Paris Attacks: Richard Dawkins ridicules jihadist ‘mastermind’ on Twitter

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins at the 34th American Atheists Conference. Photo by Mike Cornwell.

Kenyan born British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and writer Richard Dawkins has ridiculed the leader of the extremist Islamist groups of ISIS affiliates who launched multiple attacks in Paris last Friday night (13 November).

In his Tweet, posted at 12.42am (UK time) on Friday morning (20 November), referring to the death of Belgian jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud, he said “Paris ‘mastermind’ killed. Why call him ‘mastermind’? In the company of ‘minds’ such as his, anyone who can read a watch is a mastermind.”

27 year old Abaaoud was killed on Wednesday (18 November) during a police siege on his safe house. He was hit first in the head by a police sniper and then blown to pieces by numerous grenades during the raid in the suburb of Saint-Denis.

His body was so unrecognisable it has taken more than 24 hours for forensic tests to confirm he is now dead using DNA from his saliva.

Later in the day, he followed his initial Tweet with two more. This time, he said:

“Don’t underestimate them. They’re smart.” Smart enough to believe in a flying horse? Smart enough to believe in talking ants?

Al-Buraf Hafifa
Buraq on a reproduction of a 17th-century Indian Mughal miniature

The ‘flying horse’ he is referring to is Al-Burāq (Arabic: البُراق‎ al-Burāq “lightning”) which in Islamic mythology, is a steed described as a creature from the heavens that transported the prophets. Most commonly told is how in the 7th century, Buraq carried the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi’raj or “Night Journey”, which titles the sura (chapter) Al-Isra of the Qur’an.

The other topic he mentions, talking ants, refers to Sūrat an-Naml (Arabic: سورة النمل‎, “The Ant, The Ants”) which is the 27th sura of the Qur’an with 93 ayat. The sura’s name is taken from the ants whose conversations were understood by Solomon.

For pointing out a fact (they believe in flying horse) I’m “hate-filled: no different than the terrorists”. Hang on I’m late for the stoning.

Later, he Tweeted a link to an article by anti-extremist campaigner Maajid Nawaz published on The Daily Beast who details the results of a survey which Dawkins describes as ‘worrying poll data’.

The survey results he refers to in Nawaz’s article is where he reports a quarter of British Muslims sympathised with the Charlie Hebdo shootings and 0% have expressed tolerance for homosexuality. Also in the survey, a third claimed that killing for religion could be justified, while 36% thought apostates (those who leave Islam) should be killed. 40% wanted the introduction of sharia as law in the UK and 33% expressed a desire to see the return of a worldwide theocratic Caliphate.

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