BERKELEY, CA (CelebrityAccess) — A speaking engagement by biologist, best-selling author, and outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins was canceled by California radio station, citing his views on Islam.
Dawkins, author of the best-selling "The Selfish Gene" was set to speak about his A Brief Candle in the Dark at an event hosted by Berkeley’s KPFA Radio in August. However, KFPA informed ticketbuyers that the event had been canceled over concern about Dawkin's criticism of the tenants of Islam.
"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,” said KPFA in an email to ticket buyers, which Dawkins published on his website. “While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins’s views much earlier. We also apologize to all those inconvenienced by this cancellation.”
In a response to the cancellation posted on his website, Dawkins said:
“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.”
Harvard professor and author Steven Pinker released a statement criticizing KPFA's decision to cancel the event, characterizing the decision as "intolerant" and "ill-reasoned".
“Dawkins is one of the great thinkers of the 20th and 21st century. He has criticized doctrines of Islam, together with doctrines of other religions, but criticism is not ‘abuse’,” Pinker wrote. “People may get offended and hurt by honest criticism, but that cannot possibly be a justification for censoring the critic, or KPFA would be shut down because of all the people it has hurt and offended over the decades.”