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Bill Maher's Hatred of Islam Needs to Stop

posted on: Apr 6, 2017

BY: Julia Jahanpour/Contributing Writer

Television comedian Bill Maher has a bad history of criticizing and demonizing Islam and the Arab world. Known for his HBO talk show Real Time With Bill Maher, he portrays a sarcastic, politically incorrect commentator, aiming to bring sanity and liberalism to political discussions. However, he has gone too far in his commentary – again.

In a rant against Islam on his show two weeks ago, Maher clashed with a panel member while discussing the recent terrorist attack in London, which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for.

“Every time some bomb goes off, before it goes off,” Maher said about other terrorist attack, “somebody yells Allahu Akbar. I never hear anybody go ‘Merry Christmas. This one’s for the flying nun.’”

He was pushing the concept that Islam condones, and advocates for, violence and terrorism, and that there aren’t other religious terrorist groups posing as threats, as well. This clearly is a false accusation, as Islam does not promote terrorism, and many violent criminals have acted under the scapegoat of their respective religions.

The crusades, the Ku Klux Klan, Hitler’s self-proclaimed Neo-Christian Nazis, white supremacists, the Jewish Underground, the Jewish Defense League, violent Buddhist Monks, and more are examples of terrorist organizations using violence to carry out the expansion of their religious missions. The American media today, including news satirists and commentators like Maher, shift focus from criticizing terrorism in all forms, to blaming its existence on Islam, when in fact, it has existed for centuries. By definition, American revolutionaries were terrorists, too, but they get praise, while Muslims take blame.

This isn’t the first time Bill Maher has used his fame to demonize Islam. In 2014, Maher had a clash with actor Ben Affleck, making remarks on how Islam is a singular threat to liberalism. The host criticized the religion for being “too similar to ISIS”.  Reza Aslan and Ben Affleck pushed back against Bill Maher, arguing that the religion does not operate under the rules and behaviors of ISIS.

Other statements by Maher regarding Islam and the Muslim world include: “Islam is the mother load of bad ideas”, the Quran is a “hate-filled book” that fuels violence, and that they are the “only religion that operates like the Mafia”.

Bill Maher has been critical of all religion for years and is a proud atheist. He believes that the structure and rules of most mainstream religions are oppressive and anti-liberal. Islam, however, is different in his mind. He sees it as the birthplace for corruption and evil. Something Maher brings up is that there is no such thing as a “moderate Muslim”. He is under the impression that every Muslim is an extremist or barely practices the religion. He says, “Most Muslim people in the world do condone violence”. This statement alone is blatantly untrue. To assume that the majority of any religion, race, nationality, etc. condones violence is bigoted and cannot be based on fact.

Maher also makes generalizations about Arabs, calling them unpleasant to be around. “Talk to women who have ever dated an Arab man. The reviews are not good,” Maher once said on his show. Arab men are not inherently more violent or irrational than men of any other ethnicity. This type of racist rhetoric from Maher creates a false impression of people from the Arab world, and pits Americans against the region.

Many Muslim leaders and activists have spoken out against violence, and have stood up for Islam’s true purpose. These advocates include comedians, government workers, civil leaders, and more. Maher has spoken on the issue, saying he doesn’t see Muslims condemning violence, when they have been vocal about it for years. But the issue isn’t just that the talk show host doesn’t acknowledge their vocalism about the problem – it’s that he treats all Muslims as one entity. He doesn’t group every Christian or person of any religious group together, making the prejudices that much more real.

When someone commits a crime, everyone from their demographic is not held responsible and asked for an apology and public condemnation. This is because people should be capable of disassociating a person from their entire demographic, and understand that everyone has individual actions and agendas.

There have been many guests on Bill Maher’s show who amplify his racist and prejudicial views. Ann Coulter, who has called Arabs “ragheads” on his show, is a longtime friend and fellow supporter of far-right Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Milo Yiannopoulos, former head of Breitbart, and head of the alt-right movement, was greeted with a warm welcome onto the show, as well. Both these, and many other guests, prove the extreme Islamophobia and bigotry represented on the show.

For the last 20 years, Bill Maher has gained a large following, and a Hollywood star of fame, thanks to his bold opinions, critiques of the government, and humor.

Liberals have other choices when it comes to comedians, commentators, and news show outlets. Bill Maher is proud of his lack of censorship and freedom of speech, but the Arab American community is being degraded and demonized based on the false words of one influential man. Freedom of speech is a right, but slander, racism, and Islamophobia are not necessary and only cause unjust harm to Arabs, Muslims, and the American public.