24 Julio 2017 16:09
A fair reaction to racist slurs, or ‘liberal left’ political correctness gone awry?
A radio station in Berkeley, California has cancelled an appearance from academic and evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, because they claim he has used abusive language in reference to muslims and the Islamic faith.KPFA Radio, long-time fans of the scientific-theorist, abruptly cancelled a book event with Dawkins after they ‘discovered’ he had made comments about Islam that ‘offended and hurt so many people’. The esteemed writer of The Selfish Gene has since denied such allegations and said the station’s decision was ‘truly astonishing’. Dawkins was due to talk about his recently-published memoir, A Brief Candle in the Dark, at an event hosted by KPFA in August, but fans have now been informed that it will not be going ahead. In an email to ticket holders, the radio channel wrote: ‘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. KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech.’ The author is known for his anti-religious sentiment and atheist position, and frequently criticises the theology of all faiths, including christianity. Dawkins rebuffed the station’s claim that his criticism of Islamism was abusive, and stated that he had previously admired KPFA’s ‘objective reporting and humane commentary’.
He made the distinction that while he has called Islamism ‘vile’, Islamism is not the same as Islam.
[caption id="attachment_5423" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Richard Dawkins (The Richard Dawkins Foundation Instagram)[/caption]‘I have criticised the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticised the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief,’ Dawkins wrote in an open letter to KPFA on his website. ‘Far from attacking Muslims, I understand – as perhaps you do not – that Muslims themselves are the prime victims of the oppressive cruelties of Islamism, especially Muslim women.
‘I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that. Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticise Christianity but not Islam?’Harvard professor Steven Pinker also attacked KPFA, calling their decision to cancel ‘intolerant, ill-reasoned, and ignorant’. ‘Dawkins is one of the great thinkers of the 20th and 21st century. He has criticised doctrines of Islam, together with doctrines of other religions, but criticism is not “abuse”,’ he wrote.
‘KPFA have handed a precious gift to the political right, who can say that left-leaning media outlets enforce mindless conformity to narrow dogma, and are no longer capable of thinking through basic intellectual distinctions.’And while many political commentators would agree that the liberal media is too quick to shut down anyone who disagrees with their stance, comments made by Dawkins do strike as Islamophobic, in particular. On Twitter he has previously said: ‘I think Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today. I've said so, often and loudly.’ He was also quoted in an article by The Telegraph as saying: ‘If you look at the actual impact that different religions have on the world it’s quite apparent that at present the most evil religion in the world has to be Islam.’
KPFA responded to criticism about their decision to cancel their event on Twitter, writing: ‘KPFA exercises its free speech right not to participate with anyone who uses hateful language against a community already under attack.’
@ToddKincannon 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?
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) March 1, 2013
KPFA exercises its free speech right not to participate with anyone who uses hateful language against a community already under attack. https://t.co/nTC1LYQKiG
— KPFA Radio (@kpfa) 21 de julio de 2017
One question continues to remain unanswered: where is the line that separates free speech from hate speech?