This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of July, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 16 July 2018
Author: Richard Dawkins, renowned evolutionary biologist and outspoken atheist
Tweet: "Listening to the lovely bells of Winchester, one of our great mediaeval cathedrals. So much nicer than the aggressive-sounding “Allahu Akhbar.” Or is that just my cultural upbringing?"
Description of the anti-Muslim content: Richard Dawkins makes a comparison between the Christian and the Muslim calls to prayer, the Church bells and the Adhan. He calls Adhan “aggressive sounding”. After being accused of intolerance, Mr Dawkins told The Independent: “Church bells are beautiful. The muezzin’s call to prayer can also be very beautiful if recited in a good voice. “But also, ‘Allahu Akhbar’ is the last thing you hear before the suicide bomb goes off.”
Myth Debunked: Richard Dawkins, known for his outspoken support of atheism, secular humanism and opposition to religion, is counterposing the sounds of two religions against each other based on a prejudiced view of Islam. He defines ‘Allahu Akhbar’ as aggressive, in line with many Islamophobic tropes that see Islam as inherently violent. As he admits later, Dawkins associates ‘Allahu Akhbar’ with terrorism, ignoring the innumerable occasions when it is used in peaceful contexts. ‘Allahu Akhbar’ literally translates as “God is greatest” and it is used by Muslims in the call to prayer, as well as in daily situations as an expression of gratitude and faith.
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