Is one of America's most outspoken atheist critics of Islam just doing it for the applause?
CNN's Fareed Zakaria and HBO's Bill Maher faced off on Maher's show "Real Time" Friday night when Maher reiterated his criticism that “Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas.”
Zakaria's take: Maher is pandering to a Western audience and “getting applause lines” — but not actually doing any good.
"The reality is, you're not changing those people, you're not changing the average Egyptian," Zakaria said, referring to rank-and-file Muslims across the world who would simply be insulted by Maher's criticism of Islam.
Things took a strange turn when conservative columnist Ross Douthat seemed to agree with Zakaria, making the case that people like the Boston bomber and the Charlie Hebdo killers are social malcontents who would cling to any cause that allows them to sow havoc, Islamic or not.
When Maher pressed the main issue — do hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world actually believe in the violence preached by groups like the Islamic State? — Zakaria dodged by saying the global terrorism would be a lot worse if Muslims really believed such things.
Watch the debate below:
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