The outspoken atheist Professor Richard Dawkins has re-ignited the furore over the burka, describing it as a “full bin-liner thing”. The 69-year-old author and scientist told of his “visceral revulsion” when he sees women wearing the controversial Islamic clothing.
Professor Dawkins made the comments in an interview with Radio Times discussing his forthcoming documentary about the dangers of faith schools. Last night he stood by his remarks and told the Daily Mail: “I do feel visceral revulsion at the burka because for me it is a symbol of the oppression of women.”
Seyyed Ferjani, of the Muslim Association of Britain, said of Professor Dawkins’ comments: “I think it is ignorant and Islamaphobic. This kind of thing has been on the rise for some time. Britain is a diverse and free society. It is a woman’s choice if she wishes to wear a burka, a niqab or not. Why does it matter to this man what a woman is wearing? We should be encouraging respect and understanding for each other.”
It is not the first time Professor Dawkins, who is the author of books including The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, has attracted criticism for his views on Islam. In 2008, he said: “It’s almost impossible to say anything against Islam in this country, because you are accused of being racist or Islamophobic.”
Unfortunately, accusations of racism and Islamophobia haven’t had the slightest restraining effect on Dawkins. His website recently featured a vile video rant against the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” in New York by UKIP-supporting “comedian” Pat Condell, of whom Dawkins (along with many BNP members) is a great admirer. Rejecting complaints about the video by visitors to his site, Dawkins wrote: “I think it is well arguable that Islam is the greatest man-made force for evil in the world today. Pat Condell is one of the few with the courage to say so.”