By Rose S. Aslan
Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, unapologetic atheist and author of “God Delusion,” recently tweeted a picture of himself in front of the Winchester Cathedral in England, which said,
“Listening to the lovely bells of Winchester, one of our great mediaeval [sic] cathedrals. So much nicer than the aggressive-sounding ‘Allahu Akhbar.’ Or is that just my cultural upbringing?”
This lit a twitterstorm of tens of thousands of retweets and replies. Numerous news outlets around the world posted opinion pieces, critiques and analyses of his tweets. To correct, or perhaps clarify his initial tweet, Dawkins then retweeted,
“The call to prayer can be hauntingly beautiful, especially if the muezzin has a musical voice. My point is that ‘Allahu Akhbar’ is anything but beautiful when it is heard just before a suicide bomb goes off. That is when Islam is tragically hijacked by violence.”
Both supporters and critics again filled his Twitter threads with heated comments.
This is not the first time the Muslim call to prayer has been misconstrued or that Muslims have been attacked for their prayer practices around the world. Muslims have been checked from praying in countries such as Switzerland, France, India and Israel.
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