Dawk’s irrelevant criticism of Mehdi Hasan

For a recent show about religion on Channel 4, journalist Mehdi Hasan interviewed Prof Richard Dawkins, in a lengthy back-and-forth on religion and evil. Knowing that Hasan is a devout Muslim, Dawkins thought he’d be clever and ask if he believed that Muhammad really flew to heaven on a winged horse. Hasan didn’t really have a comeback. The audience laughed, I think at Dawks in a dismissive way.

Later on Twitter, for some reason not ‘@’ing Hasan, he complained:


Mehdi Hasan presents on Al Jazeera and writes for New Statesman and Huffington Post. He has a lot to say about being a Muslim in the UK, yet, there isn’t one instance in his work where the belief about a winged horse has jeopardised his journalistic integrity, directly led to irrationality or revisionism, or forced him to make a factual error. Outside of mere matters of the specifics religious belief, and any parabolic moral implications, it is probably a non-factor.

Obviously there are occasions when a personal belief can conflict with a profession. Someone who believes certain sex acts deserve capital punishment is not in the best position to be a human rights lawyer or ethics professor. A medical doctor won’t be taken seriously if they think that the MMR vaccine leads to autism. This specific miraculous belief says nothing about one’s skill as a journalist.

Mehdi Hasan’s regularly updated Huffpo blog

and his writing for the New Statesman

  1. maryamsundara said:

    As Muslims, we do believe that the Prophet literally flew to heave in his Ascension. I don’t think we should be ashamed of that or that we should deny these aspects of our religion to please atheists…
    If we want to deny everything supernatural, then we should also deny that he was a Prophet or that the angel Gabriel brought him words from Heaven. For atheists, the supernatural doesn’t exist. For us, it does.

    • Thanks for commenting again Maryam. I’m an atheist myself so it’s good for me to learn about your beliefs.

  2. Debilis said:

    Thank you for putting this up. I hadn’t caught this statement, and think you make good points about it.
    In fact, it has bothered me how easily some are moving from a ban on public religion (which was never supported) to attacking people for their own private views. It is hard to see how this is anything but an attempt at oppression.

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