"HORRIFIED anyone thinks I could POSSIBLY liken Ahmed to a killer," Dawkins said in a tweet
Wednesday. "My ONLY point of comparison was their AGES: kids not immune to criticism."
Dawkins, a leading voice in the atheist movement, was reacting to news that the Mohamed family was demanding $15 million in damages and an apology from city and school officials
in Irving, Texas, over their treatment of the teen.
In September, the 14-year-old, who is Muslim, was detained, questioned and hauled off in handcuffs
after bringing a handmade clock to school, which a teacher thought could have been a bomb.
"Don't call him 'clock boy' since he never made a clock. Hoax Boy, having hoaxed his way into the White House, now wants $15M in addition!" Dawkins tweeted Tuesday.
The evolutionary biologist has been vocal in his belief that the case -- which made Ahmed a cause célèbre, prompted the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed to trend, and led to a personal invitation to the White House
from President Barack Obama -- was a "hoax."
He has repeatedly insisted that Ahmed did not make a clock but rather "took a clock out of its case and put it in a box," and has questioned the teen's motives in doing so.
'Picking on a kid'
When Twitter users chided the 74-year-old scientist for "picking on a kid," he responded by tweeting a link to a news story about a child ISIS killer.
"'But he's only a kid.' Yes, a 'kid' old enough to sue for $15M those whom he hoaxed. And how old is this 'kid'?" tweeted Dawkins, linking to a story about a young ISIS killer beheading a victim.
The tweet provoked an even greater backlash.
"Richard Dawkins, analogizing a kid who modded a clock in a way he found insufficiently inventive to a child executioner," tweeted Angus Johnston.
"Am I missing your point?" tweeted Lisajane Ellis. "Because there's no comparison between deception and murder. Disappointed."
"I used to look up to you. Your books opened my mind (when) I was a kid. Now you're doing sloppy reactionary thinking; saddens me," tweeted Renee Stephen.
Charges of anti-Muslim bias
Many accused Dawkins, an outspoken critic of Islam, of having an anti-Muslim bias for drawing the comparison.
"And it's just a mere coincidence that they're both Muslim? C'mon Richard, surely you can see how this looks?" tweeted Aaron San Filippo.
"Why do you hate Mu(s)lims Mr. Dawkins?" tweeted @boringfileclerk. "For some who upholds reason above all, I find your tweets disturbing."
Dawkins responded by tweeting that two individuals' "young AGES are being compared, nothing else," and that his point was that "simply that being a 'kid' doesn't protect you from criticism."
He later mused that perhaps a comparison to the killers of James Bulger, a 2-year-old British boy
who was abducted, tortured and murdered by two 10-year-olds in 1993, "would have been a better example."
The response to his comparison, he tweeted, reminded him of when he had said, "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to condemn Nazism." "The numpties (fools) thought I was accusing Muslims of being Nazis!" he wrote.
At the time of publication, Ahmed had not responded to a CNN request for comment on Dawkins' remarks and had not commented via his verified Twitter account