A US radio station has cancelled Richard Dawkin’s talk over his anti-Islam tweets, reported The Independent.
The evolutionary biologist was due to discuss his latest book, Science in the Soul: Collected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist, at a benefit event for KPFA, a listener-funded station in Berkeley, California.
The ticketed event was cancelled by KPFA claiming it had discovered that Dawkin’s tweets about Islam had upset people.
“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 told ticket buyers in an email.
“While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologise for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins’s views much earlier.”
Dawkins said he was ‘astonished’ to have his talk cancelled by the California station which was broadcasting in the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. A student protest took place at the University of California, Berkeley 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.”
Dawkins previously called “greatest force for evil today”.
Dawkins further stated in his letter, “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.”