Richard Dawkins Defends 'Islamic Barbarians' Twitter Comment

Prominent British atheist and best-selling author Richard Dawkins recently responded to those who were offended by a tweet he sent out where he used the term "Islamic Barbarians."

Earlier this week, the Oxford professor had tweeted a comment about the recent news over the apparent destruction of a historic library in Timbuktu, the capital of Mali.

"Like Alexandria, like Bamiyan, Timbuktu's priceless manuscript heritage destroyed by Islamic barbarians," wrote Dawkins.

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In response to denunciations from some Muslims over the terminology, Dawkins clarified which group he was referring to in the initial Tweet.

"Some people (perhaps 1st language not English) think I was calling ALL Muslims barbarians. No. I was calling Islamic BARBARIANS barbarians," wrote the founder of The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

The tweet and controversy stemming from it came in response to reports from the mayor of Timbuktu regarding a historic library that had been apparently torched by Islamic extremists.

According to Voice of America, Mayor Halley Ousmane of Mali's most famous city said that the Ahmed Baba Institute suffered damage. The library had in its possession thousands of Arabic manuscripts, many several centuries old. At present, an official assessment of the extent of the damage has not been confirmed.

Michael Covitt, chairman of Malian Manuscript Foundation, told VOA that the "manuscripts cover pretty much every science under the sun, from astronomy to astrology to numerology to mathematics to medicine to jurisprudence."

While most noted for his jabs at Christians, Dawkins has also garnered controversy for his remarks toward other faiths. This is not the first time Dawkins has publicly criticized Islam either regarding its violent extremists or the religion as a whole.

In November of last year, Dawkins told an audience at the Hebrides Book Festival that Islam is "one of the great evils of the world."

Tom Chivers, assistant comment editor for the United Kingdom publication the Telegraph, stated in a recent column that given Dawkins' long documented views on all religion, it's "frankly silly to get all upset about it now."

"Essentially, the point is this: if you believe, as Dawkins does, that religion has a net negative effect on the world, it's hypocritical to pretend otherwise in a bid to remain politically correct," wrote Chivers.

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