Richard Dawkins: Islam is the most evil religion in the world

Islam is 'the most evil religion in the world', according to evolutionary biologist and atheist standard-bearer Richard Dawkins.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival yesterday, Dawkins stressed that he he opposed all religion. However, he said: 'It's tempting to say all religions are bad, and I do say all religions are bad, but it's a worse temptation to say all religions are equally bad because they're not.'

Richard Dawkins Islam is the most evil religion in the world.  Reuters

According to the Daily Telegraph, he said: '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.

'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.

'They suffer from the homophobia, the misogyny, the joylessness which is preached by extreme Islam, Isis and the Iranian regime.

'So it is a major evil in the world, we do have to combat it, but we don't do what Trump did and say all Muslims should be shut out of the country. That's draconian, that's illiberal, inhumane and wicked. I am against Islam not least because of the unpleasant effects it has on the lives of Muslims.'

Dawkins also said he believed British schoolchildren need to study religious education,

Asked whether RE in schools should be abolished because children could be brainwashed he replied: 'I don't think religious education should be abolished.

'I think that it is an important part of our culture to know about the Bible. After all so much of English literature has allusions to the Bible, if you look up the Oxford English Dictionary you find something like the same number of quotations from the Bible as from Shakespeare.

'It's an important part of our history. So much of European history is dominated by disputes against rival religions and you can't understand history unless you know about the history of the Christian religion and the Crusades and so on.'

Dawkins said: 'I would not abolish religious education, I think I would substitute it for comparative religion and Biblical history and religious history.

'Comparative religion is very valuable, partly because the child learns that there are lots of different religions, not just the one they were brought up with. They learn they are all different and they can't all be right, so maybe none of them are right. Critical thinking is what we need.'

He also said it was 'deeply wicked' and 'evil' to use religion to scare children, by warning them they could end up in 'hell fire'.