Once again Richard Dawkins has shown himself to be no better than the religious leaders he hates.
Most of you are probably familiar with the story of Ahmed Mohammed: the 14-year-old Muslim boy who was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to science class. The police were alerted by a teacher who claimed he thought the clock was a bomb, but tellingly did not follow the standard protocol for school bomb threats.
This story has ignited much outrage and discussion of America's problem with Islamaphobia. #IStandWithAhmed is trending all over the Internet, and US President Barack Obama has formally invited Ahmed to the White House.
Cue Richard Dawkins: for those of you who are new here, Dawkins is an anti-religion activist who wrote a book called The God Delusion and was somewhat relevant once upon a time, before the scientific and atheist communities (with the exception of a vocal minority online following) inevitably tired of him. He has recently released tweets questioning Ahmed Mohammed's motives, accusing him of "hoax" and "fraud", and even suggesting he "wanted to be arrested", because naturally every American boy enjoys the experience of being targeted by systemic racism and treated like a criminal for alarmingly petty reasons.
Comedian Bill Maher (also an outspoken critic of religion, particularly Islam) has made similarly insensitive comments, stating "For the last 30 years, it’s been one culture that has been blowing sh*t up over and over again.”
All this serves as a healthy reminder that narrow-minded bigotry and hate speech is not restricted to the religious right, but can be found in all demographics, including atheists and "free-thinkers".