HuffPo’s House Jihadi

Mehdi Hasan appears on Iranian state TV
May 22, 2012

A devout Muslim who has praised Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and publicly branded all non-believers as mentally ill "animals" was recently hired to serve as the Huffington Post’s political director in the U.K.

Mehdi Hasan, a controversial British media figure whom insiders have billed as a mouthpiece for the Iranian regime, recently left his job at the left-wing New Statesman magazine to join the Huffington Post as a senior staffer, according to reports in the British press.

The Huffington Post merged with Internet giant AOL in February 2011 to form the Huffington Post media group.

Hasan formerly served as political editor of the New Statesman, which is affiliated with a socialist political party and has faced criticism for publishing articles that many observers have deemed anti-Semitic. In one instance, the New Statesman published an article titled "A Kosher Conspiracy" that purported to expose the great power of Britain’s "pro-Israel lobby." The cover of that issue featured a Star of David piercing a Union Jack.

Hasan can be seen on tape delivering multiple religious screeds in which he accuses non-Muslims of being animals and mentally inferior.

"We do not bend our law, or morality for short term aims," Hasan is seen saying in one video recording of his lecture. "Never. And we never lose the moral high ground."

"Once we lose the moral high ground we are no different from the rest, of the non-Muslims, from the rest of those human beings who live their lives as animals, bending any rule to fulfill any desire," Hassan said.

He goes on in the recording to praise Iran’s Khamenei for issuing a religious ban or "fatwa" against nuclear weapons, despite that country’s continuing pursuit of nuclear arms.

In a separate audio recording, Hasan can be heard describing disbelief in Islam as an "infirmity" or mental illness.

"His views as you can hear through those infamous videos, are grossly intolerant and hateful towards non-Muslims," Raheem Kassam, the executive editor of The Commentator, a conservative online journal, told the Free Beacon. "I see no legitimate way to contextualize things like that. It's the extreme of the extremes."

Kassam also called into question whether Hasan's comments fall foul of U.K. legislation set out to combat extremists.

In his writings, Hasan has defended the Iranian regime on multiple occasions and has tried to rationalize President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s many calls for Israel’s destruction.

In addition, Hasan offered a vociferous defense of Jenny Tonge, a liberal British politician who said, "Israel will not last forever."

Moreover, Hasan has come under fire for fabricating defamatory information about his political rivals.

Andrew Gilligan, London editor of the Telegraph newspaper, noted that Hasan falsely accused him of being a tool of Iran’s state-run media due to the pair’s political disagreements.

The Commentator’s Kassam argued Hasan might have parted ways with the New Statesman due to his toxic political views.

"There is the ongoing speculation around Westminster as to whether he was dropped due to the sheer scale of negative attention he brought to the New Statesman magazine," said Kassam, who has thoroughly documented Hassan’s favorable coverage of Iran.

"Everyone knew that the status quo couldn't continue with Hasan," he added. "It was only a matter of time until he was rightly held to account for what became increasingly nonsensical journalism and a repeated refusal to comment on his extreme views as highlighted by the videos."

Kassam said that Hasan’s appointment at the Huffington Post shows the website is committed to radical reporting and that Hasan’s star has fallen.

"Something like the appointment of Mehdi Hasan tells you they've got their heads in the far leftist clouds," he explained. "Huffington Post is seen as a major step down for Mehdi. It's an embarrassment. It's pretty much the end of someone's career."

The Huffington Post Media Group did not return a request for comment.

Published under: Huffington Post