‘Pathetic’: Richard Dawkins in extraordinary outburst against Islam
RICHARD Dawkins has launched an extraordinary new attack on Islam blasting one of its core teachings as “pathetic”.
By Jason Taylor, Express
PUBLISHED: 04:07, Tue, Dec 29, 2015
Professor Richard Dawkins has launched a fresh attack on Islamic belief.
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.
Ridiculing belief in a winged horse is not bigotry, not Islamophobia, not racism. It’s sober, decent, gentle, scientific realism.
– Professor Richard Dawkins
A shocked Ahmed said: “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”.
But the evolutionary biologist took to Twitter to defend his latest outburst.
He said: “I left when he said Muhammad rode a winged horse. A non-timewasting journalist needs at least SOME grasp of reality.”
He added: “Ridiculing belief in a winged horse is not “bigotry”, not “Islamophobia”, not “racism”. It’s sober, decent, gentle, scientific realism.”
The 74-year-old went on: “If you believe you’re Napoleon or a poached egg, you’re in an asylum.
“If you believe in winged horses you’re a New Statesman journalist.”
Richard Dawkins has defended his comments about Islam.
Richard Dawkins has defended his comments on Twitter.
He later explained in more detail: “I’m accused of refusing to be interviewed by Muslim journalists! Here’s what actually happened.”
“I was at a Royal Society meeting to launch the new Stephen Hawking Prize for Science Communication.”
“The very nice PR woman arranged press interviews for the speakers. Science communication is dear to my heart, and I agreed to be pulled out of the conference for a series of interviews, on condition that the journalists would ask me about the Hawking Prize & STARMUS, not religion.”
“One journalist, from New Statesman, soon made it clear that he wanted to talk of nothing but religion. My impatience grew, fed by my desire to rejoin the conference.
“I kept trying to drag him back to the agreed topic. Eventually, the PR woman arrived & signalled to the journalist that his time was up, but he asked to be allowed to carry on.
“He had just admitted that he believed in flying horses. In exasperation that I had left the conference to talk to a time-wasting journalist whose world view was ludicrously unconnected with reality, I terminated the interview and went off with the PR woman.
“I now find myself accused of refusing to be interviewed by Muslim journalists!”
Last month Dawkins said Islamic culture could “go to hell” on a live TV chat show in the United States when referring to some practices in Islam, such as women being made to wear burkhas.
Nor is it is not the first time Dawkins has attacked the belief in the ascension of Muhammad.
In an interview with Al Jazeera journalist Mehdi Hasan, filmed at the Oxford Union in 2012 – which you can watch below – Dawkins mocked the host telling him his belief was “anti-scientific and wrong”.
The Qur’an briefly refers to the Isra and Miraj, two parts of a night journey Muhammad took during a single night in the year 621.
The “physical and spiritual journey” sees the Islamic prophet travel on the steed Buraq to the “furthest mosque” where he leads other prophets in prayer. He then ascends to heaven in the Miraj journey where he speaks to God, who gives instructions to take back to the faithful.
Dawkins – who was once named the world’s leading thinker by Prospect Magazine – has been equally critical of other religions.
He has described Judaism as a “tribal cult of a single fiercely unpleasant God, morbidly obsessed with sexual restrictions”.
And he once claimed that being raised a Catholic and taught to fear hellfire is “worse than child abuse.”
Just today he Tweeted: “Culturally the UK is a Christian country. But schools should teach comparative religion and atheism. They should NEVER indoctrinate.”
Richard Dawkins has been equally scathing about Christianity.
Dawkins was born in Kenya but moved to Britain aged eight. He studied at Oundle School, in Northamptonshire, before reading Zoology at university at Oxford University, where he is now an emeritus fellow of New College.
He became an atheist in his early teens after learning about Darwin’s theory of evolution and has written 13 books on evolution, biology and religion, including several international best-sellers.