Richard Dawkins makes scathing remarks about religion after Charlie Hebdo attack

(CREDIT: REUTERS/ANDREW WINNING)The former Archbishop of Cantebury Rowan Williams (R) and atheist scholar Richard Dawkins outside Clarendon House at Oxford University before their debate in the Sheldonian theatre in Oxford, central England, February 23, 2012, on "The Nature of Human Beings and the Question of their Ultimate Origin".

English author, biologist, and noted New atheist Richard Dawkins took to Twitter on Wednesday to comment on the attack on the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo that claimed 12 lives.

Dawkins, whose controversial tweets regarding religion, sexism, or abortion have previously made headlines, wrote of the Paris attackers, "They shouted 'We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad' ... Some useful idiot will claim it had nothing to do with religion."

The God Delusion author also called Islam "violent" in a subsequent tweet that reads, "No, all religions are NOT equally violent. Some have never been violent, some gave it up centuries ago. One religion conspicuously didn't."

On Thursday, Dawkins hit Twitter again to add to his previous remarks. He posted, "Of COURSE most Muslims are peaceful. But if someone's killed for what they drew or said or wrote, you KNOW the religion of the killers."

His scathing remarks came on the same day three masked gunmen launched a devastating attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo.  The gunmen reportedly picked off their victims from a hitlist and shouted "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad" and "God is Great" in Arabic ("Allahu Akbar") as they carried out the attack. 

Among those who were slain were four of the weekly's celebrated cartoonists, as well as its editor. Two police officers were also killed.

Charlie Hebdo has a history of scurrilously mocking political and religious figures, but its shameless jibes have also got the publication into trouble in the past and members of the staff had been subject to threats from extremists prior to Wednesday's attack. In 2011, its offices were firebombed after it published an issue that was "guest edited" by the Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims around the world have condemned the horrifying incident, which French President Francois Hollande  called "cowardly".

According to the New Yorker, the Muslim Council of France issued a statement just hours after the shootings, calling the act "extremely barbaric" and an "attack against democracy and the freedom of the press".

The Muslim Council of Britain also said, "Whomever the attackers are, and whatever the cause may be, nothing justifies the taking of life."

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