Prominent atheist author Richard Dawkins recently criticized a bill being debated by the Quebec Parliament in Canada that would make online "hate speech" against Islam illegal, calling it "blind and pathetic groveling to the Islamist lobby."
"Quebec Blasphemy Law. As ignominious as 'useful idiots' get. Blind and pathetic grovelling to the Islamist lobby," Dawkins said in a Twitter message on Monday.
The "God Delusion" author also shared a link to a Town Hall article titled "Quebec's Proposed Imposition of Blasphemy Laws Will Affect Us All." The news story explains that the legislation, known as Bill 59, would allow Quebec Human Rights Commission powers to target Internet "hate speech," even without a complaint being filed.
The story quotes QHRC Head Jacques Frémont, who noted that if made into law, the bill would grant the group the power to "sue those critical of certain ideas, 'people who would write against ... the Islamic religion ... on a website or on a Facebook page" as well as implement fines of up to $10,000.
Town Hall journalist Kyle Shideler warns, "The effort to ban so-called criticism of Islam is not limited to Canada, and if the QHRC is successful in its gambit, similar efforts are guaranteed to spring up elsewhere, including in the United States."
He continues, "For this reason free speech defenders, not just in Canada but also around the world, should rightly be concerned, and raise their voices in opposition to Quebec's proposed bill and similar restrictions wherever they are proposed."
Among other religions, Dawkins frequently addresses Islam on his social media pages. In April, he took to Twitter to explain that while Islam continues to uphold antiquated, violent punishments and preach about world domination, Christianity and Judaism have distanced themselves from such "Middle Ages" teachings.
"Laws designed for 7th-Century tribal desert society are not always well suited to modern conditions. Jews & Christians mostly realise this," Dawkins wrote.
"Yes, Christianity & Judaism are every bit as stupid as Islam. But they don't preach world domination, theocratically imposed law, stoning, etc.," he added in a follow-up post. "And yes, Christianity and Judaism USED TO preach equally terrible things. But we live NOW, not in the Middle Ages. That's kind of relevant."
Dawkins is also no stranger to censorship; in February, Block Bot, a program that hides people on Twitter deemed to be offensive or abusive, placed him on its list for his repeated 'racist' comments.
At the time, the 'Selfish Gene' author explained that while he doesn't object to being blocked, he takes offense at being 'libelled.'
"I have no objection to being blocked. Please block me if you wish. What I object to is being libelled, and linked with spammers and harassers," Dawkins said in response.
"People are confusing the act of blocking, with libelling those blocked. Blocking is fine. Block me and I won't miss you. Libelling is not," he added.