On HBO’s “Real Time” on Friday night, host Bill Maher entertained CSU-San Bernardino professor Brian Levin, director of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, who maintained that despite the events in recent days, religious extremism isn’t only a product of Islam.
But Maher took issue with that claim, calling it “liberal bullshit” and said there was no comparison.
“You know what, yeah, yeah,” Maher said. “You know what — that’s liberal bullshit right there … they’re not as dangerous. I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So you know, I’m just saying let’s keep it real.”
I am not an Islamophobe, and I am friendly with plenty of perfectly peaceful and wonderful Muslims. I don’t believe in tarring an entire religion, or all its followers, with the actions of a crazed segment of its adherents. And other religions have had histories of extreme violence.
That said, Maher is right, today: there’s only one faith that kills you for cartoons. It can’t be against our moral code to tell the truth about this. You can’t fix a problem until you acknowledge it. And the extremist faction of this religion is a real problem, and we all need to confront it.
Maher is a rank asshole much of the time, but it’s nice when he is forthright about issues like this.