Journalist's Passionate Defence Of Free Speech: 'There Is Nothing Wrong With Offending People'

25 July 2017, 10:12 | Updated: 25 July 2017, 10:44

Times Columnist Oliver Kamm passionately defended author Richard Dawkin's right to criticise Islam.

Author Richard Dawkins had his appearance at a ticketed event cancelled by the organisers, a US radio station, after some attendees said the evolutionary biologist's comments about Islam were offensive.

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In 2013 he had tweeted a series of tweets, including one which read: "Haven't read Koran so couldn't quote chapter & verse like I can for Bible. But often say Islam greatest force for evil today."

The author of Science in the Soul: Collected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist has criticised many religions, but was told his Tweets about Islam had upset some people.

Journalist Oliver Kamm is not happy about the backlash Richard Dawkins received for his comments on Islam Photo: Twitter
Journalist Oliver Kamm is not happy about the backlash Richard Dawkins received for his comments on Islam Photo: Twitter. Picture: Twitter

One person who has criticised the organisers of the event for their decision to cancel Mr Dawkins, is Times Columnist Oliver Kamm - who thinks it is a violation of freedom of speech.

Nick Ferrari chatted to him on his LBC Breakfast show about the issue.

He said: "Of course it's censorship...Richard Dawkins was invited to talk about his new book on a radio station that then rescinded the invitation..on the itself offensive grounds that some listeners are offended by what Richard said on a totally extraneous subject.

"It's a clear case of censorship, I'm glad it's been picked up, and I'm glad you're covering it."

Nick asked: "It's not necessarily helpful, is it, to describe Islam, not Islamism I make the point, as the "greatest form of evil today"?"

Oliver replied: "What is wrong with criticising a system of ideas? I don't necessarily agree with Richard Dawkins on everything he said, I know him a little...but he's entitled to his views about religion."

Nick interjected: "Even if we know they're offending people, Oliver?"

The columnist replied: "Of course! Of course. Free speech, if it's substantive, will naturally offend people , and there is nothing wrong with that.

"There is nothing wrong with criticising and attacking peoples' deeply held beliefs."

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