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  1. Richard Dawkins' latest anti-Muslim Twitter spat lays bare his hypocrisy The celebrity atheist's Twitter rant against journalist Mehdi Hasan shows he's a believer too – in his own mythology Richard Dawkins has accused Mehdi Hasan of not being a serious journalist for his belief that Islam's prophet Muhammad was carried to heaven on a winged horse. Photograph: Murdo Macleod Richard Dawkins and Twitter make one of the world's great pairings, like face and custard pie. But whereas more accomplished clowns ram custard pies into the faces of their enemies, Dawkins' technique is to ram his own face into the custard pie, repeatedly. I suppose it saves time and it's a lot of fun to watch. On Sunday afternoon he was at it again, wondering why the New Statesman employs an imaginative and believing Muslim: "Mehdi Hasan admits to believing Muhamed [sic] flew to heaven on a winged horse. And New Statesman sees fit to print him as a serious journalist." But this is only half the fun. The real comedy comes when he lifts his face from the pie, dripping scorn and custard, to glare at the audience who can't see how very rational he is. Because there are some people who don't understand that everything Dawkins says illuminates the beauty of reason. For instance, Tom Watson, the MP who pursued Murdoch, tweeted back almost at once: "You really are a gratuitously unpleasant man". To this Dawkins replied "Actually no. Just frank. You'd ridicule palpably absurd beliefs of any other kind. Why make an exception for religion?" "You are gratuitously unpleasant; I am just frank" comes straight out of the Yes Minister catechism of irregular verbs. But it gets better. Dawkins continues: "A believes in fairies. B believes in winged horses. Criticise A and you're rational. Criticise B and you're a bigoted racist Islamophobe." It is of course horribly unfair to call Dawkins a bigoted racist Islamophobe. Anyone who follows him knows he is an equal opportunities bigot who is opposed to Christians of every colour as well. But if you will tweet, as he has previously done, that "I have often said that Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today", then us inferior, less rational types can easily suppose that he means what he says, and that therefore he does think that Muslims, especially proselytising ones like Mehdi Hasan, are spreading evil and should not be employed by respectable magazines. Of course Dawkins would probably deny with complete sincerity that this is what he means – until the next time he says it. This doesn't make him unusually hypocritical. It just means that he thinks the same way as people who believe stories that are differently ridiculous to his – that the twelfth imam will return, or that Muhammad ascended to heaven on a winged horse. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/22/richard-dawkins-islamophobic#start-of-comments
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