Richard Dawkins is not content to promote the virtues of atheism, whatever they may be, he is positively given to trashing religion. “I’m all for offending people’s religion,” he told the English media. “I think it should be offended at every opportunity.”
If there is one thing Dawkins likes about Christianity, especially Catholicism, it is the freedom he has in promoting hate speech against it; he admits that he pays no price for doing so. But when it comes to beating up on Islam, he must always prepare for a backlash, and not just from Muslims: he gets flack from those who like to bash Christianity.
Those who criticize Islam, Dawkins says, “are often accused of racism, which is absurd.” Worse, “People are terrified of being thought racist.”
He’s right on both counts: Islam is a religion, not a race, and people are terrified of being labeled a racist. And, yes, there is a double standard in play—it’s okay to denigrate Christians but not Muslims. This duplicity, of course, is a signature of contemporary liberalism. Where he falters is in his conviction that people of faith deserve to be offended.
Radical Muslims have more in common with liberals than Dawkins: he is an honest bigot, and they are unprincipled bigots. For example, Iran is currently hosting a Holocaust Cartoon Contest, drawing on some 150 works from 50 countries. One reason for the event is to highlight the different responses engendered by the Charlie Hebdo controversy; those cartoons obscenely mocked Islam. As one official put it, the “contest and exhibition intends to display the West’s double standard towards freedom of expression as it allows sacrilege of Islamic sanctities.”
Dawkins, liberals, and radical Muslims agree on one thing: when it comes to Christians, there can’t be enough hate speech. Indeed, offending them should be done “at every opportunity.”