Richard Dawkins Muslim jibe sparks Twitter backlash

He posted: 'All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge'

Professor Richard Dawkins sparked a Twitter backlash by claiming Muslims have been awarded fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge, adding: "They did great things in the Middle Ages, though".

An online row broke out when he posted: "All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge."

The outspoken author went on to defend the remarks which sparked fury on the social network where he was accused of disguising his "bigotry" as atheism.

A series of high-profile Twitter users condemned his comments, prompting Prof Dawkins to question what Muslims had achieved since the Dark Ages.

He responded to the barrage of ensuing criticism by telling his followers: "A statement of simple fact is not bigotry. And science by Muslims was great in the distant past."

In a further posting he wrote: "Where would we be without alchemy? Dark Age achievements undoubted. But since then?"

He sought to justify the observation by adding: "Why mention Muslim Nobels rather than any other group? Because we so often hear boasts about (a) their total numbers and (b) their science."

One angry Twitter user hit out at the remarks telling the author: "You absolutely disgust me."

Writer Caitlin Moran added: "Think it's time someone turned Richard Dawkins off and then on again", while Channel 4 News Economics Editor Faisal Islam questioned Prof Dawkins' "spurious use of data".

The Tweet from Richard Dawkins sparked controversy The Tweet from Richard Dawkins sparked controversy

Writer and Independent columnist Owen Jones responded: "How dare you dress your bigotry up as atheism. You are now beyond an embarrassment."

The author of The God Delusion - who branded religion a "betrayal of the intellect" and "a betrayal of all that's best about what makes us human" - found himself at the centre of controversy earlier this year when he challenged the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Cambridge Union debate, saying:  "If I were a cultural Muslim, I would have something to say about that faith's appalling attitude to women and various other moral points."

Dawkins has since removed the tweets from his page.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada