Richard Dawkins and Islamophobia accusations

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Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins is dismissive of the concept of Islamophobia and declared: "I’m always being accused of Islamophobia, that’s a non-word."[1]

Richard Dawkins declared that "Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today".[2][3]

The new Atheists Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens have received multiple accusations of engaging in Islamophobic behavior.[4] On the other hand, defenders of atheist criticisms of Islam/Muslims indicated that New Atheists should be able to criticize Islam without being accused of Islamophobia.[5] See also: New Atheism and Islamophobia and Atheism vs. Islam

Dawkins is dismissive of the concept of Islamophobia and declared: "I’m always being accused of Islamophobia, that’s a non-word."[6]

On December 28, 2015, the Daily Express reported about Dawkins:

The furious academic walked out of an interview when a Muslim journalist confirmed he personally believed the prophet Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse.

Dawkins, 74, author of best-seller The God Delusion, told the New Statesmen's Emad Ahmed that his belief was "pathetic" before angrily storming off.[7]

Ryan Kerney wrote at New Republic concerning Dawkins' behavior towards Emad Ahmed: "Richard Dawkins is just as rude in person as he is on Twitter, apparently." (See also: Abrasiveness of Richard Dawkins).[8]

Salon declared in an article entitled Richard Dawkins does it again: New Atheism’s Islamophobia problem:

When it comes to making claims about religions, especially Islam, Dawkins is quick to grab the biggest brush he can find and paint “the Muslims,” or “Muslims,” or even “Islam” with one broad stroke.

“I think Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today. I’ve said so, often and loudly. What are you talking about?” he Tweeted to one follower in March.

The greatest force for evil? How is that even quantifiable and what constitutes evil? For a scientist, Dawkins rarely provides any qualification, context or evidence for his hypotheses. He doesn’t often give names or reveal identities that could help us better understand exactly whom it is that he targets. But that’s beside the point because to Dawkins, they are just “Muslims,” not fathers, sons, daughters, mothers, bankers, lawyers or doctors. They’re not informed by any other identity that makes them complex human beings; it’s “Islam” that always animates these faceless people.[9]

Richard Dawkins on burkas and Islamic culture

See also: Richard Dawkins and Hell

The Daily Beast reported in their article Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins Slam Muslims: ‘To Hell with Their Culture’:

“Right, or worse, an Islamophobe — a silly word that means nothing,” Maher declared...if we say something about a woman who’s forced to wear a beekeeper suit in the hot summer all day…”

“Oh, that’s their culture, you have to respect it,” Dawkins said mockingly.

“That’s right! That’s what they say. It’s just insane,” Maher said, swooning.

Liberal about everything else, but then this one exception, ‘It’s their culture.’ Well, to hell with their culture,” Dawkins concluded, to a storm of applause and a passionate yelp of approval from Maher.[10]

The Guardian on Richard Dawkins and Islam

The Guardian's article Richard Dawkins, 'Islamophobia' and the atheist movement declared:

Meanwhile, Dawkins – a man for whom Twitter does not seem to be a good medium – has taken to spouting the sort of rhetoric that wouldn't seem out of place at a BNP meeting. I'll be charitable, and suggest that his swiftly-deleted retweet of a link to a website that exposes the 'secret Islamist infiltration of the Obama administration' was a slip of the mouse. I'll also leave to one side his bizarre vendetta against Mehdi Hasan, whose platform at New Statesman seems to be a source of great offense to the atheist.[11]

Richard Dawkins, Islam and Christianity

See also: Richard Dawkins and Christianity

Despite his opposition to religion and Christianity, Dawkins indicated: "Christianity may actually be our best defence against aberrant forms of religion that threaten the world".[12][13]

Christianity Today noted:

Dawkins noted that Christianity, unlike Islam, does not make use of violent methods to fulfill its teachings. "There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death," he said.

He admitted that he has "mixed feelings" concerning the decline of Christianity, because this faith-based group might just be "a bulwark against something worse."[14]

Berkeley radio station cancels Richard Dawkins scheduled appearance due to his comments about Islam

The Guardian reported:

Richard Dawkins has denied using “abusive speech against Islam” after a California radio station cancelled a book event with the scientist, citing his comments on Islam, which it said had “offended and hurt … so many people”.[15]

The Independent indicated about the cancelled book event:

The Kenyan-born ethologist said he was “astonished” to be no-platformed by a station broadcasting in the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, a student protest that took place at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) in 1965.

He published an open letter in response to the cancellation, which stated: “The idea that I have engaged in abusive speech against Islam is preposterous, which even the most rudimentary fact-checking by KPFA would have made clear.

“I have indeed strongly condemned the misogyny, homophobia, and violence of Islamism, of which Muslims — particularly Muslim women — are the prime victims. I make no apologies for denouncing those oppressive cruelties, and I will continue to do so.”...

He has been branded “Islamophobic” by those who have taken offence to his remarks about the world’s second largest religion, which he has called the “greatest force for evil today”.[16]

Richard Dawkins' "Dear Muslima" letter

See also: Richard Dawkins "Dear Muslima" Elevatorgate letter

Richard Dawkins "Dear Muslima" Elevatorgate letter sparked a large wave of criticism from individuals within the secular population who felt he was trivializing misogny within the secular community (see: Elevatorgate news stories).

As a result of Elevatorgate controversy, Dawkins saw a large loss of influence within the secular population and the public at large (see: Richard Dawkins' loss of influence).

Richard Dawkins on the dissemination of pig carcass videos to Islamic societies

On January 1, 2015, The Telegraph reported:

Richard Dawkins’ insanity has now become an English institution – like warm beer and rain. On Saturday morning, a tweet from his account asked why we don’t send lots of "erotic videos" to theocracies, adding that it should be “loving, gentle, woman-respecting” (I guess this involves the pizza delivery boy calling the next day). If we’re going down this road, I also hear that Islamists aren’t very keen on bacon, so perhaps we should bombard the Iranian countryside with pig carcasses? Also, miniature bottles of gin. And photos of hot guys making out – in a “men-respecting” and “gentle” sort of way.

After a few minutes of mockery, the tweet was deleted. Perhaps even he realised how utterly mad it was. Which suggests a degree of self-awareness that I didn’t think possible in Britain’s nuttiest professor.[17]

See also: Atheism and pornography

Dawkins commentary on Muslims and Nobel Prizes

See also: Richard Dawkins on Jews and Nobel Prizes

The Guardian reported:

The outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins was involved in an online Twitter row on Thursday after tweeting: "All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though."[18]

Wikipedia, a website founded by an atheist and agnostic reported as of June 19, 2016:

And as of 2015, twelve Nobel Prize winners have been Muslims. More than half of the twelve Muslim Nobel laureates were awarded the prize in the 21st century. Seven of the twelve winners have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, including a controversial award to Yasser Arafat. The recipient of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics, Abdus Salam, was a member of the Ahmadiyya community of Pakistan. Aziz Sancar is the second Turkish Nobel laureate and the first Muslim to be awarded Nobel prize in the field of molecular biology in 2015.[19]

Richard Dawkins has yet to win a Nobel Prize.

Atheist philosopher John Gray on what scares the New Atheists

See also: Desecularization and Secularization thesis and Global atheism

The economist Tomáš Sedláček (left) and the atheist philosopher John Gray (right) at ZURICH.MINDS 2012

John Gray in his Guardian article entitled What scares the new atheists? wrote:

The rise of violent jihadism is only the most obvious example of a rejection of secular life. Jihadist thinking comes in numerous varieties, mixing strands from 20th century ideologies, such as Nazism and Leninism, with elements deriving from the 18th century Wahhabist Islamic fundamentalist movement. What all Islamist movements have in common is a categorical rejection of any secular realm. But the ongoing reversal in secularisation is not a peculiarly Islamic phenomenon.

The resurgence of religion is a worldwide development. Russian Orthodoxy is stronger than it has been for over a century, while China is the scene of a reawakening of its indigenous faiths and of underground movements that could make it the largest Christian country in the world by the end of this century. Despite tentative shifts in opinion that have been hailed as evidence it is becoming less pious, the US remains massively and pervasively religious – it’s inconceivable that a professed unbeliever could become president, for example. It’s inconceivable that a professed unbeliever could become president of the United States

For secular thinkers, the continuing vitality of religion calls into question the belief that history underpins their values. To be sure, there is disagreement as to the nature of these values. But pretty well all secular thinkers now take for granted that modern societies must in the end converge on some version of liberalism. Never well founded, this assumption is today clearly unreasonable.[20]

New Atheism, Islam and hypocritical cowardice

Christopher Hitchens was one of the founders of the New Atheism movement.

See also: Atheism and cowardice

New Atheism is a form of militant atheism. In 2010, Christian apologist Ken Ammi wrote:

The New Atheists have expressed that the proverbial straw-that-broke-the-Atheist-camel's-back was the group of attacks on the United States of America on September 11, 2001 AD. That is not to say that some of them were not Atheist activists before then, but 9/11 fanned the flames of their activism.

The attacks on 9/11 where primarily caused by Islamic extremism (with a long list of other causes such as maintenance or gaining of power, wealth, popularity, etc.). The question is: what have the New Atheists done in response to this particular event, this particular threat? Surely, they would focus their efforts primarily, if not exclusively, upon confronting this threat, this cause, head on.

Yet, what have the New Atheists done? What they have and have not done makes one wonder if their appeal to 9/11 is a reason or an excuse. After all, why 9/11? Are they not aware of similar atrocities throughout history? Are they not aware of the recent chronicles of the most secular century in human history also being the bloodiest-with millions upon millions being murdered not only during war, but also by their own regimes? (see here).

Have any of the New Atheists toured Islamic countries giving lectures in which they condemn Allah, Muhammad, Islam, or Muslims? Have any of them debated Muslims in Islamic countries? Have any of them been interviewed on Al Jazeera? Have any of them written entire books in which they condemn Allah, Muhammad, Islam, or Muslims? Have they done anything of the sort at all? The answers to all of the above are: "No." Rather, what they have done is sit within the comfort and safety of countries based on Christian principles and conveniently launched condemnations which are roughly quantifiable as being 90% anti-Christian and 10% anti-other religions (and this may be being too generous an estimation).[21]

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science and Muslim civil rights

In 2017, Sputnik News reported:

Robyn Blumner, Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, said that to suggest that atheists are narrow-minded, prejudiced or supportive of white, male privilege is to ignore the evidence.

Mr. Blumner said that the pro-atheist organization does tremendous good for women's equality and the civil rights of Muslims, as well as spreads humanist values in the United States and abroad.

"In just the last handful of years we have been at the forefront of the major civil justice causes of our time. It is why in 2015 we were the only secularist group to be invited to join the Know Your Neighbor interfaith coalition, launched at the White House. It is why we were a proud and welcome participant in the Women's March on Washington in January," Mr. Blumner told Sputnik.[22]

However, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported in an article entitled Richard Dawkins: Muslim parents 'import creationism' into schools:

Prof Dawkins, a well-known atheist, also blamed the Government for accommodating religious views and allowing creationism to be taught in schools.

"Most devout Muslims are creationists so when you go to schools, there are a large number of children of Islamic parents who trot out what they have been taught," Prof Dawkins said in a Sunday newspaper interview.

"Teachers are bending over backwards to respect home prejudices that children have been brought up with. The Government could do more, but it doesn't want to because it is fanatical about multiculturalism and the need to respect the different traditions from which these children come."[23]

See also


External links


  1. Richard Dawkins defends Ahmed Mohamed comments and dismisses Islamophobia as a 'non-word', Independent, 24 September 2015
  2. Richard Dawkins' Berkeley event cancelled for 'Islamophobia', BBC, 2017
  3. Radio station cancels Richard Dawkins appearance over Islam tweets, The Independent, 2017
  4. New Atheism should be able to criticise Islam without being accused of Islamophobia by Andrew Zak Williams, New Statesman, Published 19 April 2013
  5. Richard Dawkins defends Ahmed Mohamed comments and dismisses Islamophobia as a 'non-word', Independent, 24 September 2015
  6. 'Pathetic': Richard Dawkins in extraordinary outburst against Islam 'Pathetic': Richard Dawkins in extraordinary outburst against Islam by Jason Taylor, Daily Express, December 28, 2015
  7. Richard Dawkins is just as rude in person as he is on Twitter, apparently, New Republic, 2015
  8. Richard Dawkins does it again: New Atheism’s Islamophobia problem, Salon, 2013
  9. Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins Slam Muslims: ‘To Hell with Their Culture’, The Daily Beast, 2015
  10. Richard Dawkins, 'Islamophobia' and the atheist movement, The Guardian, 2015
  11. Professional Atheist Dawkins Says Christianity ‘Bulwark Against Something Worse’, by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D, Breitbart News Network, Jan 12, 2016
  12. Richard Dawkins says Christianity is world's best defence against radical Islam, Christianity Today, January 2016
  13. Richard Dawkins says Christianity is world's best defence against radical Islam, Christianity Today, January 2016
  14. [Richard Dawkins event cancelled over his 'abusive speech against Islam'], The Guardian, 2017
  15. Radio station cancels Richard Dawkins appearance over Islam tweets, The Independent, 2017
  16. Richard Dawkins wants to fight Islamism with erotica. Celebrity atheism has lost it By Tim Stanley, The Telegraph, January 1, 2015
  17. Richard Dawkins criticised for Twitter comment about Muslims, The Guardian
  18. List of Muslim Nobel Laureates
  19. What scares the new atheists by John Gray, The Guardian
  20. Atheism - The New (Emergent) Atheists, part 4 of 4 - Is The New Atheist Movement Dead?
  21. Dawkins and Movement 'Lost the Heart of the Cause'
  22. Richard Dawkins: Muslim parents 'import creationism' into schools, The Telegraph