London, May 26 (ANI): The Huffington Post's UK site has sparked controversy after it hired British journalist Mehdi Hasan, as its political director, who has been described by detractors as a devout Muslim who has praised Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Hasan sparked outrage after in an undated clip, he declared: 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.
There's no way to contextualize this stuff, and if there was, Mehdi would have offered it by now, Raheem Kassam, Executive Editor, TheCommentator.com told FOXNews.com.
The web site Freebeacon.com also accused Hasan of defending the Iranian regime on multiple occasions and of trying to rationalize President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's many calls for Israel's destruction.
However, Hasan claimed that his words have been wholly taken out of context.
I'm shocked to have been accused of extremism. I am a strong supporter of, and participant in, secular, civil society, as my published work shows. The remarks that have appeared online were made more than three years ago and have been taken wholly out of context, he said.
I did not 'praise' Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei but merely welcomed his statement condemning nuclear weapons as un-Islamic. The use of the term 'animals' was a reference to a Qur'anic phrase and would have been received by the audience the way the term 'heathen' might be received in a Christian church-a shorthand reference to ancient scripture not meant to be taken literally, he added.
Huffington Post UK's Editor-in-Chief Carla Buzasi also defended Hasan by saying, These comments, made some years ago, have been taken completely out of context. Hasan is a well-known and highly respected political journalist and commentator in the UK, and I look forward to the expertise and passion he will bring to the HuffPost UK team. (ANI)