If you want the progressive point of view on the dangers of radical Islam, ask a liberal.
Just don’t ask more than one.
Actor Ben Affleck made things pretty tense when he recently joined Bill Maher’s panel on HBO’s “Real Time.”
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, best-selling author Sam Harris, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele engaged in the debate, but Affleck seemed to be the most riled.
Harris sparked the argument saying every criticism of the doctrine of Islam does not equate to personal bigotry toward Muslims,
“We have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people,” he said. “It’s intellectually ridiculous.”
Affleck took immediate offense.
“It’s gross . . . it’s racist,” he said. “It’s like saying ‘you’re a shifty Jew.'”
After making Affleck concede that “we have to be able to criticize bad ideas,” Harris made his point by saying “Islam is the motherload of bad ideas.”
Who can argue with that?
“Thats an ugly thing to say,” Affleck said, fully exasperated.
Agreeing with Steele that good Muslims are afraid to speak out, Maher said, “It’s the only religion that acts like the mafia. They will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, paint the wrong picture or write the wrong book.”
But Affleck continued to boil.
“What is your solution?” he exploded to Maher. “We’ve killed more Muslims than they’ve killed us. We’ve invaded more Muslim countries . . . ”
And so came the blame America, anti-war speech followed by this:
“Your argument is, ‘You know, black people, they shoot each other,’” said Affleck.
To his credit, Maher stood his ground.
“I can show you a Pew Poll of Egyptians, they are not outliers in the Muslim world that say like 90 percent of them believe that death is the appropriate response to leaving the religion,” Maher said. “If 90 percent of Brazilians thought death was the appropriate response to leaving Catholicism, you would think it was a bigger deal.”
Maher ended the argument by agreeing to disagree, but he punctuated by saying, “This is based on reality, Ben, we’re not making it up!”
It’s worth the price of admission to hear Maher sound like the rational person in an argument. That happens next to never.
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