Richard Dawkins to give away copies of The God Delusion in Islamic countries

Author and the Centre for Inquiry planning free ebook versions of his books in Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and Indonesian following a ‘stirring towards atheism’ in some Islamic countries

Richard Dawkins is responding to what he called the “stirring towards atheism” in some Islamic countries with a programme to make free downloads of his books available in Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and Indonesian.

The scientist and atheist said he was “greatly encouraged” to learn that the unofficial Arabic pdf of the book had been downloaded 13m times. Dawkins writes in The God Delusion about his wish that the “open-minded people” who read it will “break free of the vice of religion altogether”. It has sold 3.3m copies worldwide since it was published in 2006 – far fewer than the number of Arabic copies that Dawkins believes to have been downloaded illegally.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science recently merged with the Washington DC-based Center for Inquiry. Dawkins said the CFI decided on “a more systematic programme” of translating his work in ebook form following “stirrings toward atheism in Iran and other Islamic countries”. It will be the first time his work has been made available in Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and other languages of Islamic countries.

The first book to be translated will be River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, which tackles evolution and which is Dawkins’ shortest book. The Center for Inquiry hopes the new versions will be available on its website by the end of this year. It will steer clear of books that already have legitimately published translations.

“We are choosing languages, not counties,” said Dawkins. “The pdfs may, of course, be downloaded by anybody in any country, but we imagine most Urdu downloads will be in Pakistan, most Indonesian downloads in Indonesia and Malaysia, and most Farsi downloads in Iran.”

A vocal critic of all religions, Dawkins has previously called Islam “the most evil religion in the world ... of course that doesn’t mean all Muslims are evil, very far from it. Individual Muslims suffer more from Islam than anyone else.”

In 2017, Dawkins criticised a California radio station for cancelling an event with him over what it called his “abusive” comments about Islam. “I have criticised the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticised the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief. Far from attacking Muslims, I understand – as perhaps you do not – that Muslims themselves are the prime victims of the oppressive cruelties of Islamism, especially Muslim women,” wrote the author to KPFA Radio in Berkeley. “I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that. Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticise Christianity but not Islam?”


Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

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