“New Atheist” Richard Dawkins has been dis-invited from an event sponsored by a Berkeley radio station. Why? Because he has said things offensive to Muslims.
Dawkins is a critic of all religions, concentrating particularly on Christianity.
In his response to the station’s letter cancelling the appearance–an occurrence that has become so common in academic circles that there is now a word for it: “de-platforming”–Dawkins asked, “Why is it fine to criticise Christianity but not Islam?”
Why do you think this is?
I see two reasons: (1) The Left tends to identify Christianity with the establishment they oppose, whereas they associate Islam with racial minorities, colonial victims, the world’s oppressed, etc. (2) The fear that offended Muslims might bomb their radio station. (Why isn’t that considered a racist, bigoted stereotype?)
From Tyler O’Neil, KPFA Cancels Richard Dawkins Event Over ‘Abusive Speech’:
A radio station in Berkeley, Calif. which had scheduled an event featuring notorious atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins, abruptly cancelled the event on Friday, arguing that it would not endorse Dawkins’ “hurtful speech” about Islam.
“We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt — in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people,” the radio station, KPFA, said in a letter to ticket buyers. “KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech.”
“While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech,” the station added. “We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins’ views much earlier.” The station also apologized for any inconvenience, and promised to refund the ticket cost.
The event, scheduled for August 9, was to promote Dawkins’ new book Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Realist. The author — who had not been warned prior to the cancellation — responded with an open letter, denouncing the radio station and declaring that he had never engaged in “abusive speech” about Islam. He also hit the station on its hypocrisy in attacking him for his comments on Islam but never for his statements about Christianity.
“I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that,” Dawkins wrote. (His most notorious book, The God Delusion, sparked the “new atheist” movement, which firmly denounced all faith.) “Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticise Christianity but not Islam?”
Photo of Richard Dawkins by Anders Hesselbom (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons