Ian McEwan has insisted that criticising Islam is not racist and blamed left-leaning thinkers for "closing down the debate".
The Booker Prize winner said those who claimed judging Muslims was "de facto" racism were playing a "poisonous argument".
McEwan, 61, the best-selling author of novels including Amsterdam, Atonement and Saturday, thought many in the left wrongly took this position because they had an anti-Americanism shared with Islamists.
In an interview with today's Telegraph Magazine, McEwan said: "Chunks of left-of-centre opinion have tried to close down the debate by saying that if you were to criticise Islam as a thought system you are a de facto racist. That is a poisonous argument.
"They do it on the basis that they see an ally in their particular forms of anti-Americanism," he said.
"So these radical Muslims are the shock-troops for the armchair Left who don't want to examine too closely the rest of the package – the homophobia, the misogyny and so on."...Nailed it, did McE.