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Let the fate of Richard Dawkins be a lesson to you all – Twitter brings out the worst in humankind

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(h/t: Calvin)

Let the fate of Richard Dawkins be a lesson to you all – Twitter brings out the worst in humankind

By   (Telegraph)

Another week, another half-hilarious, half-tragic Richard Dawkins meltdown on Twitter. This time, Dawkins, who prior to becoming a jester of the Twittersphere was apparently a well respected author, used the opportunity of International Women’s Day to blast the “loathsome religion” of Islam. He tweeted a photo of three [Afghan] women in short skirts in the 1970s next to a photo of three [Afghan] women cloaked in the burqa today, alongside the words: “How can anyone defend this loathsome religion?” He means Islam. He always means Islam. He has a real problem with Islam, even more than he does with Catholicism, whose teachings he once described as being worse than rape.

His “loathsome religion” tweet was hotly followed by another suggesting that the ritual slaughter of animals for faith reasons – ie halal and kosher – should be banned. “Many complex considerations should influence our treatment of animals. ‘Sincerely held religious beliefs’ are not among them,” he said. He followed this up with yet another shouty tweet, saying: “‘Beliefs’? BELIEFS!” It seems he doesn’t like belief. Or the idea that society should allow people to hold and act on beliefs that run counter to what the rest of us consider to be normal and decent. Which is weird, considering that the entire Enlightenment – to which Dawkins claims to be an adherent – began from a conviction that men must be free to worship as they see fit, regardless of whether their ideas or behaviour offend the majority. In the words of John Locke, in his 1689 Letter Concerning Toleration, how terrible would it be to put men “under the necessity to quit the light of their own reason, and oppose the dictates of their own consciences, and blindly to resign themselves up to the will of their governors”. Tweet that, Rich.

Dawkins is forever landing himself in hot water over his tweets. He’s tweeted about how few Nobel Prizes Muslims have won, followed by a barb disguised as a compliment: “They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.” He’s tweeted his bamboozlement as to why the New Statesman employed a practising Muslim as its political editor. His tweets are generously peppered with exclamation marks and CAPITAL LETTERS and hectoring phraseology, making it pretty clear that we are getting a glimpse into his unedited thoughts, into the inner recesses of his mind, into that part of the human brain that has always existed – the bovine, often prejudiced bit – but which until recent times was not given public expression. We are seeing how Dawkins’s mind works prior to his exercise of thought and self-editing, and it isn’t pretty.

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  • The greenmantle

    Would it not be better to read it an arabic rather than rely on any one translation ? I rather like Pichthall myself but then I’m not a muslim but then I suspect you are not either as your rant sounds like a Christain revivalist rant . only instead of the Bible you have used the Quran cherrypicked to sow fear and hate .

    Sir David

  • novictim

    Brothers and sisters! Loonwatch and Emperor! Read the Koran!
    Read the Dawood translation from 1958. Do this before you attack Richard Dawkins.

    How could you hope to be fair or reasonable if you have never actually spent ten bucks and 10 hours and read the book that has inspired all of this angst and activity? Read it!

    If you sincerely want to challenge Dawkins then hadn’t you better know this book that Muslims know to be the Infallible word of God? Stop wimping out and buy the thing and at least read some of it! The message and meaning will come through to you and you will be better for having made the effort.

    Some of my favorite sayings from the Koran:
    10:61 The words of Allah will never change. That is the supreme triumph!

    10:94 Had you Lord willed, all people of the world would have believed., one and all. Would you then force people to have faith? None can have faith but with Allah’s leave.We will visit abomination on those that do not see the sense of Our teachings.

    Believers, do not befriend your fathers or your brothers who choose unbelief in preference to faith; wrongdoers are those who befriend them.

    6:153 Those that turn away from Our revelation We shall requit with grievous torment for their turning.

    3.50 To unbelievers I will meet our grievous punishment in this life and the next.

    Hell shall be their couch and sheets of fire shall cover them.

    4:34 Men have authority over women…Good women are obedient.

    10:52 When will the wrongdoers be told: “Feel the everlasting torment!”

  • Pingback: Roger Mickelson’s History Today 5.24.14 | Sandia Tea Party()

  • 1DrM

    Useless post from a disgusting hypocrite troll lying about Islam and Muslims. Normality and decency are foreign concepts to your ilk. You’re the product of a failed culture built on lies and delusions. Piss of, Nazi filth.

  • 1DrM

    Don’t let “Meher” fool you. “Meher’s” last response(which was deleted) proved he’s NOT an Afghan but a troll playing pretend “ex-Muslim” online. Not even a lapsed Muslim would respond with racial slurs, most likely this is inbred trailer trash or some zionist bottom feeder.

  • Mehdi

    Sounds good, I do agree on the importance and difficulty of summarizing thoughts well and making complex ideas addressable for most readers, it’s good that Aslan was able to bring up the history of Jesus the way he did rather than keep it as an academical discussion for the few. I also remember that comment, and to be frank, I don’t think that was the issue, I think it came from a dislike of the person Reza Aslan. But that’s another topic.
    I’ll let you get back to your work, I agree on the advantage of Internet and how it opens the way for people, although at uneven levels…
    Take care for now.

  • Mehdi

    Just so you don’t misunderstand me on Islamophobia, I do agree that there is usage of it, about these terrorists looting Mali (although to be frank AQMI are pretty nasty and dangerous guys), indeed there was more to it. When I was talking about the importance of islamophobia, I meant that it had little importance regarding their neocolonial policy in Ivory Coast, Congo, Gabon, etc.

    But you are right regarding the coverage of events in Mali (Aminata Traoré is very enlightening on this topic), the Central African republic where the Muslim-Christian divide was overplayed and manipulated by the French authorities and media.

    The best journalists on the ground always highlight the fact that ethnical and religious divides usually go in unpredictable directions, sometimes animists fight muslims, sometimes they fight christians, sometime other animists, and all combinations are possible and exist. Conflict rationales are not just cultural, they often go back to issues such as land ownership, water access especially in the light of droughts and/or climate change, and we could go on and on for hours over these issues.

    Indeed, everyone played dangerous games, including the Algerian intelligence service who are suspected of having cynically manipulated many groups such as GIA and maybe some leaders of AQMI, such as the famous Abderrazak El Parra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amari_Saifi).

    The sad thing is that Africa witnessed a lot of democratic advances at the end of the 90s and beginning of the 2000s, especially countries like Mali, unfortunately, these advances have been hammered by neoliberal economics, climate change, and the impact of regional conflicts or interventions such as in Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Chad, etc. And indeed none of this is purely about Islam, only ignorants or islamophobes would claim so.

    Also, unfortunately, sometimes we also witness self-fulfilling prophecies, the destabilization of Mali, while related to all those factors, has led to consequences, there now is a new form of fundamentalism in Mali that didn’t exist previously, and that was very close to annihilating the manuscripts of Timbuktu. It reminds me of the pyromaniac policies in Afghanistan that led to the disaster we all see.

    Anyway, sounds like some fun reading soon 🙂

  • Mehdi

    Ok, the French forms are neocolonialism did change a lot in the last years, although their focus is in my opinion much more on their economic interests, for instance their constant meddling in Ivory Coast against Gbagbo.
    Regarding Islamophobia, difficult question, it is used sometimes for communication purposes, but it’s very difficult to qualify how much it matters in their African policy.
    Regarding Mali, it’s indeed a difficult question and it draws a lot of controversy, one interesting public figure is Aminata Traore, former minister in Mali, who just is persona non grata in France now due to her tough criticism of last year’s intervention. Unfortunately, very few resources online in English.

  • Mehdi

    Just on a sidenote, I attended a Reza Aslan event presenting his zealot book. He send his greetings to LW team and had a big laugh when I asked how Robert Spencer was doing 🙂

  • Mehdi

    Good stuff, I’m not sure whether there are many books on the “françafrique” neocolonial concept in the US, but France has exploited that continent like noone else, even the Chinese presence while greedy and generating corruption is a better option.
    The typical neo-colonial case studies are in my opinion Ivory Coast, democratic republic of Congo and Gabon (which generated crazy corruption scandals, barely believable), as conducted by De Gaulle’s man in chief of African policy Jacques Foccart: a French version of J Edgar Hoover.
    Mali is indeed a fascinating country, culturally amazing especially through its griot poetry (I strongly recommend reading the memoir of Amadou Ampathe Ba), Timbuktu’s longtime importance in trade and maintenance of wonderful manuscripts, or its unique music. That being said, Mali’s importance is only recent: French neocolonialism grew during cold war was focused on natural resources (hence Ivory Coast, DRC and Gabon’s importance), and supporting anti-communist struggle in places like Angola. Mali had a small strategic importance and remained a stable and yet poor country but caused little interest, it’s the recent “war on terror” chaos, post-Libyan military intervention, weapon proliferation, climate and economic issues that made it an unstable area…
    You also raised a very important on CFA.
    Sorry for the length, African history is fascinating, I look forward to reading your work 🙂
    And btw, if you ever need any translation help from a french document, drop me an email.

  • Mehdi

    Projects are sometimes like faith, constant journeys and work in progress, staying halfway is okay sometimes, it’s the journey that matters, if it gets you to learn something then great, if you finish the job it’s even better.
    I struggled like hell when writing my series on arab spring, but it was fun for me too. So I can imagine the scale of what you have ahead of you.
    Just out of curiosity, what time of African history do you plan to cover?

  • Mehdi

    Wow, excited in advance by the prospect of reading that…

  • Ahmed

    I am a Muslim man happily living in a Muslim country. Along with close to a million happy non Muslims who love it here much more than in their own countries. Check and mate.

  • Rights

    I don’t think you are from Afghanistan, and I don’t think you are a Muslim. A woman you may be, though, or maybe not. Your assertions reflect ignorance of Islam and Muslims that is characteristic of typical Western islamophobes.

    Millions of perfectly happy people live in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. In Pakistan an overwhelming majority of women does not wear the “head-to-toe” niqab. The veil is not a common sight in Pakistan. But what if it were? What is the problem with it? That women wear the niqab in Muslim countries because men force them to, a notion common among you islamophobes, is the stupidest notion I have ever heard of.

  • Your wording is clearly Western propaganda at its best. No original thought took place here. As a bonus, your post is rife with gross ignorance of conditions in the countries you named.

    If you are an Afghan-born woman and a Muslim, I am Pope Joan.

    While I’m at it, yes I would jump at the chance to live in Pakistan, or Morocco, or Northern Cyprus. I wouldn’t turn down a sojourn in Kosovo or Bosnia either. But besides being currently disabled, I have obligations which tie me here.
    This also happens to be my homeland.
    What’s up with all the nuts saying that the fact that you disagree with them means that you must be willing to completely uproot your life and live in a place that’s not your homeland? You do not, of course, have to lift a finger if you agree with the moon-units. It’s such a stock propaganda strategy it makes me sad to see people falling for it.

  • George Carty

    Agreed that most wars are ultimately about resources (for example, the root cause of the current carnage in Syria is that the Turks stole much of Syria’s water — the region where most of the terrorists were recruited is that which suffered the worst from the resulting drought), but there have been a few purely religious wars.

    For example, some lands in tropical Africa were so poor that colonialists motivated only by greed would have left them alone (as they didn’t have enough worth stealing) but they were invaded to stop local Muslims killing Christian missionaries who proselyzed there.

  • George Carty

    Even Jeff Sparrow, who is arguably more of a faithiest, has suggested believers would abandon faith if their need for it could be reduced through social and economic justice.

    That is essentially the Marxist view of religion: “the opium of the people”.

  • George Carty

    Actually, Afghanistan was fucked up by close to 20 years of continuous war, started by the Soviets not the West. Saudi Arabia’s regime would best be dealt with not politically or militarily, but by the West doing something about its oil addiction problem.

    Pakistan on the other hand was one of Britain’s many post-colonial messes — either India shouldn’t have been partitioned at all, or Pakistan and Afghanistan should have been combined into a single country.

  • George Carty

    “Tired of listening to PC White morons defending this hateful cult while Muslim women like myself and my sisters have to suffer.”

    Obviously you think “Muslim” is an ethnic marker like “Jewish” rather than just a religious one.

  • Tanveer Khan

    I’m going to wear a bowler hat at my wedding.

  • Tighe McCandless

    “But ask yourself: Would any of you want to actually live in Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc?”

    Perhaps not. But then again, I wouldn’t voluntarily live in China as it is now. Or many parts of eastern Europe right now. Or parts of Africa, at the moment, either. But there is a difference between myself and your ilk (and I think that this is rather fair to make): I do not believe that the problems facing those people are insurmountable. They will not stay the same and will change; I don’t have a Whig view of history, but sooner or later the people there will tire of those repressive regimes and political dysfunction – just as they will anywhere – and they’ll be thrown off.

    You, of course, believe that Muslims are inherently backwards savages. They can’t change (never mind the fact that the Muslim world isn’t some monolithic bloc and each has its own idiosyncrasies). Politically correct white liberals, hm? You’ve got an interesting, if incorrect, view of what constitutes LoonWatch’s membership. But if you can’t be bothered to do much else than confirm your own biases then I don’t think it’s worth correcting you.

    “Tired of listening to PC White morons defending this hateful cult while Muslim women like myself and my sisters have to suffer.”

    ‘…hateful cult…’
    ‘…Muslim women like myself…’

    Either you’ve got a deep sense of self-loathing, Mr. One Comment Wonder, or the mask you’ve put on is fumbling badly.

    I know which one I’d wager is the case.

  • Seeker

    I’ve seen some pics and videos of flower covered grooms. It’s way too silly.

  • Seeker

    While I would like Dawkins to be ignored, I think it’s too early for that. And given that I’m not too familiar with Twitter, it’s quite possible that there was a big outcry over his latest senile rants but I totally missed it. The reponses I saw were more amused than anything else. So we are getting there eventually.

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