Mehdi Hasan has got back to me on using the word “Perversely”. To recap the issue in a previous blog post regarding how Ingrid Loyau-Kennett acted at Woolwich:
“Perversely, it was the non-Muslim cub scout leader who, in trying to save the soldier’s life and standing up to his alleged attackers, was acting in accordance with Qur’anic principles. Let’s be clear: Islam, like every other faith, doesn’t permit the killing of innocents.”
I have asked him via twitter what could possibly be perverse about a non Muslim going to help someone she thought was injured in the road, and verbally challenging the attackers? He may be wanting to contrast her actions with the killers. That is not what perversely means. Rather it sounds like a Freudian slip that Ingrid Loyau-Kennett showed heroism and compassion without needing to be a Muslim – how out of character for a non-believer, how perverse.
In case you think I am being too hard read what Hasan had to say in 2009:
“We know that keeping the moral high-ground is key. 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 fulfil any desire.”
Here is his reply:
Words matter, as anyone that has debated the meaning of religious texts may confirm. As Hasan likes to tell us we do not understand the meaning of the Koran or Hadith as he does maybe we can agree words do mean what the English dictionary says.
Synonyms for perversely: unusually, abnormally, peculiarly, strangely, uncommonly
None of these words help out Hasan.
Either he is using bad english, and the editors of “The Huffington Post” and “The Daily Telegraph” are also using bad english, or he really means that perversely, a non Muslim club scout leader was acting in accordance with Koranic principles. That somehow the Koran has moral principles that it is perverse for non Muslims to follow and Muslims not to follow. This was not challenged by anyone before it was printed.
It needs calling on if he means what he says. People outside of a particular faith act with moral courage because morality is not the exclusive monopoly of one particular holy text.
That matters because the godly are forever telling us without their God to watch over you, and hold you to account in an after life, you cannot ever be as moral as they may be.
Most atheist bloggers will tell you when it comes to a discussion of morality this comes up. It really does need challenging when ever that claim is asserted. Otherwise you are classed as less moral as a non Muslim, an animal as Hasan points out bending rules for desire.
I had already conceded, as you can see in the above extract, to say Hasan probably meant look at the contrast between the behaviour of the killers and the scout leader. The killers were not acting in accordance with Islam. He should have quoted McCain:
“Our enemies have as their cause the spread of a political-religious empire based on a perverted interpretation of Islam that substitutes a lust for violence for a love of peace.” (John McCain)
There is a man that knows about perversity.
Still, you may say this is all pedantic. In which case there is no answer, except that we are perverse, using the word with no comprehension of the principle.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog