KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkeley, California, has canceled a planned book discussion and fundraiser next month with author and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins, who's known for his best-selling 2006 book, The God Delusion, charging that comments he's made about Islam are "abusive speech."
Dawkins had been scheduled to talk about his new book, Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Realist, and tickets had sold for the event as part of a station fundraiser.
But KPFA canceled Dawkins' appearance after people brought his comments about Islam to their attention. They charged he used, quote, "Islamophobic rhetoric," stating, "The speech we reviewed included assertions during his current book tour that Islam is the 'most evil' of world religions, Twitter posts denigrating Muslim scholars as non-scholars and other tweets."
Dawkins fired back, saying the station hadn't checked the facts or contacted him, and denying he'd ever used abusive speech about Islam.
He said instead that he has criticized Islamism, movements that seek to impose Islamic law and theology, often through force and violence, saying, "Far from attacking Muslims, I understand . . . that Muslims themselves are the prime victims of the oppressive cruelties of Islamism." He also questioned why the station didn't seem to have a problem with critical things he's said about Christianity, saying, "Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticize Christianity but not Islam?"