The prominent British Muslim media personality Mehdi Hasan has publicly stated that he supports gay marriage.
In a series of tweets, Hasan who is a presenter on Al Jazeera based in Washington DC, said he regretted past rhetoric which targeted homosexuals and atheists but now thinks it is right to support same sex marriage in secular societies.
Same sex relations are considered a major sin in Islam and promotion of them is strictly forbidden.
Nevertheless, Hasan tweeted: “Since Christchurch, I’ve been talking/writing a lot about bigoted & hate speech & demonization, & the responsibility of journalists to get their rhetoric right. Words matter. I feel it’s crucial at times like this to be self-critical, too. So a tough thread for me:
“Like a lot of journos (humans?) I’ve said things years ago that I now deeply regret. Chief among them for me is, more than a decade ago, in my 20s, when I wasn’t a public figure, I gave a bunch of speeches to students on Islam/extremism. And I said dumb offensive ranty stuff.
“Speaking without notes, & trying to be bombastic, I made stupid sweeping remarks about non-Muslims, especially atheists. I cringe now when I rehear/reread those remarks. I made stupid offensive analogies to animals. Argh. I’m embarrassed to have to write about all this again.
“The problem is that I’ve never really been able to fully reckon with what I said, esp as it was weaponized by right-wing trolls + Islamophobes to smear me as an “extremist” & a “jihadist”. Lol. It gets me death threats. Not-so-lol. So I’ve been defensive as years passed by.
“But the internet never forgets, I turn 40 this year, and Christchurch has again reminded me about why words matter. I was never one of those Muslim-extremists-turned-‘reformers’ (ugh) but as a much younger man I did on occasion say silly, offensive, extreme-sounding things.
“I’ve written re my offensive remarks before, & tried to put them in context & explain them (away)… I’ve spoken at events & on the radio about them. But I don’t want to defend/explain today. I just want to say, I’m sorry.
“I’d like to think we all have a capacity to grow, mature, & re-think our views. I’d like to think I have. Check my work. I’ve dedicated my journalistic career & speeches since to fighting bigotry of all types, from all sides. We have to stick together. Especially minorities.
“I now believe that you can’t really live in a secular society without supporting a legal right to marry for same-sex couples. I do. But I still cringe as I remember how I made my own contribution to homophobic discourse back in my 20s, over a decade ago. I can only apologize.
“This sounds cliched but it’s true: some of my closest friends/allies in the media are gay & atheist, people like @OwenJones84& @ggreenwald. They have stood shoulder to shoulder with under-fire Muslims in our darkest hours. And I regret not having had their backs in my youth
“Anyways, this is turning into an over-long thread about stuff I said in my 20s. I don’t want to turn it into something huge (& I am sure delighted trolls are circling) BUT nor do I want to pretend I didn’t say this stuff or act like it doesn’t matter. It does. And I’m sorry.
“Final tweet: words matter. Let’s treat each other with respect & compassion – & apologize when we get it wrong/hurt others (even unwittingly). This isn’t political correctness/censorship. It’s just basic decency & common sense. Treat others as you’d like to be treated.”