Atheist author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins slammed Islam as an "ignominious loser" that "needs to resort to threatening those who leave it in order to survive" amid reports that Norwegians who leave faith live in fear of retaliation from their families and communities.
"What an ignominious loser is a religion that needs to resort to threatening those who leave it in order to survive," the Science in the Soul author tweeted on Tuesday. "They love to talk of 'honour'. Can they really not see how deeply dishonourable that is?"
Dawkins linked to an article from Sputnik News detailing how, during a public discussion in Literature House in Oslo, Norwegian citizens of foreign descent revealed they lived in constant fear of persecution after leaving Islam.
Many of the men, who wore masks to disguise their identity, revealed they secretly broke ties with Islam while in school and remain afraid of what can happen if their families or communities find out they are no longer believers.
"I'm wearing a mask because I have to hide who I am. Otherwise, what I'm going to say will have very serious consequences for me," a man in his early twenties told Norwegian national broadcaster NRK.
Another man revealed that sometimes, Muslim family members will physically punish those who leave the faith.
"It would drag shame over the family. One can get frozen out, threatened. It may even be physical," a Pakistani-Norwegian man said, explaining that his parents blamed Norwegian society and school for "putting ideas into his head."
"Some believe losing one's religion should be punished with the death penalty. We live in Norway, it's 2017. The fact that such things still exist is almost unimaginable," he said.
Labor MP Jan Bøhler explained that while girls in Muslim communities are visibly oppressed, boys are "not kept indoors in the same way," but still have "tight frames for their lives, including arranged marriages with a great deal of pressure."
Dawkins is a frequent critic of Islam, prompting Berkeley's KPFA Radio to drop the famed author from speaking in August due to his "abusive speech" against the Muslim community.
"I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that," Dawkins wrote in an open letter he shared on his website. "Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticize Christianity but not Islam?"
At the time, Dawkins called the decision "truly astonishing" and 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 criticized the appalling misogyny and homophobia of Islam, I have criticized the murdering of apostates for no crime other than their disbelief," he explained. "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."
Despite his opposition to all religions, Dawkins has asserted that all beliefs should be debated in an open and honest public forum. Thus, he regularly takes issue with the liberal media for treating Christianity as a hostile force while refusing to criticize Islam.
"Regressive left turns treacherous, blind eye on misogyny & homophobia because they absurdly think Islam must be 'respected' as a 'race,'" he wrote in 2015.