Richard Dawkins under fire after describing Muslim call to prayer as ‘aggressive-sounding’

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

Kenyan born British academic and author Richard Dawkins has been on the receiving end of an online backlash after Tweeting the Muslim call to prayer is “aggressive-sounding” in comparison to the ringing of church bells.

The 77-year-old atheist told his 2.77 million followers: “Listening to the lovely bells of Winchester, one of our great mediaeval cathedrals.

“So much nicer than the aggressive-sounding ‘Allahu Akhbar.’ Or is that just my cultural upbringing?”

The phrase Allahu Akbar means “Allah (God) is the greatest” in Arabic and is used at the start of the Muslim call to prayer which is broadcast from mosques five times a day. It has also been shouted by Islamic terrorists before and during attacks.

Among those critical of Professor Dawkins was Fatima Bhutto, the niece of former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, who replied: “No, it’s your bigotry.”

Benjamin Hulett, a Tenor, wrote: “I was a Winchester Cathedral chorister and hold the place in deep affection. 

“I am also a musician and traveller of the world and find the muezzin enchanting and profoundly evocative. Probably just your cultural upbringing.”

“I’m genuinely surprised that such a man as you would tweet something as gratuitously vile as that.”

However, there were messages supporting his comment with one Twitter user asking: “Can nobody have an opinion these days without being accused of being racist?”

Another reply said: “Now now Richard you are not playing by the lefts handbook that says you can only attack Christianity. All other religions are off limits. Now the left will have to put you in the penalty box.”

This isn’t the first time the Nairobi born professor’s comments have proved controversial. In his 2006 book ‘The God Delusion’, Dawkins described religions as being like “mind viruses”, and in 2013 he said Islam was “the greatest force for evil in the world today”.

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