HBO’s Bill Maher battled the liberals on his “Real Time” panel Friday night, arguing that the Islamic religion tends to influence horrific acts of violence and has become the “elephant in the room.” The panel landed on the topic while discussing the radical Islamic group Boko Haram and its decision to enter the business of kidnapping young girls.
“There’s no mention here of connecting this to the religion, which is always what I am seeking to do because I think that’s the elephant in the room,” Maher said. “And that in the religion at large, women are seen as property, second-class at best, often as property.”
Reason’s Matt Welch claimed the kidnappers’ ties to Islam are being highlighted in the media, but also agreed that the religion “is providing a disproportionate share of radical nut bags killing people.”
Huffington Post President Arianna Huffington and comedian Baratunde Thurston both warned Maher against condemning the entire religion because of the behavior of radicals. Thurston also claimed that Islam doesn’t have a “monopoly” on extremism.
“Kind of they do,” Maher said. “Not a monopoly, but perspective is important. … It’s the Titanic hitting the iceberg compared to Whitney Houston dying in her bathtub.”
When Thurston reminded the panel that Christians also commit acts of violence, Maher again brought up the importance of context and perspective.
“If this was the 14th century, I would be coming down on the Christians because that’s when they were too violent,” Maher said. “Religions and cultures change.”
Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza chimed in, claiming that most modern day terrorist attacks have some ties to Islam. He joked that you don’t see a lot of “Buddhist suicide bombers.”
Maher also noted that one poll indicated that “something like 80 or 90 percent” of Muslims in Egypt agree that death is the appropriate penalty for leaving the religion of Islam.
“If 84 percent of Brazilians thought that death was the proper penalty for leaving Catholicism, wouldn’t that be a bigger story?” Maher asked.
Responding to Maher’s points, Huffington said it is “dangerous” when people try to stereotype all Muslims as terrorists, even though neither Maher or D’Souza made that claim.
“Where it becomes dangerous is that liberals like yourself do not stand up for liberalism. Liberalism means, one, mostly, equality of women,” Maher replied.
Later in the segment, it was actually D’Souza and Maher battling Huffington and Thurston — which is not an alliance anyone could have ever predicted.
Watch the entire tense segment below: