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Mehdi Hasan: One of the many reasons why people don’t trust ‘Moderate Muslims’

It is important to remember that polytheistic faiths have never demonstrated the kind of intolerance towards other faiths that monotheists have over the years and continue to do.

There’s a reason why many people are so wary of ‘Moderate Muslims’. And if you were looking for one, look no further than the presenter at Al Jazeera, Mehdi Hasan. Through convoluted logic and flat-out denial, he absolves Islam of all sins while painting the entire Hindu community and Whites of being racist and Islamophobes.

According to Hasan, the greatest threat to India comes from Hindutva while arguing simultaneously that Radical Islam has nothing to do with Islam. In his article for The Intercept, Hasan went a step further and claimed that there was considerable uniformity in thought and collaboration between Far-Right White Supremacists and Hindu Nationalists. The person he cited as evidence for his mythical narrative is Anders Brevik, a far-right White Supremacist who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011.

Mehdi Hasan writing for The Intercept

It is, indeed, a remarkable stretch of the imagination to claim that there is congruence between White Supremacist ideology and Hindu Nationalism. When the only evidence presented is that of a single far-right terrorist, it becomes even more ridiculous. And when it is presented by someone who claims that there is no link between Radical Islam and Islam, it comes across as particularly malicious.

Hasan is dishonest enough to not mention how White Supremacists use ‘curry ni**ers’ as a racist derogatory slur for Hindus. He won’t mention the fact that Hindus are hated just as much as Muslims by White Supremacists. It is only understandable since Hasan’s primary agenda is absolving Muslims of all crimes and paint them as innocent victims of a global conspiracy to demonize and persecute them.

There is enough evidence on the internet which proves that Hasan is himself a rabid bigot. In the past, he has claimed that non-Muslims live like animals and equated homosexuals with paedophiles. He has since then apologized for his remarks but in light of his recent conduct, it appears the apology was ‘Taqiyya’. The practice of ‘Taqiyya’ is a religiously sanctioned lying or deceiving non-Muslims in order to present oneself as not a true believer in Islam.

Not only does Hasan deny the links of Radical Islam with Islam, he completely denies that Radical Islamic terrorists are in any manner even inspired by Islam and teachings in the Quran. Not merely that, he even mocks the idea that Islam has a problem and that Radical Islamic terrorists are driven to murder people in the name of Allah. It’s a complete whitewashing and denial of reality. It only shows that Hasan offered the apology so that he could propagandize more effectively on behalf of Islam.

If Hasan were to be believed, the hundreds and thousands of Islamic terrorists have nothing to do with Islam but Brevik, who isn’t even a Hindu or a proponent of Hindu Nationalism, is representative of Hindu Nationalism at large. According to Hasan, Islamic terrorists are not inspired by Islam but people who commit mob lynchings are definitely inspired by Hindu Nationalism. It’s a preposterous argument and only furthers to cement the notion that Hasan’s motivations are not entirely honest.

Let me say it outright that there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with Hindu Nationalism. For a country that was partitioned on the basis of religion and still faces a huge threat from Radical Islam and Christian Evangelism, Hindu Nationalism is the only recourse. It is only through Hindu Nationalism that our country can thrive and prosper. To reduce the virtues and the glory of Hindu Nationalism to mere mob lynchings is dishonest and malicious and a lie that was rejected outright by millions and millions of Indians in the General Elections this year.

It is only natural for Hasan, who happens to be a Muslim with an extremely shady past, to assume that Hindu Nationalism is akin to Abrahamic Nationalism. The two are not the same and could never ever be because the fundamentals of Hinduism are entirely different from that of Abrahamic religions.

First and foremost, Hinduism is a localized ideology while the religions that flow from Abraham are universalist in nature. Secondly, Hinduism does not emphasize global domination while global ambitions are integral to Christianity and Islam. Thirdly, Hinduism does not have a shred of the intolerance that the Abrahamic religions have. Fourthly, the primary emphasis of Hinduism is on the preservation of the natural order, that is, Dharma while the other religions concern themselves on spreading the word of their God.

It is important to remember that polytheistic faiths have never demonstrated the kind of intolerance towards other faiths that monotheists have over the years and continue to do. The only exceptions are India and Japan during the medieval era but then, the continued existence of Hinduism and Shintoism in the respective countries can be attributed to their intolerance. However, at no point in time did intolerance become the defining aspect of the respective cultures as it continues to be in monotheistic societies.

Thus, naturally, Hindu Nationalism is fundamentally different from Christian and Islamic versions of the same. To club Hindu Nationalism with White Supremacy, which is an ideology based on race, is utterly incredulous. Normally, one would expect someone with a past as his to be more cautious about the comment he makes and the conclusion he draws. He has been so wrong in the past if any person with a sense of regret had been that wrong, he would have been more careful about any conclusion he reaches in the future.

That Hasan can still peddle around as a ‘Moderate Muslim’ in the media only reveals how misused the term has become. It has lost all meaning. Even people like Rana Ayyub and Shehla Rashid are dubbed ‘Moderate Muslims’ by some, it only shows how meaningless the term has become. Denouncing terrorism has become the sole criterion for being a ‘Moderate Muslim’. It is a bogus criterion that could be passed by almost everyone. There’s a need for Indians to invent a better criterion for that.

Although it’s pretty hard to come up with a bulletproof criterion for that, positive efforts can be made in that regard. It has been observed that many ‘Moderate Muslims’, who have later exposed themselves to be frauds, harbour a rabid hatred towards Hindu Nationalism or Hindutva. Perhaps, a stronger criterion, too, could be developed around their opinions toward it.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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