So, Mehdi Hasan, can I call you an extremist (or at least a cab)?

It's difficult to see how anyone can take Mehdi Hasan seriously. Now Mail on Sunday types will be privy to his Icke-esque rants, too.

This is what happens when extremists control areas in Britain.
On 11 June 2011 11:46

A risky headline, don’t you agree? But stick with me for a few moments and I’ll illustrate for you just how one intolerant leftist has wormed his way into the ‘mainstream’ of political discourse in this country. It’s imperative that after reading this, we all commit to ensuring he’s never taken seriously again.

Mehdi Hasan, the senior politics editor at the New Statesman has always been known to play fast and loose with the facts. One of his latest nonsensical tirades for the declining Guardian Comment is Free involves calling Prime Minister Cameron an extremist for not having enough women in his Cabinet. How academic of you, Mehdi. I didn’t know you were that keen on equality and tolerance.

In fact, the last thing I saw from Mehdi was a fascinating video (below) of him being rather intolerant and hateful towards the ‘kaffir’. Still I’ve heard no apology for this grossly offensive video. Far more offensive than lumping in extremists with the BNP, which is what Mehdi’s latest piece seems to warn against.

Disgusting, right? What about this one? I’m keen on hearing reactions in the comments below.

No doubt according to Mehdi, I will have taken these videos completely ‘out of context’. It’s the usual spiel. How could I have missed it? There are plenty of normal, every day situations when you’re addressing a Muslim crowd and just so happen to rail against Western values. How did I not see the context? Silly me.

But considering this snippet, doesn’t Mehdi fall foul of the new government Prevent definition of extremism? Let’s have a look:

“Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.”

Mutual respect and tolerance, eh? Oh dear Mehdi. It seems the title of your own piece may now be used against you… a little bit like now. And he also tries to wriggle his way through the argument on Prevent by selectively quoting government documents and cherry-picked theories from those who are frankly past their sell-by-date on this issue, just as he is.

In fact, he even goes so far as to quote government papers put together in part by a trustee of the notorious East London Mosque. This man was also a youth co-ordinator for the Islamic Forum of Europe, the same group that Jim Fitzpatrick MP rightly asserted had ‘infiltrated the Labour Party’ in East London in the same way the militant tendency had in the 1970s.

Mehdi Hasan of course leapt to the defence of the new Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, who has been expelled from the Labour Party and insists ‘there is no extremism in Tower Hamlets’. Shame this has become more prevalent since Lutfur took the reigns. I’m also not sure that Tower Hamlets is going to be able to bring down ‘the pariah state of Israel’ as the new mayor wishes, either.

Mehdi’s language also gives him away as more of a David Icke character, rather than the reputable journalist he wishes to come across as. Throwing around terms like ‘neocon’ and ‘pseudo-experts’, Mehdi tries desperately to delegitimize his opposition through a series of ad hominem attacks. It’s really rather pathetic (see what I did there?).

He manages to mention Jews (obviously) and reckons the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) has done miracles in tackling extremism because they held a conference on it. Fantastic. But they still hosted Anwar al-Awlaki, did they not? They still commit speakers such as Hamza Tzortzis and al-Kawthari to their audiences, do they not? Next week in fact, they very much do.

So I guess the point in this piece was not to necessarily debunk Mehdi’s arguments – he does that for me with how slapdash he is. At least he’s not plagiarizing Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post this time. I think however, it’s time we debunked the man.

If you’re still unsure as to whether Mehdi is a principled character, let’s have a look at his latest endeavour. We know he hates the Daily Mail – he tells us so very often in one form or another. But guess where his new biography on the increasingly prosaic Ed Miliband is due to be serialised? Oh delicious irony. You do bless us sometimes. 

It’s in the Mail on Sunday.

Raheem Kassam is the Executive Editor of The Commentator, he tweets at @raheemjkassam.


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