Will Dean Obeidallah Tell Us (And The Police) What He Knows About Craig Hicks?


I recently caught Dean Obeidallah making a very serious and entirely false allegation in the direction of Sam Harris. When Dean’s error of judgement was pointed out to him, instead of assuming the role of ‘decent human’ and offering an apology or retraction, he decided to behave like a petulant toddler instead.

February 2016 signalled a year since self-professed atheist Craig Hicks murdered three innocent Muslims in Chapel Hill. Dean decided to mark this occasion by taking to Twitter to bait atheists about it; namely that they are either the same as Hicks, part of the same murderous ideology or that hicks was motivated to kill by some anti-Muslim, ‘new atheist’ animus. Which is odd.


Back in October 2015, Dean discussed this horrific crime on his radio show. Strangely, he thought the best person to assist him with this task was a serial plagiarist and exposed racist. Here is a short clip of that discussion:

As you can hear, Dean clearly states he thinks there is “no link” between Craig Hicks’s deeds and ‘new atheism’. He then goes on to make some confusing noises about this still being a hate crime however. Well, Dean appears to have taken a complete U-Turn regarding what’s to blame as you can see below:





There are many more examples of this, but I think you get the idea.

I would like to ask Dean what new information he has uncovered in the last four months that enables him to draw a direct line of causation between atheism and murder? Or Richard Dawkins for that matter. Can he show how he knows Craig Hicks harboured any anti-Muslim sentiment, or where he promoted any such sentiment from Richard Dawkins (or that such sentiment exists)? Will he be passing this information on to the police? Dean points to Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins as the chief influencers of Hicks’s killing spree, whilst implying that atheists didn’t denounce Hicks’s crimes.

Perhaps Dean is unaware that Sam Harris recorded an entire podcast on these killings where he did just that. Maybe he is also unaware that Richard Dawkins said this on the day after these murders took place:


It’s worth reminding Dean at this point of the initial statement from The investigators with Chapel Hill Police Department:

Our preliminary investigation indicates that the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking

It’s also worth reminding Dean at this point that Craig Hicks is not currently facing any charges related to hate crime. Investigators (as they should) are looking into the possibility that this may be a hate crime, but as it stands, no such charges have been brought against Craig Hicks.

I’ve wrote extensively on the views and potential motivations of Craig Hicks, and as I’ve stated ad nauseam: Hicks may well be guilty of an anti-Muslim hate crime. It’s just that none of the information currently made available to the public suggest that is the case. It is irresponsible to claim otherwise.

In this era of Donald Trump and the emergence of the anti-Muslim far-right, there’s a climate that can be all too ready to demonise Muslims and engage in collective blame. I’d like to ask Dean how his behaviour towards atheists in this regard is any different from the anti-Muslim elements he so vocally opposes.

Perhaps Dean will claim this is all part of his shtick. He is a comedian, allegedly. Maybe he should ask himself whether exploiting the deaths of three innocent Muslims for laughs, or cheap shots at atheists, is the type of funny man he really wants to be.


Being personally incapable of passing up an opportunity to expose some CJ Werleman hypocrisy, I couldn’t help but notice that in the above sound clip, Werleman claims that ‘dehumanising’ people or groups can inspire violent attacks against them. Well:



Quite. Here we have a man referring to atheists as ‘animals’. I’m not quite sure how you can get any more dehumanising than that. It’s worth noting neither Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins or Craig Hicks have ever referred to Muslims in this way. I assume Werleman will be apologising for the number of slain Bangladeshi bloggers any moment now.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


  • Stephen, I always enjoy reading your informative blog and listening to your podcast.

    You had me interested in listening to the referenced podcast until I saw “CJ Werleman”. I recoiled with nausea. Did Mr. O, the tool he has proven to be, actually believe that this guest lends credibility to whatever point he is trying to make?

    Furthermore, I can’t believe that Sam Harris and others give Mr. O any time or attention, on Twitter or wherever, to attempting correct his blatant lies and obfuscations.

  • I re-read some of the articles from last year about this horrific crime. It appears that the question of Hicks motive was considered so important that the FBI started a separate investigation to find out whether this was a hate crime or not.

    It would be really great to find out if they have reached a conclusion on that investigation. I could not find anything with google.

  • If the FBI concluded this was not a hate crime, you’d still have people claiming this as anti-Muslim bigotry…on the part of the FBI.

  • Funny — I once got into a minor tussle with Dean on Twitter, and he mentioned Craig Hicks…I didn’t even know who the fuck this guy was.

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