The radio station canceled the event with Richard Dawkins but did not provide sources to shore up their arguments.
KPFA, a radio station broadcasting from Berkeley, California, has canceled a special book event with Richard Dawkins, a celebrated atheist. The cause of such an abrupt action was his alleged abusive speech degrading Islam. KPFA said Dawkins' speeches have hurt a number of people.The Selfish Gene became a best seller. The book explained biological evolution and why it is a fact, disproving a number of religious theologies in the process. The book became a classic, and is now considered one of most influential science tomes by no other than Royal Society. He was all set to promote his memoir A Brief Candle in the Dark. The event was supposed to be hosted by KPFA radio in Berkeley in August.
News of this cancellation has shocked many die-hard liberals, more so as KPFA is a known left-wing broadcaster in Berkeley, a town known for its ultra-liberal ethos. Dawkins is loved by the left for his incessant hammering of any kind of religion. He is known to target all regions equally, with Christianity and Islam being most at the receiving end of his well-researched criticism.
People who had already bought tickets to the event were informed by KPFA about the event's cancellation. In its message, the radio station said they booked the celebrated author solely on the strength of his new science book. They were unaware of his comments about Islam on social media, which has hurt and offended a number of people. KPFA strongly said it has never endorsed, nor will endorse hateful speech. In its website, the radio station forcefully said although it is a strong supporter of free speech, it is intolerant towards abusive speech.
Dawkins asserted in a written response: “I have criticized the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticized the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief. Far from attacking Muslims, I understand – as perhaps you do not – that Muslims themselves are the prime victims of the oppressive cruelties of Islamism, especially Muslim women. I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that. Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticize Christianity but not Islam?” Dawkins also said that Islamism is not the same as Islam and that he had “never used abusive speech” against the religion.
— Gurning Chimp (@Gurning_Chimp) July 25, 2017
KPFA apologized for having invited Dawkins in the first place, saying they would not have done so if they had prior knowledge about how he had offended and hurt many with his comments in the first place. Dawkins was astonished by the cancellation. He termed it a “matter of personal sorrow,” recalling the days when he listened to KPFA every day during the two years he spent in Berkeley. He mentioned the radio station's name while saying the broadcaster played a stellar role when it came to humane commentary along with an objective reporting. Dawkins asked KPFA to quote a source where he has abused Islam in any way. He asked the radio station why they did not check the facts, and didn’t have the basic courtesy of informing him prior to the event cancellation.