Richard Dawkins has once again been accused of Islamophobia after he posted a comment online describing the Muslim call to prayer as “aggressive-sounding”.
The prominent author and well-known atheist wrote on Twitter that he thought the “lovely bells of Winchester [cathedral]” were “nicer than the aggressive-sounding Allahu Akbar”.
But despite widespread and immediate criticism, Dawkins doubled down on the comments. Though he didn’t mention terrorism in his original tweet, Dawkins went on to insist he was actually referring to suicide bombers shouting “Allahu Akhbar” just before blowing themselves up.”
Turns out “The God Delusion” was just the collective insistence that Richard Dawkins was a philosopher and not just a tedious old racist. https://t.co/VuPxwPquf2— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) July 17, 2018
The call to prayer can be hauntingly beautiful, especially if the muezzin has a musical voice. My point is that “Allahu Akhbar” is anything but beautiful when it is heard just before a suicide bomb goes off. That is when Islam is tragically hijacked by violence.— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) July 18, 2018
Dawkins’ comments once again drew criticism – with one person pointing out the far more numerous occasions when the phrase is used in a peaceful context.
We say Allahu Akbar all the time...when we pray, when we celebrate, it’s used in a similar way to ‘Hallelujah’. Mr. Dawkins,you should visit Qatar or Turkey or one of the many Muslim majority countries just to experience the beautiful culture. Have you ever considered doing this?— Fatima Barkatulla (@FatimaBarkatula) July 18, 2018
Another was more succinct in their advice...
STEP AWAY FROM THE INTERNET— Joe Prang (@Prang91) July 18, 2018
While another person called for a little understanding.
All those of you who attack Richard without any consideration of the consequences and impact of your actions, please remember that he is someone's racist uncle (probably)— Val Kontoyiannis (@valkontoyiannis) July 18, 2018
He tweeted a response to an article written by New Statesmen contributor Emad Ahmed, which claimed Dawkins ended an interview with him after describing his belief in Islam “pathetic”.
The scientist, who is best known to the public for his critiques of religion, wrote that, rather than walking away because of the journalist’s religion, it was his insistence that the prophet Muhammad rode a winged horse as part of a miracle journey which prompted him to walk away.
Ahmed said at the time: “Dawkins is outspoken about religion, particularly Islam, so I was genuinely stunned when he decided to angrily walk away from our interview after I confirmed my beliefs in the revelations of the Islamic faith, calling my views ‘pathetic’.”