KPFA cancelled a book event with Richard Dawkins when members of our community brought our attention to Dawkins’ abusive speech against Muslims. The speech we reviewed included assertions during his current book tour that Islam is the “most evil” of world religions, Twitter posts denigrating Muslim scholars as non-scholars and other tweets.
We serve a broad and diverse community, including many Muslims living under threat of persecution and violence in the current political context. Islamophobic rhetoric stokes that threat. While Mr. Dawkins has every right to express his views, KPFA has every right not to sponsor and profit from an event spreading them. That is what we’ve done.
KPFA’s events organizers notified Mr. Dawkins’ publicist at Random House when we first started considering cancellation of his event, and again once we made the final decision to do so, which was before notice was sent out to ticket holders.
We have since extended an offer to Mr. Dawkins to discuss this matter on KPFA’s airwaves, a forum where his assertions can be engaged and challenged, but KPFA will have no financial stake in promoting them. He has not yet responded.
Links to stories on this from KPFA and other outlets
KPFA News story
KPFA Sunday Show with Philip Maldari open phones to callers on the subject
KPFA Letters and Politics with Mitch Jeserich
New York Times Article