In the wake of the shootings in Orlando a week ago, many are looking for answers. Most of the answers being offered up, like the “evil” of guns, or hatred of homosexuals, strike many as too simple. But who will risk the public condemnation that comes from voicing the truth?
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Bill Maher, that’s who. Maher is not shy about his opinions. That’s what’s put him where he is. And he’s voiced his concerns about Islam’s role in global terrorism frequently. He sees Islam, at least how it is practiced in much of the world, in conflict with the western world.
In Friday night’s edition of Real Time with Bill Maher, he again spoke out about his views. This was his first first show since the Pulse nightclub shooting. Omar Mateen, the shooter who was killed in the shooting, was Muslim and had pledged his allegiance to ISIS.
Instead of harping on the easy targets, Maher went straight to the point and placed blame for the massacre on Islam itself.
“Yes, the ‘God Hates Fags’ people show up with placards and posters and they’re despicable, but they don’t show up with guns and bombs. That’s just the world as it is today,” said Maher. “The answer is not to ban Muslims, however. The answer is to ask more of Muslims.”
This didn’t sit that well with some of Maher’s guests, who tried to distance them selves by saying the ISIS link wasn’t tangible, and that Mateen seems to have had issues with being a closeted homosexual who suffered from obvious mental illness.
But Maher wasn’t having any of that.
“This is the American myopia: say ‘Muslim’ and they think of the 3 million Muslims in America—who by the way are the lucky ones, because they can come out of the closet, or they can elope with someone who’s not of their faith, or they can leave the religion, or they can draw a cartoon without getting killed. This is not the case for so many millions of Muslims around the world. Where are the liberals to stand up for them? The people who could not abide apartheid for one second, somehow, when it comes to gender apartheid—which is in so many countries around the world—they are not to be heard. It is a liberal cause, or it should be.”
Yes. Where is the liberal support? Are they afraid to challenge a religious ideology the same way they would confront state-sponsored oppression?
“There are millions and millions of Muslims who are gay around the world who have no one to stand up for them, and I didn’t hear any of it this week. None of it this week. In ten Muslim countries, you get the death penalty for just being gay. Could we have a little perspective on this issue? Size matters!”
Simply being gay carries the death penalty in the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Sudan, and Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia.
Maher is calling out a much larger issue. This goes way beyond the ideologies of what many try to dismiss by using adjectives like “extreme” in front of a religious identity.
“Of course it’s wrong when any Muslim-American is given a dirty look, asked extra questions, but it’s not the same as people getting shot. We have to put things into perspective,” said Maher.
When some in the conversation pointed out that there are a bunch of white males responsible for terrorist attacks in the U.S., Maher fought back.
“There are bad people and bad ideas,” said Maher. “No one is saying that the only bad things happen in the Muslim world. I am saying that you have to go where the preponderance of it is, and there’s no doubt that most of it happens in this sphere—in the name of this religion.”