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Richard Dawkins speaks about KPFA Manager Quincy McCoy canceling his talk in Berkeley
by repost
Monday Jul 24th, 2017 1:08 PM
World renowned evolutionary biologist Professor Richard Dawkins who is also one of the greatest intellects of our time had his speech canceled by KPFA Manager Quincy McCoy who accused him of ‘abusive speech’. This according to Dawkins is a betrayal of the values KPFA has, until now, been known for.” According to the Center For Inquiry. KPFA which touts itself as "Free Speech Radio" apparently has a manager who flagrantly and blatantly has violated the principle of free speech. The Center charges that the "Cancellation of Richard Dawkins Berkeley Event Baseless and Unconscionable".
dawkins_richard.jpeg
Richard Dawkins speaks about KPFA Manager Quincy McCoy canceling his talk in Berkeley
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gct4KpDjLUM

Published on Jul 24, 2017
Professor Richard Dawkins talks about being de-platformed by Berkeley radio station KPFA for his online comments about Islam.

You can read his open letter to the station here
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/newsroom/dawkins_berkeley/?_ga=2.98661534.1673299884.1500925026-2123984129.1500925026


Cancellation of Richard Dawkins Berkeley Event Baseless and Unconscionable [UPDATED]
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/newsroom/dawkins_berkeley/?_ga=2.98661534.1673299884.1500925026-2123984129.1500925026
PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785
E-mail: press [at] centerforinquiry.net

Cancellation of Richard Dawkins Berkeley Event Baseless and Unconscionable [UPDATED]
July 21, 2017



* * * UPDATE * * *

Richard Dawkins has sent the following letter to KPFA, which was originally posted here.

Dear KPFA,

I used to love your station when I lived in Berkeley for two years, shortly after that beloved place had become the iconic home of free speech. I listened to KPFA almost every day during those years, and I regularly contributed to your fundraising drives, grateful for your objective reporting and humane commentary while I participated in the People’s Park and Vietnam war demonstrations. It was therefore a matter of personal sorrow to me to receive this morning your truly astonishing “justification” for de-platforming me.



Subject: Notification for Richard Dawkins: Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist




Dear Richard Dawkins event ticket buyers,

We regret to inform you that KPFA has canceled our event with Richard Dawkins. We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people. KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier. We also apologize to all those inconvenienced by this cancellation. Your ticket purchases will automatically be refunded by Brown Paper Tickets.

Sincerely,

KPFA Radio 94.1 FM



My memory of KPFA is that you were unusually scrupulous about fact-checking. I especially admired your habit of always quoting sources. You conspicuously did not quote a source when accusing me of “abusive speech”. Why didn’t you check your facts – or at least have the common courtesy to alert me – before summarily cancelling my event? If you had consulted me, or if you had done even rudimentary fact-checking, you would have concluded that I have never used abusive speech against Islam. I have called IslamISM “vile” but surely you, of all people, understand that Islamism is not the same as Islam. I have criticised the ridiculous pseudoscientific claims made by Islamic apologists (“the sun sets in a marsh” etc), and the opposition of Islamic “ scholars” to evolution and other scientific truths. 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.


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?


You say I use “abusive speech” about Islam. I would seriously – I mean it – like to hear what examples of my “abusive speech” you had in mind. When you fail to discover any, I presume you will issue a public apology, which I will of course accept in a spirit of gratitude for what KPFA once was. And could become again.


Yours sincerely,


Richard Dawkins



ORIGINAL CENTER FOR INQUIRY STATEMENT:

The Center for Inquiry was stunned and deeply dismayed by the cancellation of an event with Prof. Richard Dawkins by the radio station KPFA in Berkeley, California. The station alleged without evidence that the world renowned evolutionary biologist had engaged in “abusive speech,” against Islam, a justification that CFI considers absurd. Prof. Dawkins is a renowned, responsible, and thoughtful critic of all religions, who KPFA had previously hosted in 2015, apparently undisturbed by Prof. Dawkins’ criticism of some of the tenets and ideas of Islam, Christianity, and other faiths.

“Richard Dawkins is one of the greatest intellects of our time, with a wealth of wisdom and insight that he looked forward to sharing with his Berkeley audience,” said Robyn Blumner, President and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “For KPFA to suddenly break its commitment to Richard and the hundreds of people who were so looking forward to seeing and hearing him is unconscionable, and the baseless accusation that Richard has engaged in ‘abusive speech’ is a betrayal of the values KPFA has, until now, been known for.”

Prof. Dawkins—whose landmark book The Selfish Gene was just voted the most influential science book of all time in a poll by the Royal Society—was scheduled to speak on August 9 about his newest book, Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist, which KPFA itself called “excellent.” In a message to ticket holders, KPFA claimed the event had been booked when “we didn’t know [Dawkins] had offended and hurt - in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.” They added, “While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech.”

“The idea that I have engaged in abusive speech against Islam is preposterous, which even the most rudimentary fact-checking by KPFA would have made clear,” said Prof. Dawkins. “I have indeed strongly condemned the misogyny, homophobia, and violence of Islamism, of which Muslims — particularly Muslim women — are the prime victims. I make no apologies for denouncing those oppressive cruelties, and I will continue to do so.”

Last year, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science merged with the Center for Inquiry, and Prof. Dawkins joined the CFI board of directors.

“In its forty-one-year history, the Center for Inquiry has fought proudly for human and civil rights, and Richard Dawkins is an invaluable ally for our cause.” said Blumner. “We (including Richard Dawkins himself) strongly opposed President Trump’s misguided and discriminatory Muslim ban. We have been at the forefront of the major civil justice causes of our time, and we have devoted ourselves to countering the outmoded, dogmatic prejudices and misinformation aimed at marginalized groups. It is one of the many reasons why we were proud to be the sole secularist organization invited to join the Know Your Neighbor interfaith coalition, launched in 2015 at the White House.”

“We understand the difference between a people and the beliefs they may hold,” said Blumner, “All of us must be free to debate and criticize Ideas, and harmful ideas must be exposed. It is incredibly disappointing that KPFA does not understand this.”

# # #

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at http://www.centerforinquiry.net.


KPFA Corporatist General Manager Quincy McCoy Attacks Free Speech In Corporatist Decision to Cancel Richard Dawkins Talk
Richard Dawkins event cancelled over his 'abusive speech against Islam’
"KPFA general manager Quincy McCoy said he decided to cancel Dawkins’s appearance when the academic’s statements were brought to his attention.”
“You conspicuously did not quote a source when accusing me of ‘abusive speech’. Why didn’t you check your facts – or at least have the common courtesy to alert me – before summarily cancelling my event?”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jul/24/richard-dawkins-event-cancelled-over-his-abusive-speech-against-islam

Berkeley’s KPFA Radio cancels appearance by evolutionary biologist after learning of his ‘hurtful speech’ against the religion – a charge the author contests
Richard Dawkins.
‘Why is it fine to criticise Christianity but not Islam? … Richard Dawkins. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

3092
Alison Flood
Monday 24 July 2017 07.06 EDT
Richard Dawkins has denied using “abusive speech against Islam” after a California radio station cancelled a book event with the scientist, citing his comments on Islam, which it said had “offended and hurt … so many people”.

Dawkins, whose bestselling study of evolution, The Selfish Gene, was named the most influential science book of all time by the Royal Society last week, was lined up to speak about his memoir A Brief Candle in the Dark at an event hosted by Berkeley’s KPFA Radio in August.But KPFA subsequently informed ticketbuyers that the event had been cancelled. “We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam – so many people. KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech,” said KPFA in an email to ticket buyers, which Dawkins later published on his website. “While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologise for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins’s views much earlier. We also apologise to all those inconvenienced by this cancellation.”

Dawkins, the author of anti-religious polemic The God Delusion, called the decision “truly astonishing”, and a “matter of personal sorrow”. He had listened to KPFA “almost every day” when he lived in Berkeley for two years, he said, and had previously been grateful for its “objective reporting and humane commentary”.

“My memory of KPFA is that you were unusually scrupulous about fact-checking. I especially admired your habit of always quoting sources,” he wrote to KPFA in an open letter he shared on his website. “You conspicuously did not quote a source when accusing me of ‘abusive speech’. Why didn’t you check your facts – or at least have the common courtesy to alert me – before summarily cancelling my event?”

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Dawkins said that he had “never used abusive speech against Islam”, adding that while he has called Islamism “vile”, Islamism is not the same as 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 in his response. “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?”

He called on the radio station to find examples of abuse, and said that when it “fail[ed] to discover any”, he would expect a public apology.

Harvard professor and author Steven Pinker came out in support of Dawkins, writing to KPFA that their decision was “intolerant, ill-reasoned, and ignorant”. “Dawkins is one of the great thinkers of the 20th and 21st century. He has criticised doctrines of Islam, together with doctrines of other religions, but criticism is not ‘abuse’,” said Pinker. “People may get offended and hurt by honest criticism, but that cannot possibly be a justification for censoring the critic, or KPFA would be shut down because of all the people it has hurt and offended over the decades.”

Pinker said that the move “handed a precious gift to the political right, who can say that left-leaning media outlets enforce mindless conformity to narrow dogma, and are no longer capable of thinking through basic intellectual distinctions”.

The Center for Inquiry, which merged with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science last year, and on whose board of directors Dawkins sits, called the cancellation “unconscionable [and] baseless”. KPFA responded to the Center on Twitter and said that it “exercises its free-speech right not to participate with anyone who uses hateful language against a community already under attack”.

KPFA Radio
(@kpfa)
KPFA exercises its free speech right not to participate with anyone who uses hateful language against a community already under attack. https://t.co/nTC1LYQKiG
July 21, 2017
In a report about the cancellation, KPFA said it had been contacted by activists who had described Dawkins as “a very well-known Islamophobe” who had vilified Muslims. The radio station cited tweets from Dawkins including one that read: “I think Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today” and pointed to a recent Telegraph article in which Dawkins was quoted as saying that “if you look at the actual impact that different religions have on the world it’s quite apparent that at present the most evil religion in the world has to be Islam”.

The station did not include the Telegraph quote in its entirety, in which Dawkins continues: “It’s terribly important to modify that because of course that doesn’t mean all Muslims are evil, very far from it. Individual Muslims suffer more from Islam than anyone else.”

KPFA general manager Quincy McCoy said he decided to cancel Dawkins’s appearance when the academic’s statements were brought to his attention.
§KPFA manager Quincy McCoy
by repost Monday Jul 24th, 2017 1:08 PM
mccoy_quincy.jpeg
KPFA manager Quincy McCoy has flagrantly violated a core principle of KFPA of "free speech" without even contacting Professor Richard Dawkins. Apparently McCoy and the management of KPFA believe that this principle really doesn't matter.
by KPFA blog repost
Thursday Jul 27th, 2017 9:58 AM
https://kpfa.org/blog/statement-decision-cancel-richard-dawkins-event/

 

Statement on Cancellation of Richard Dawkins Event

 
07.24.17 - 4:09PM


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.

by Virginia Browning
Friday Jul 28th, 2017 11:07 AM
KPFA and Pacifica are struggling even more than ever, and some from AIPAC and elsewhere are using this to bring it down. Permission has been granted to repost that below, and it expresses my viewpoint better than I could.
"While Richard Dawkins has a First Amendment right to disparage American Muslims and others,
KPFA too has a First Amendment right to choose who it will and won’t feature in various events.
At a time when Islamophobic hate crimes are at an all-time high and we have an administration
which continues to push forward anti-Muslim policies, KPFA made the right choice in deciding
to exclude bigotry and hatred from its event platforms. As an American Muslim, a civil rights attorney,
and a long-time KPFA listener, I am appreciative of their principles, integrity, and courage.
Zahra Billoo
Executive Director
Council on American-Islamic Relations
San Francisco Bay Area Office"