- Richard Dawkins’s tweet over library in Timbuktu, Mali, causes offence
- Some of 600,000 followers say professor was unjustly attacking Islam
- Later clarifies he ‘does not of course mean all Muslims are barbarians’
By Mark Duell
PUBLISHED: 06:14 GMT, 31 January 2013 | UPDATED: 09:07 GMT, 31 January 2013
Atheist Richard Dawkins has managed to outrage another religion after calling Muslims ‘barbarians’.
The 71-year-old author of The God Delusion was referring to the severe damage caused by Islamist extremists to a sacred library in Timbuktu, Mali, but his remarks were seen as insulting to all Muslims.
Oxford University academic Professor Dawkins told his 600,000 Twitter followers on Tuesday: ‘Like Alexandria, like Bamiyan, Timbuktu’s priceless manuscript heritage destroyed by Islamic barbarians.’
Comments: Richard Dawkins said Timbuktu’s manuscript heritage was ‘destroyed by Islamic barbarians’
But his comments were criticised, with some followers claiming he was unjustly attacking Islam and others saying he should be considering vandalism acts by Christians, reported the Daily Telegraph.
Muslim Twitter user ‘Shawa5i Al Nasseri’ from the United Arab Emirates said: ‘You call us barbarians, truly no respect’, before later adding: ‘How do you explain this “destroyed by Islamic barbarians?”’
Professor Dawkins responded to the comments by saying: ‘You mean you were one of those who burned the books in Timbuktu? No? I thought not. So I wasn’t calling you a barbarian was I.’
He also said to all of his followers: ‘I was calling Islamic barbarians barbarians’, adding: ‘By “Islamic barbarians” I mean those Muslims who are also barbarians. I do not of course mean all Muslims.’
Backlash: Professor Dawkins’s comments on Twitter were criticised, with some followers claiming he was unjustly attacking Islam and others saying he should have considered vandalism acts by Christians