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Mehdi Hasan
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: *THREAD* 1/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
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. 2/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
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. 3/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
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. 4/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
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. 5/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
I've written re my offensive remarks before, & tried to put them in context & explain them (away): & here: 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. 6/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
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. 7/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
Growing up in a conservative faith community, where you didn't interact with *actual* gay people, I ended up making insensitive remarks, that I've apologized for before: And have since written about being Muslim & homophobic: 8/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
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. 9/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
This sounds cliched but it's true: some of my closest friends/allies in the media are gay & atheist, people like & . 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 10/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
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. 11/
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
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. *ENDS*
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Mehdi Hasan 23 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
*LOGS OFF TWITTER FOR THE REST OF THE DAY*
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Mehdi Hasan 24 Mar 19
Replying to @mehdirhasan
Update: ok folks, just wanna say, THANK YOU, for all your feedback and messages. I'm overwhelmed by the support, solidarity and understanding. Means a lot to me. And I really wasn't expecting it on Twitter of all places. We live and learn. Oh yes we do! Thank you again.
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