Richard Dawkins has said he is in favour of offending people's religion and it should be offended at every opportunity.
The controversial atheist academic, 75, argued the public was too worried about being viewed as racist and claimed it is absurd to be accused of racism for criticising Islam.
Dawkins said this was the result of an “absurd double standard” in the Western world which means people are more anxious about attacking Islam than Christianity.
“People are terrified of being thought racist,” he told The Times. “There’s an awful confusion in many people’s minds. They think Islam is a race, which of course it isn’t”.
“If you’re seen to criticise Islam you are often accused of racism, which is absurd.
“I’m all for offending people’s religion. I think it should be offended at every opportunity”.
Dawkins also said migrants from Syria and Iraq who have stopped believing in Islam should be prioritised in the immigration system.
“In the case of immigrants from Syria and Iraq I would like to see special preference given to apostates, people who have given up Islam,” he said. “They are in particular danger.”
The evolutionary biologist, whose best-selling book The God Delusion has been downloaded ten million times, is a provocative figure. He has been accused of Islamophobia in the past but dismisses the term as a “non-word”.
Dawkins prompted outrage in September of last year when he suggested the innocent American school boy, Ahmed Mohammed, that was arrested for building a clock might have “wanted to be arrested” in order to be seen as a victim of discrimination.
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