on the US hypocrisies in the Mid east
    (please free to remove if not appropriate on this thread).

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Wall Street Journal and others report that he’s ready to spill the beans on Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11

    Khalid, another one (like Epstein) who might commit suicide or have a heart attack.

    I dont think this will go far, the US (and Israel) cannot afford to loose an loyal ally like the Saudis in the Mid East.

    Specially an ally that
    a) Hates Iran
    b) Shares similar democratic ideals as the US and Israel
    c) Is willing to spend billions in F-35’s and other stuff to destroy the ragtag Yemenis

    As Al Jazeera noted, however, it’s as yet “unclear if US President Donald Trump, who is close to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, would allow a plea deal for Mohammed to give evidence.”

    “You have over 3,000 plaintiffs, compensatory plus punitive damages and a jury very hostile to Saudi Arabia, it could virtually bankrupt Saudi Arabia. All their assets in the US and elsewhere could be seized.”

    doubt the US government and specifically the US-Saudi intelligence nexus and ‘deep state’ has the least bit of interest in doing this. But this is precisely what’s motivating the 9/11 victim’s families to press on — to expose the ugly truth

  9. Mehdi Hasan uses the Islamic superpower most effectively and intensively than any other media person, the superpower that a Muslim can freely and vehemently criticize all other beliefs and social-political system to his heart’s content but other’s cannot criticize Islam and Muslims because that directly falls into the gravest and most unpardonable sins of modernity, racism and bigotry.

    1. “Mehdi Hasan uses the Islamic superpower most effectively and intensively than any other media person, the superpower that a Muslim can freely and vehemently criticize all other beliefs and social-political system to his heart’s content but other’s cannot criticize Islam and Muslims because that directly falls into the gravest and most unpardonable sins of modernity, racism and bigotry.”

      Yup, what used to be the race card is now the Islam card. Interestingly enough, many people now treat Islam as a race.

      Although it doesn’t always work perfectly.

      Remember when Reza Aslan used his card to do that religion show for CNN where in each episode he shits on a different religion? I think they cancelled him after the Hindu episode.

  10. Notice that even in his apologia about past comments how Mehdi shortchanges his community for personal amends. His excuse is that he grew up in a conservative Muslim background. OK great, then if you want to explore what typical conservative Muslims like his Mama and Papa think now, how many of them are there in the global Muslim community, what are their beliefs and expressions, then you are straight delving into Islamophobia. That he apologized is enough, you cannot dig into the roots of his beliefs, why has he changed, is he going to change further etc etc.

    1. Reading between the lines of his apology, one can see it is not heartfelt or that he takes responsibility for his words.

      First he blames his peers ‘young journos’ “Like a lot of journos (humans?) I’ve said things years ago….”

      “in my 20s, when I wasn’t a public figure .. I said dumb ..stuf” . It is the public which made his say such things by not giving him recognition early in life.

  11. I seem to get the impression by the lurker comments that Razib Khan is an apostate.

    Next there will be a fatwa for (or is it against) Razib and maybe even Omar.

         a) all and sundry will be reading BrownPundits
         b) Or the site will be shut down.

    The travails of notoriety (or popularity).

    Anyway I can raise my hand and say, I too commented

    Cheers Razib, Xerxes and Omar

    1. Razib is an apostate, but I have a premonition that he will discover noor-al-Islam soon. We better be ready to deal with amir-al-momineen.

  12. I seem to get the impression by the lurker comments that Razib Khan is an apostate.

    i was never much of a muslim. i have been atheist since 8. technically i am an apostate, though i was never much a believer in islam

  13. lots of mehdi hasan fans are spamming this thread. very surprised ppl have strong opinions about this guy…

    (i labeled as spam and banned 25 people when i checked)

    1. I think I understand minds of the global English-conversant Muslims. Mehdi Hasan is really a big hero to them, perhaps the biggest current hero. He is someone who directly goes into the belly of the beast like mainstream British media or even sinister, the American media and then fight for Muslims and Islam, fight against the hegemonic narratives of Western estabishment. He is the most trenchant public critic of New Atheism, IDW, Pinkerite liberalism and all those liberal rationalist ideas that thinking Muslims regard as the foremost enemy of Islam and the most severe threat. Whether he is effective or not matters on perspective but he is seen as someone taking the fight into enemey territory. In his fast talking way he is kind of a Muslim Ben Shapiro. However, Ben Shapiro is not indispensable for conservatism, they have many other assets in MSM. Muslims only have Mehdi Hassan.

  14. Mehdi Hassan is, I believe, half English. His mother is White.
    His father,a Shia, from Hyderbad, makes him a minority among brown and white people,and a minority among Muslims.
    Hence, his unique,and often direct,and unapologetic tone.

    1. Ethnicity has nothing to do with intellect. There are brilliant thinkers, speakers, writers among all races as much as there are retards. It all depends on the educational background, the kind of subjects one studies at university and so on. Those who study humanities subjects like political science, international relations, history, literature etc tend to have a reasonable analytical approach towards any discussion while those who have studied science and engineering subjects have a hard, stubborn approach to any issue. Guess how their minds were moulded to think. Mehdi had the good fortune of being educated at one of the most reputed university in the world namely the University of Oxford, UK. He also is a first class graduate and having worked as a journalist for reputed media organisations like the Statesman has become a powerful debater owing to his experience. He is the kind of guy who calls a spade a spade. What’s wrong with that?

      1. Lol, this comment reads like it was written by an over-protective uncle…

        This bit totally had me in splits ?

        who study humanities subjects like political science, international relations, history, literature etc tend to have a reasonable analytical approach towards any discussion while those who have studied science and engineering subjects have a hard, stubborn approach to any issue

  15. just a note: the excess traffic seems to be coming through android google now. one explanation for why commenters are reading the long post…. (most of those comments are not published)

  16. Have the owners of the site ever thought of inviting Maajid Nawaz to the podcast?

    Most likely they have. But maybe he could make some time to talk about Hasan, among other othing. They have argued back and forth several times.

    I recall Maajid once called him out for being a social conservative amid the ranks of the Labour Party.

  17. Speaking about Qatar, it is interesting that during their ancient migrations to SA, Hindustan and Iran, one branch of Serbs-Aryans went to the Golf which is the southern border of their areal. Because of this there is today a certain percentage of their R1A1 descendants in Qatar (and Emirates and Kuwait).I challenge this guy, if he has a courage, to explain their origins. It would be a significant contribution to the world history.

    1. This r1a1 is mostly related to central asians and as far as i think serbs are the same as bosnians and croats

      1. Gee, new kid in town? Welcome aboard. A long journey is in front of you. Of course, so-called Bosniacs (muslims) and 90% of Croats (catholics) are ethnically, genetically and linguistically Serbs. B. declared themselves a separate nation 20 years ago, C. – few years earlier. All other ‘Slavic’ nations were also in the past Serbs, Russians up to 1200 years ago, other much later.
        But, we are talking about 4000 years ago. Central Asians’ (4k ago – which one?) R1A is also of Serbian origin from Aryans, passing to Hindustan, Tibet and Turan. Our own CA show pony, Jaggallah (formerly Jaggabuda) can confirm this.

  18. PS: Considering that this couple days many new visitors are visiting this blog I would like to invite the thinking amongst them to regularly follow and make some comments. BP admins announced their mission (‘all about browns’ or ‘everything you always wanted to know about browns* – *but were afraid to ask’). However, anyone can within this framework define his/her own mission. One of such sub-missions is a defalsification of history which is related to browns and everyone else. The fact is that the world history, especially ancient, was heavily falsified. In particular, ancient European and 1st millennium history which is very interlinked with SA history, was continuously fabricated in the last 200 years.

    The key discussion topic is ancient migration/invasion of Aryans from Europe to SA. So-called OIT proponents state that this invasion did not exist or actually, it had the opposite direction. New genetic and linguistic researches supported by studies in mythology, anticipated archaeology (toponyms haven’t been touched yet) every day bring new information and confirm Aryan migration. As a preview for newcomers, let me say that the list of potential Aryan suspects was shortened and contains one name only – ancient Serbs. You are welcome to bring new knowledge, new questions, new dilemmas (and new candidates) on the discussion table. Join the journey and enjoy. Cheers.

    1. Thanks. I will try to know more…but definitely aryan has nothing to do with Western world or western Europe. My assumption is that central asians,Iranians(aryans) and eastern European slavs are quite similar. Iranians and central asians will probably not be considered Caucasian by westerners only bcz of cultural and religious differences

      1. Cheers. Only, the term Slav was coined in the 7th.c.AC to suppress the Serbian name. It means that before that (including Aryans period) all future Slavic people were Serbs. There are so many artificial and meaningless terms in the literature – Indo-Europeans (previously called Indo-Germans) and ProtoIE, Caucasians, steppe, etc. Just keep open mind and don’t allow to get intimidated.

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