Political talk show host Bill Maher took to his HBO show to battle liberals, arguing that Islam tends to incite acts of violence and that liberals tend to overlook the larger problem.
On his show “Real Time,” Mr. Maher and his panelists began to discuss the recent kidnappings of hundreds of Nigerian girls by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram.
“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,” Bill Maher said. “And that in the religion at large, women are seen as property, second-class at best, often property.”
Mr. Maher went on to argue that liberals who chalk the incidences up to small groups of radical “bad apples” are not standing up for liberal principles, a major part of which is equality for women.
At one point in the segment, Huffington Post President Arianna Huffington argued that it is “dangerous” for people to stereotype all Muslims as terrorists.
“Where it becomes dangerous is that liberals like yourself do not stand up for liberalism. Liberalism means, one, mostly, equality of women,” Mr. Maher responded.
Matt Welch, editor in Chief of Reason.com, said the Boko Haram 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.”
However, Ms. Huffington and comedian Baratunde Thurston both continued to argue that the religion as a whole should not be condemned because of a few radicals.
Mr. Thurston said Islam does not have a “monopoly” on extremism, but Mr. Maher disagreed.
“Kind of they do,” Mr. Maher said. “Not a monopoly, but perspective is important,” he continued, “It’s like the Titanic hitting the iceberg compared to Whitney Houston dying in her bathtub.”
Mr. Thurston pointed out that radical Christians also commit acts of violence, but Mr. Maher again pointed out that the argument must be put in to perspective.
“It this was the 14th century, I would be coming down on the Christians because that’s when they were too violent,” he said. “Religions and cultures change.”
He said one poll suggested that “something like 80 or 90 percent” of Muslims in Egypt agree that death is the appropriate penalty for leaving Islam.
“If 84 percent of Brazilians thought that death was the proper penalty for leaving Catholicism, wouldn’t that be a bigger story?” the host asked.