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Mosque attack conviction ‘mad’ - Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins. Picture: Jane Barlow/TSPL

Richard Dawkins. Picture: Jane Barlow/TSPL

  • by OLIVER NORTON
 

RENOWNED biologist Richard Dawkins was criticised yesterday for calling the conviction of a man and woman for draping slices of bacon in a Scottish mosque “contemptible”.

The writer took to social media after a couple, linked to the Scottish Defence League, were jailed for attacking Edinburgh’s Central Mosque with pork on 31 January last year.

Chelsea Lambie, 18, from Paisley, and Douglas Cruikshank, 39, from Galashiels, had attached the meat to door handles and also thrown strips at the house of worship.

On Friday, the pair were convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour, with Lambie getting 12 months after pleading guilty and Cruikshank getting nine months after denying the charge.

Pork meat is forbidden in several faiths, including Islam, and the incident is considered as an insult to people who practice the religion.

But dedicated atheist Dawkins failed to see the seriousness of the offence, after posting a series of messages, including: “who (apart from the pig) is damaged by bacon?”

Dawkins first wrote: “How can you be jailed a year for nonviolently draping bacon on a door? Law contemptible gives standing to “offence”.

He then posted a clip of an iconic Monty Python sketch where students are taught to defend themselves against fruit, adding: “Right! How to defend yourself against a man who attacks you with a slice of bacon!”

He then wrote: “Who (apart from the pig) is damaged by bacon? How can this possibly justify a year in jail? Law gone mad.”

He then added: “Incitement to violence is a crime. But bacon is hugely less inciting than “Behead those who insult Islam”. Jail for a year? Double standard.

“Yes the bacon smearing was a very nasty thing to do. But it “neither broke a leg nor picked a pocket” & a year in jail is ludicrously harsh.”

The provocative statements caused an angry backlash from hundreds of Twitter user who replied to the professor’s post.

One user, ElHombreMalo, wrote: “@RichardDawkins we get it, you think religions are bad and Islam is the worst but you are siding with quasinazis here. Xenophobes at best.”

David Milgrom replied: “I don’t believe in any gods, but that doesn’t mean I will ever condone racist intimidation. Do you @RichardDawkins?”

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Scotland did not want to comment on the case, adding that Mr Dawkins “has the freedom to say what he wants”.

 

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