'Pathetic': Richard Dawkins in extraordinary outburst against Islam
GETTY Professor Richard Dawkins has launched a fresh attack on Islamic belief
The furious academic walked out of an interview when a Muslim journalist confirmed he personally believed the prophet Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse.
Dawkins, 74, author of best-seller The God Delusion, told the New Statesmen's Emad Ahmed that his belief was "pathetic" before angrily storming off.
Ridiculing belief in a winged horse is not bigotry, not Islamophobia, not racism. It's sober, decent, gentle, scientific realism
Professor Richard Dawkins
A shocked Ahmed said: "Dawkins is outspoken about religion, particularly Islam, so I was genuinely stunned when he decided to angrily walk away from our interview after I confirmed my beliefs in the revelations of the Islamic faith, calling my views "pathetic".
But the evolutionary biologist took to Twitter to defend his latest outburst.
He said: "I left when he said Muhammad rode a winged horse. A non-timewasting journalist needs at least SOME grasp of reality."
He added: "Ridiculing belief in a winged horse is not "bigotry", not "Islamophobia", not "racism". It's sober, decent, gentle, scientific realism."
The 74-year-old went on: "If you believe you're Napoleon or a poached egg, you're in an asylum.
"If you believe in winged horses you're a New Statesman journalist."
GETTY Richard Dawkins has defended his comments about Islam
TWITTER Richard Dawkins has defended his comments on Twitter
The attack on Islamic belief is the latest in a long line by Dawkins. Last month he said Islamic culture could "go to hell" on a live TV chat show in the United States when referring to some practices in Islam, such as women being made to wear burkhas.
Nor is it is not the first time Dawkins has attacked the belief in the ascension of Muhammad.
In an interview with Al Jazeera journalist Mehdi Hasan, filmed at the Oxford Union in 2012 - - Dawkins mocked the host telling him his belief was "anti-scientific and wrong".
The Qur'an briefly refers to the Isra and Miraj, two parts of a night journey Muhammad took during a single night in the year 621.
The "physical and spiritual journey" sees the Islamic prophet travel on the steed Buraq to the "furthest mosque" where he leads other prophets in prayer.
He then ascends to heaven in the Miraj journey where he speaks to God, who gives instructions to take back to the faithful.
Dawkins - who was once named the world's leading thinker by Prospect Magazine - has been equally critical of other religions.
He has described Judaism as a "tribal cult of a single fiercely unpleasant God, morbidly obsessed with sexual restrictions".
And he once claimed that being raised a Catholic and taught to fear hellfire is "worse than child abuse."
Just today he Tweeted: "Culturally the UK is a Christian country. But schools should teach comparative religion and atheism. They should NEVER indoctrinate."