RENOWNED atheist Professor Richard Dawkins received a surprise standing ovation in the traditionally Christian community of Stornoway last night, following a two-hour speech in which he said there was probably no God.
The 71-year-old described Islam as “one of the great evils of the world” in his lecture, The God Delusion, as part of a rare visit to the Western Isles.
The talk delivered on Lewis during the Hebrides Book Festival proved a major hit among the 220-strong crowd. There was a waiting list of 60 people for tickets, after the event sold out within 40 minutes.
Members of the audience cheered loudly as Prof Dawkins used the appearance to attack Islam, while stressing that the “vast majority of Muslims” were not evil, only their religion was.
Prof Dawkins said: “We are terrified of being called ‘Islamophobic’. It is a disgrace a religion prescribes death for leaving it. The vast majority of Muslims would not dream of doing that, but they are taught it in their madrassas… and it only takes a minority to put that into practice. And, as we have seen, terrible things happen.”
A group of Christians from the Free Church handed out leaflets outside the book festival venue during the lecture “to give the other side”.
The Rev Iver Martin, minister at Stornoway Free Church – the biggest single church in the Outer Hebrides – said before the meeting: “A boycott to me is counterproductive. It will achieve nothing.
“I would hope there will be no form of protest. It would send out the wrong type of message.”