Richard Dawkins has denied using “abusive speech against Islam” after a California radio station cancelled a book event with the scientist, citing his comments on Islam, which it said had “offended and hurt … so many people”.https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jul/24/richard-dawkins-event-cancelled-over-his-abusive-speech-against-islam
Dawkins, whose bestselling study of evolution, The Selfish Gene, was named the most influential science book of all time by the Royal Society last week, was lined up to speak about his memoir A Brief Candle in the Dark at an event hosted by Berkeley’s KPFA Radio in August.
But KPFA subsequently informed ticketbuyers that the event had been cancelled. “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 later published on his website. “While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologise for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins’s views much earlier. We also apologise to all those inconvenienced by this cancellation.”
Dawkins, the author of anti-religious polemic The God Delusion, called the decision “truly astonishing”, and a “matter of personal sorrow”. He had listened to KPFA “almost every day” when he lived in Berkeley for two years, he said, and had previously been grateful for its “objective reporting and humane commentary”.
“My memory of KPFA is that you were unusually scrupulous about fact-checking. I especially admired your habit of always quoting sources,” he wrote to KPFA in an open letter he shared on his website. “You conspicuously did not quote a source when accusing me of ‘abusive speech’. Why didn’t you check your facts – or at least have the common courtesy to alert me – before summarily cancelling my event?”