Tags: ben affleck | bill maher | islam | debate

Ben Affleck, Bill Maher Squabble Over Conflicting Views of Islam

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 01:58 PM

Bill Maher was reluctant to comment on the argument he had with actor Ben Affleck on Friday's episode of "Real Time," but did say Saturday that "the people who are arguing with us are not listening."

Maher, a longtime critic of organized religion, argued during his HBO show that Affleck and other left-wingers were doing a disservice to women, gays, and religious minorities in the Middle East by refusing to criticize Islam under any circumstances.

During a subsequent interview with liberal website Salon.com, Maher spoke of other panelists on the show like journalist Nicholas Kristof and author Sam Harris who were comfortable talking about Muslims' many failures to respect civil, religious, and human rights.

"I think Sam and I and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie and everyone who is basically making the same point, I think we all feel frustrated because I think we feel like the people who are arguing with us are not listening," he said, alluding to Affleck and the majority of liberals.

"We are not bigoted people. On the contrary, we’re trying to stand up for the principles of liberalism! And so, y’know, I think we’re just saying we need to identify illiberalism wherever we find it in the world, and not forgive it because it comes from [a group] people perceive as a minority."

During Friday's show, Affleck seemed opposed to speaking ill of any aspect of Islam, as it has the potential to stereotype.

"Hold on — are you the person who officially understands the codified doctrine of Islam?" he shouted at Maher and Harris.

"It’s gross and racist. It’s like saying, 'Oh, you shifty Jew!' Your argument is, 'You know, black people, they shoot each other' . . . How about more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punch women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day, and don’t do any of the things you’re saying of all Muslims. It’s stereotyping."

Harris argued that "every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people. That is intellectually ridiculous."

After the spat, Maher seemed to lump Affleck in with the majority of liberals, who are by and large reluctant to criticize any aspect of Islam or Sharia law. He painted his informed criticism of the Islam world's track record as an important minority viewpoint among the left that seeks to defend persecuted women, gays, and religious minorities.

"I’m proud to be a liberal, I think liberal principles have always been what I’ve stood up for, but I don’t really need the affirmation of an entire community and I certainly don’t need to agree with the majority of liberals on everything," he concluded.

On Monday, Bill O’Reilly endorsed Maher and Harris' general sentiment about the need to hold Islam and supporters of Sharia to account.

"Criticism of Islam’s role on the world stage is certainly valid," the Fox host said, according to Politico. "The Muslim world needs to take a hard look at itself."

Catholic League president Bill Donohue said Tuesday on Newsmax TV that Ben Affleck is in essence a hypocrite because he starred in the anti-Catholic film "Dogma," which the actor later said was meant to push the buttons of religious persons in the West.

"He's not going to push the buttons of Muslims, just Catholics," said Donohue.





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Bill Maher was reluctant to comment on the argument he had with actor Ben Affleck on Friday's episode of "Real Time," but did say Saturday that "the people who are arguing with us are not listening."
ben affleck, bill maher, islam, debate
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2014-58-07
Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 01:58 PM
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