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"My life and career", by Mehdi Hasan, "part 2"
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Why is Mehdi complaining about a lack of context and selective quoting and then immediately following this with not one citation from the 5 posts at HP or any comment made by an editor there, but instead reproduces 3 completely OTT and unacceptable comments left in the threads?
This would be like me writing a response to this article at HP by referencing 3 comments in this thread rather than anything Mehdi actually writes.
Referring to people as cattle or sheep may not be the worst insult one can fling, but neither is it a term of endearment nor is it intended to do anything other than, in some way at least, discredit those being so described. In simple terms, it's not very nice.
And both remain not very nice whether the descriptions are borrowed from a holy book or come out of a Christmas cracker.
I think this debate has gone from a minor misunderstanding to outrage and pure hate. I say this with the utmost clarity, we need to stop pointing fingers at each other and STOP behaving like children. Grow up! Mehdi, you like others have been defamed before over belief, let not their words enrage you. let your words speak the truth with kindness. Now can we all take a deep breath! (sigh)
'kafir' effectively just means unbeliever. It isn't in itself an offensive term.
So does 'infidel'. So presumably if Mehdi had referred to non-believers as "infidels" in that speech, we'd all have been sweet with that, yes?
Ali J - great job on answering Grace's never-ending questions
A cogent defence, Mehdi. It rises above the mud-slinging and tittle-tattle, and responds to the real
issues. ... Though based on the (selective) material cherry-picked by HB, I'm not sure that these should
have been called into question.
People need brave journalists to speak up - you do this. Keep up the good work.
brownie - Of course each religion will claim that it holds the truth and that those who do not use their intellect to realise that are misguided. Particularly so as Islam puts so much emphasis on the use of logic and reason.
The cattle metaphor, as Mehdi put it, has no more pejorative charge than does the word "sheep" when applied by atheists to religious believers.
However, what isn't mentioned and widely understood is the holistic picture that Islam paints about how to interact with wider society, be they Muslim or non-Muslim, and the emphasis it puts on mutual respect, courtesy, manners, politeness, etc.
Verses from the Holy Quran:
"Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner" - 16:125
"Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice." 60:8
Another verse, reference not to hand, refers to the Holy Prophet as having been sent by God with the sole purpose of "perfecting moral character", which is what Islam is all about.
Narrations from Imam Ali (as):
"Live amongst people in such a manner that if you die they weep over you and if you are alive they crave for your company."
"People are of two kinds: Either your brothers in faith or your equals in humanity"
By the way, Mehdi, if comments and circulation of your articles on the net are anything to go by, rather than firing you, the NS should be doubling your salary. Ironically you have 3 lame HP blogs to thank for that. Funny, no?
Mr Hasan - well done on putting yourself out there with innumerable facts and examples to put an end to this ridiculous and false campaign by the 'anonymous' guest blogger on HP.
I have always understood kafir to be simply be the Arabic translation of 'non-Muslim' too, like the word atheist means a 'non-believer' in god, without any derogatory implications unless someone goes looking for one like C4 insider did desperately in this word and the word 'cattle' (as you said, ironic, when we use 'sheep' all the time in a similar context and no one seems to take much notice let alone offence).
The witch hunt against you has been well summed up by Jonathan Derbyshire on this site when he quotes the Harvard writer on the dangers of blogging:
'The recent experiences of my colleague Mehdi Hasan rather bear out this passage from Michael Massing's very interesting piece about blogging and the future of print journalism in the latest edition of the New York Review of Books:
"The polemical excesses for which the blogosphere is known remain real. In And Then There's This, an impressionistic account of the viral culture on the Internet, Bill Wasik describes how "the network of political blogs, through a feedback loop among bloggers and readers", has produced a machine that supplies the reader with "prefiltered information" supporting his or her own views. ... With so many voices clamoring for attention, moreover, a premium is put on the sexy and sensational. Headlines are exaggerated so as to secure clicks and boost traffic. ... [Consequently], the Internet remains a hothouse for rumors, distortions, and fabrications."
Enough said ... methinks.
"Nice try ... the very fact that they don't believe is sufficient to render the ..."
Yes, quite simply, because more is expected of a man.
Since it is the quality of 'belief' that is used by the Quran to pronounce a judgment, therefore, obviously, any argument or 'intellect' referred to is pertinent to the discussion related to the existence of God. However, God is, or at the very least is seen as, the absolute and infinite. His existence, or indeed existence itself, is a fundamental truth in Islam, which indicates that He must exist! Anything other than this is either an absurdity or rests on the impossibility of circularity,
According to many, the use of the word "cattle" is charitable given the point of comparison is God Himself.
The Quran stresses that if one reflects, then one must conclude that he/she exists, and therefore one must conclude that God exists - here creation which depends on a creator is being used as a proof, even though it depends on a creator, though as Kant contends you cannot use anything empirical to prove something metaphysical. However, ‘He’, whatever 'He' is, is a ‘necessary’ because of the impossibility of infinite regress. This is seen as something obvious by the Quran and only an animal without any intellect would overlook something so obvious and say everything just came out of nowhere. That is the contention of the Quran.
Yet it may equally be the case that those 'atheists' are not really 'atheists' as such, because by denying ‘God’ they may effectively be saying they don't understand the concept or the question or the notion. They are not convinced, perhaps, of the way God is conceived. I am genuinely not sure whether everyone believes in ‘something’? The 'atheists' too are believers in the idea that there is 'no God', are they not? I wonder how they justify this, and with what evidence do they jump to this conclusion? Is it simply an animalistic reaction to jump on the bandwagon of atheism?
I don’t know....
Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.