FOLLOWING reports that fanatics had torched the Ahmed Baba Centre for Documentation and Research in Timbuktu, Mali, last week, Professor Richard Dawkins incurred the wrath of Muslims by describing the vandals as “Islamic barbarians”.
His comments have been interpreted by some on the social networking site Twitter as being derogatory to Islam and and its followers.
Dawkins Tweeted that:
Like Alexandria, like Bamiyan, Timbuktu’s priceless manuscript heritage destroyed by Islamic barbarians.
His comments caused outrage, with many people condemning him of unfairly attacking Islam and ignoring the many acts of vandalism carried out by Christians.
But he hit back saying:
Some people (perhaps 1st language not English) think I was calling ALL Muslims barbarians. No. I was calling Islamic BARBARIANS barbarians.
The row is reminiscent of a storm he caused last year when he was accused of making a “profoundly anti-Semitic” remark by criticising the Old Testament.
Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, claimed that a remark in Prof Dawkins’s The God Delusion, likening God as portrayed in Jewish scriptures to a fictional villain, was based on centuries of prejudice.
Prof Dawkins, an Oxford evolutionary biologist, dismissed the allegation as “ridiculous” and said he was not “anti-Jewish” just “anti-God”.
It now appears that the damage caused by the zealots was not as bad is initially feared.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn