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Dawkins Islamophobia jibe sparks backlash

31st Dec 2021
Dawkins Islamophobia jibe sparks backlash

(Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

Harun Nasrullah

Evolutionary biologist and outspoken atheist Professor Richard Dawkins has sparked online backlash with yet another anti-Islam tweet, this time ridiculing Islamophobia as a form of prejudice.

Tweeting on December 10, the 80-year-old, who has published several books mocking religions throughout his career said, ‘“You’re Islamophobic.” No! I’m phobic about: FGM Whipping women for being raped, pushing gays off buildings, honour killing Death for apostasy, extramarital sex, etc Teaching children anti-scientific nonsense I’m NOT Muslimophobic [sic]. Muslims are [the] main victims of the above.’

Dawkins’ statement sparked a flurry of replies and rebukes from Twitter users, including Miqdaad Versi, Director for Media Monitoring at the Muslim Council of Britain, who wrote, ‘The scale of Islamophobia infecting the mind of figures such as Dawkins, is astounding. Supposedly “smart” people speak such nonsense & have been misled(?) to such an extent that it can only be explained by an underlying bigotry FGM being Islamic – I mean where to start?’

Lecturer in Empires of the Early Modern Muslim World, Dr James Baldwin, replied, ‘You are absolutely Islamophobic if you equate FGM (female genital mutilation) with Islam, given that it’s a practice in certain regions of the world (East Africa, Arabian peninsula), which account for a small % of global Muslim population, and where it is also practised by Christians.’

Dr Farheen Khan FRSA replied that ‘millions of Muslims, even scientists like myself, who practise Islam without believing anything on this list can be justified. People who want to be cruel can cherry-pick religious texts to justify their cruelty, but it goes against the whole ethos of Islam.’
Max Morgan sarcastically replied, “I’m not Islamophobic, I’m phobic about [a bunch of damaging Islamophobic tropes that apply to only a tiny fraction of Muslims].”

Dawkins has a history of making anti-Muslim outbursts on Twitter. In 2018, he captioned a photo of him outside the Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire, England.

His tweet compared the pleasance of hearing Christian church bells to that of the “aggressive-sounding” Muslim phrase, called the Takbir in Arabic, meaning “God is great.”

He tweeted, ‘Listening to the lovely bells of Winchester, one of our great mediaeval cathedrals so much nicer than the aggressive-sounding “Allahu Akhbar.” Or is that just my cultural upbringing?’One of his early anti-Muslim tweets dates back to March 1, 2013, when he declared, ‘I think Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today. I’ve said so, often and loudly.’

In August of that year he addressed the number of Muslim Nobel recipients saying, ‘All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.’

Dawkins Twitter history led a radio station to cancel an event due to be hosted by him. The evolutionary biologist was due to address an event hosted by KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California, in August 2018, but the station cancelled due to what they said was “abusive speech against Islam”.

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