International Women’s Day
As many were celebrating International Women’s Day, Richard Dawkins, not one to shy away from the limelight, decided to get onto Twitter and give us an insight into a range of tweets that resonated with him. However, some of the re-tweets and tweets from Dawkins are nothing less than shocking, especially when Dawkins re-tweets material from a sympathiser of an extreme anti-Islamic group whose founder overtly plays on racial identity politics. No doubt, given the opportunistic nature of the extreme anti-Islamic group whose sympathiser Dawkins re-tweeted, they will seek to position themselves as being the mainstream by associating themselves with Dawkins. We hope that Dawkins dissociates himself completely from the racial identity politics and the virulently extreme anti-Islamic nature of the group if they attempt to associate themselves with him and we have previously highlighted this group here.
Anjem Choudhary – Who Does He Represent?
So let us look at tweets coming out from Dawkins account yesterday on International Women’s Day. Let us start with the following tweet below where Dawkins re-tweets the words of Anjem Choudhary. If Dawkins believes that Anjem Choudhary represents Muslims in the UK, then he is sadly mistaken since the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims in the UK despise the hate and toxic bile that comes out of the mouth of this character. What is interesting to note though is the comment in the tweet above the Anjem Choudhary one where Dawkins suggests, “I don’t give a **it what colour someone is. You’re racist……….Arguments are won/lost on their merits.” We will refer back to this statement later in this article.
We were then sent a set of tweets from members of the public on the ongoing Twitter discussions that Dawkins was having.
What is key to note is that Dawkins re-tweets a tweet from a member of the public which states, “Mustn’t forget how Muslim girls pray for the day their clitoris’ are sliced off – how dare we deny them this honour.” So let us get this straight, Muslim women are praying for the day when someone denies them the right to have a clitoris? More questions then come to mind. If Dawkins talks about rationalism versus cultural relativism or tackling abhorrent cultural practices based on human rights and the merits of arguments, then why is he re-tweeting a statement that is not only deeply offensive to all Muslim women, since there is no specificity in the statement around who may be affected, but which is factually just inaccurate. Where is the logic in that or is just when something fits an anti-Islamic or anti-Muslim position? Furthermore, just to be clear, FGM (female genital mutilation) is not Islamically sanctioned nor does it affect just one faith. Those cases in the UK mainly affect the Somali and Egyptian community and are culturally based. Also, in rural areas in Egypt, FGM affects both Christian and Muslim communities. But hey, why let these facts get in the way of Dawkins and Twitter.
Or take the following tweets:
Dawkins tweet infers that in the 1970’s, Afghan women used to dress as in the picture which he tweeted out. He states, “On international Women’s Day, how can anyone stand up and defend this loathsome religion.” By loathsome religion, he meant Islam, though let’s go back again to the facts. Dawkins blames Islam for the current state of social affairs of women in Aghanistan. He mentions nothing of the international interventionism for over a decade in the Cold War that fed fundamentalist groups who were used as proxies in the war against the Soviet Union. Indeed Ahmed Rashid’s books on the Taliban outline clearly the proxy war that fed arms to extreme groups in Afghanistan which destabilized the country and plunged it into an arena of constant war. Nor does Dawkins seem to clarify, if we want to take a rational and analytical approach to the social roles of women in Afghanistan, those Muslim female campaigners in Afghanistan who risk their lives daily to fight for women’s rights whilst praying 5 times a day and holding their own as believing Muslims in some of the most difficult of circumstances. But hey, who can reflect on that whilst sitting in the peaceful, scenic and easy lifestyle of Oxford and its dreamy spires, huh Richard?
Re-tweeting Material from Sympathisers of Virulently Anti-Islamic ‘Counter-Jihadi’ Groups
The most disturbing element of Dawkins Twitter conversation was the following.
We have written about this group before through a posting on the TELL MAMA site which can be found here. However, remember the tweet from earlier where Dawkins suggests that someone is racist and that arguments are won on their merits? Well, here is the founder of the Group, (Liberty GB), a man called Paul Weston. Before we move onto Paul Weston, what is clear is that yesterday Dawkins re-tweeted material from a sympathiser of a nationalistic, race based, ‘Counter-Jihad,’ anti-Islamic group which has also been highlighted by Hope Not Hate through this excellent background material on the ‘Counter-Jihad’ Network.
So, let us look at Paul Weston and some of his statements. In this statement uploaded in June 2013 entitled, ‘I am a racist,‘ Weston states, “I wish to preserve the people of my country,” which then begs the question as to who are ‘my people?’ He then takes a fatalistic view suggesting that (his people), “are under a terrible threat at the moment” and goes onto talk about migration and immigration. It is then followed by this statement which shows the anti-Islamic nature of this group. Weston states, “Everywhere you look, you see problems with Islam…….they are violent, they are, dare I say it, to re-enforce my racist credentials, a thoroughly savage political and religious ideology.” So, is Weston suggesting that followers of Islam are savages and inherently violent by following Islam? The statements speak volumes on the stance that this group is taking allied with race based statements. In fact, taken together, we found the statements chilling in their effect.
Furthermore, in the following You Tube statement, entitled ‘Preventing White Genocide‘ which was uploaded on Paul Weston’s site in November 2013, he states:
“We need to talk about race……and we do need to talk about race because in the 21st century, unless thing change, will see the virtual extinction of my white European race.”
Sound ominous and nationalistic, well he carries on:
“This is not such a tremendous problem, as long as we retain control of our own homelands.”
The excruciatingly painful and simplistic comments based on race and nationalism continue to the point where Weston suggests that white babies born in America are now an ethnic minority. Yes, migrants to the United States, are now an ethnic minority, whilst he fails to consider who the indigenous people were in North America before the Mayflower landed. Weston also seems to forget that settlers in North America were a mix of cultures from Europe and wider afield, such as China, but hey, what are a few facts when rhetoric and nationalism based on the politics of race are what you are pushing? Let us also not forget the fact that Paul Weston launched the British Freedom Party pact with Kevin Carroll and Tommy Robinson in April 2012.
You see, the point we are making is that Dawkins is effectively recycling material from individuals who openly support such a political grouping.That in of itself, is worrying.
Finally, we go back to the statement that Dawkins made earlier, ” I don’t give a **it what colour someone is. You’re racist……….Arguments are won/lost on their merits.” Are they Richard?