On eve of University of California honor, Bill Maher defends anti-Muslim hate speech in Vanity Fair interview

US Politics
on 111 Comments

This weekend, UC-Berkeley honors its graduates and Bill Maher’s Anti-Muslimism, together.

Unlike Harris-Maher-Affleck-Gate, a very peculiar comment from Bill Maher recently flew completely under the journo radar.  Sally Kohn of Vanity Fair said to him:

“The religious scholar Karen Armstrong did an interview with Salon and talked about what you and Sam Harris said. And she said that your comments fill her with despair because this is ‘the sort of talk that led to the concentrations camps in Europe. The sorts of things that people were saying about Jews in the 30s and 40s.’ That’s gotta sting, especially coming from her.”

To which he replied:

“It doesn’t sting because it’s beyond stupid. Jews weren’t oppressing anybody. There weren’t 5,000 militant Jewish groups. They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that the Jews were at the bottom of it. There weren’t 10 Jewish countries in the world that were putting gay people to death just for being gay. It’s idiotic.”

Here, we see that Maher disagreed with the comparison between American Muslims in concentration camps and European Jews in concentration camps by listing off “reasons” for why the latter did not deserve it (and the former would?).  The big fat realization staring us all right in the face is…did Bill Maher just justify the mass murder of American Muslims?  What the hell did he just say?

Bringing the Debate to You

Let’s go through this again, for the sake of clarity.  The scholar Karen Armstrong says she is fearful that if anti-Muslim bigotry (like Maher’s) persists in this country, one day American citizens will get targeted based on whatever classifies as “Muslim”, will get illegally picked up one by one, and will get forcefully placed in 21st century concentration camps where a Muslim Holocaust may or may not be happening.  Instead of laughing her off as hyperbolic or the idea off as preposterous (which I thought was going to follow after his “it’s beyond stupid”), or instead of giving liberal assurances to assuage such fears, Bill Maher instinctually accepts the notion of a Muslim genocide in America and proceeds to contextualize it by blaming Muslims themselves.  Armstrong validated.

According to Maher’s response, the entire spectrum of American Muslims then are at fault for matters outside of their control, involving people that they’ve never met.  For actions that they don’t condone, by subcultures that are different from their own.  For mentalities that they don’t share, by groups whose names they can’t even pronounce.  All because they happen to fall under the same category of religious identity.  This is extreme bigotry against a people that Maher has been able to professionally masquerade as rational critique against a religion…a maneuver only popular, self-identified “liberals” can get away with if they keep saying the words “free speech” louder than others are saying “hate speech”.

In the same interview, Maher proudly claimed “way more people came over to my side” after the exchange with Ben Affleck.  He’s right.  And he loved that racists, homophobes, illegal Mexican blamers, Anti-Semites, climate-change-denying crackpots, White-supremacist nut jobs, and all the other groups of people that he’s been ridiculing for decades jumped the fence and hi-fived him on this one.  This is where they join forces, where their bigotry circles intersect to form that Anti-Muslim vesica piscis in the middle, where they’re brothers in discrimination.  After all, Sean Hannity praised him.  Yeah…take a moment if you need to.

Maher claims he has “two” “Muslim” “friends” but after all he’s spewed about Muslims over the years, we don’t really know what that means.  Maybe they enjoy his impossible ignorance, gross generalizations, warmongering, misinformation, and chronic out-of-context taking.  In the interview, he made it a point to say that Reza Aslan considers him a friend instead of the other way around, despite Aslan trying to publicly make a case for Maher not being a bigot.  My guess is he didn’t make the cut as the third official Muslim friend because he doesn’t do the whole former-Muslim-pet-for-Islamophobes song and dance that Maher loves to spotlight.  Makes you think about his “two” “Muslim” “friends” and if Maher would intervene on their behalf in the American Muslim Holocaust.

Congratulations UC-Berkeley, this Saturday, December 20, you’ll be on the wrong side of history.

About Jahan-Zaib H. Gilani

Jahan-Zaib H. Gilani is from Central Jersey, is the founder of Excelsior Diagnostic Laboratories and Recreational Sports Leagues, and has just started freelance writing with this article. You can follow him on Twitter @Jahan__Zaib.

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111 Responses

  1. Marshall
    December 19, 2014, 2:25 pm

    Great piece! Nothing is more hilariously self-refuting than proud assertions of the superiority of western, secular “culture” over Islam.

  2. Annie Robbins
    December 19, 2014, 2:39 pm

    thank you Jahan-Zaib H. Gilani

  3. Bill in Maryland
    December 19, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Excellent piece- thank you Jahan-Zaib!

  4. Giles
    December 19, 2014, 3:00 pm

    How can a reasonably intelligent person be so blind to his irrational hatred of the “other”? These Zionists are psychopaths and very dangerous

    • ivri
      December 19, 2014, 3:17 pm

      Well, that`s very subjective. I think to most people replacing Zionists by Jihadist would make this statement more sensible

      • Annie Robbins
        December 19, 2014, 4:00 pm

        I think to most people replacing Zionists by Jihadist would make this statement more sensible

        Well, that`s very subjective.

      • oldgeezer
        December 19, 2014, 4:13 pm

        I tend to agree ivri but the reality is that might make that statement more sensible as the daily abuse and murders by the zionists controlled GoI are not covered in the mainstream press. For all of the zionist complaints about coverage that does occur the full reality is not conveyed in western media.

        Count your lucky stars.

      • Giles
        December 19, 2014, 6:06 pm

        Many people may think that way but its pure baloney.

        Muslims don’t hate Jews.

        All people, all Palestinians — Muslim and Christian alike — don’t like being oppressed, starved, murdered, thrown out of their homes and off of their land, called savages and terrorists. And many do hate those who do this to them.

        On the other hand, many Jews and increasingly as Israel imports its Islamophobia into America and Europe, have a hatred of Arabs and Muslims along with a belief in their innate superiority over Arabs and Muslims.

        Israel would not be a major problem if “Americans” loyal to Israel had not accrued such power in the USA. But they have. We need to free Palestine to free ourselves

      • Mooser
        December 19, 2014, 6:12 pm

        “Well, that`s very subjective.”

        Sure, “ivri”, I know Like the headline from the balanced news source: “On Shape of Earth, Opinions Differ”

      • eljay
        December 20, 2014, 10:05 pm

        >> ivreee: I think to most people replacing Zionists by Jihadist would make this statement more sensible

        It would create a new statement, but it would not invalidate the original statement.

  5. In2u
    December 19, 2014, 3:23 pm

    Most people in UK find Bill Maher repulsive. We can’t understand how Americans put up with him, sort of like G W Bush, how on earth did they vote him in twice?!

  6. Oscar
    December 19, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Awesome article. Welcome to Mondoweiss, you’ve got a great style and compelling narrative.

  7. gracie fr
    December 19, 2014, 3:55 pm

    What is Zionism? Zionism is the idea that the Jews have a homeland in historic Palestine, in the ancient land of Canaan. That’s spiritual Zionism. Practical political Zionism means that the Jews have more right to be on this land, and then they must be a Jewish majority on this land. How do you do that in a place that was never empty, in a place that, first of all, was already home to competing national movements, that was already engaged in very rich and ancient culture, both from the Ottoman Empire and the Arab invasions, and was–this place is the crossroads of human migration. How do you come to this place, which is in the middle, between Asia, Europe, and Africa, and you say, no more, here’s our walls, and we’re building a wall with Syria and Lebanon and Jordan and Egypt, and no one but Jews can get in? As I’m sure you know, there’s no immigration to Israel unless you’re a Jew. You can’t immigrate, you can’t come in. It’s a state for Jews and only Jews, and we will eventually get rid of anyone who is not a Jew. That is political Zionism today. ……………………….

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12867

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12858

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12846

    • MHughes976
      December 19, 2014, 5:39 pm

      I think that Zionism is the belief that Jewish people, and they only, have an inherent right, now commonly called a birthright, to be enfranchised voters in a democratic Holy Land – others to share that right only by the grace and generosity of the true heirs. Only on this understanding could what has occurred be justified. The belief that ‘Jews have a homeland’ in Palestine is not a comparatively acceptable one: this was the idea invoked by Brandeis to explain why Mandate Palestine was not held in trust for the existing inhabitants. More important, the idea of a homeland, even a spiritual one, implies – as Brandeis was surely very well aware – full-scale political Zionism: the Holy Land cannot be a homeland or a safe haven for everyone Jewish if there is not either a Jewish majority or guaranteed power for a Jewish minority. An enfranchised majority which is not of group X could not, anywhere or in any circumstances, offer unlimited guarantees of entry and citizenship to those not of group X, ie make it possible at any time for the political balance of their country to be changed, even transformed, by the decisions of outsiders.

    • RoHa
      December 19, 2014, 7:16 pm

      “the idea that the Jews have a homeland in historic Palestine”

      I find it difficult to even make sense of this idea.

      “The Jews” implies “all Jews”.

      “Homeland” in this context clearly does not imply “the land where one has one’s home, or the land of one’s birth, or the land of one’s citizenship”. Jews have homes, etc., in a wide variety of countries.

      Does “homeland” mean “the land of one’s distant ancestors”?

      But why pick that one? For all of us, somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa is the land of our very distant ancestors. (On common theories of human evolution.) For many Europeans, some part of Eastern Ukraine and Souther Russia seems to have been the land of our rude Indo-European forefathers. And later that same tract became the land of some but not all the Jews.

      And what is the big deal about “the land of one’s distant ancestors”? Most of our ancestors are dead and long forgotten. (Good thing, too, considering what some them got up to.) How is that relevant to decisions we make here and now?

      Is the idea, then, that Palestine is, allegedly, where the Jewish religion originated, and Jews first began to think of themselves as a distinct religious/socio-cultural/hobby group? That seems to fit the “homeland” rhetoric a bit better.

      But then, of course, we notice that Palestine is, allegedly, where the Christian religion originated. Can we not, then, say “the Christians have a homeland in historic Palestine”?

      What is being claimed by “the Jews have a homeland in historic Palestine”?

      What normative force is that claim supposed to have?

      Why is it supposed to have that force?

      • Mooser
        December 20, 2014, 8:16 pm

        For God’s sake, RoHa, shibboleths don’t have to make sense, they just have to work when they are called upon. And as shibboleths go, those are some of the best.

  8. Annie Robbins
    December 19, 2014, 4:04 pm

    norm, please review the comment policy (#1). you can get banned for hate speech here.

  9. David Samel
    December 19, 2014, 4:28 pm

    Sorry, but I disagree. Let me say at the outset that I detest the inexcusable Islamophobia expressed by people like Maher, Harris, and Dawkins, and think it truly is dangerous and potentially threatening to Muslims both here and abroad. However, I do think it is unfair to infer that Maher endorses or would have no problem with genocide of Muslims because of the way he phrased his answer here. He was not offering a comprehensive rebuttal to Armstrong’s concerns, and said the first thing that came into his mind, which is that Muslims are worse than Jews. He did not imply that because of their religion’s supposed inherent evil, Muslims should be treated as Jews were during the Holocaust. I’m fairly satisfied that he didn’t add such a disclaimer because he did not think of it. Maher has a big platform and never shies from expressing his views. Is there any reason to believe that he secretly hopes Muslims will be herded into camps but has shied away from saying so, only to have his true feelings revealed in his poorly thought-out extemporaneous answer to this question?

    I find it uncomfortable to defend Maher on this, as his public pronouncements on this issue are indeed racist, ignorant, and deserving of condemnation. Ben Affleck barely scratched the surface of Maher’s and Harris’s phony claim to moral superiority of their civilizations. In fact, their brand of Islamophobic atheism might very well contribute to a climate in which Muslims are dehumanized and their deaths at the hands of more enlightened forces (yay us!) deemed less tragic. But I don’t think it does any good to accuse Maher of implying something he did not say and, in my opinion, did not mean, and make a charge he can easily refute.

    • oldgeezer
      December 19, 2014, 5:35 pm

      “However, I do think it is unfair to infer that Maher endorses or would have no problem with genocide of Muslims because of the way he phrased his answer here. ”

      My read of the article didn’t suggest Maher endorses or would have no problem with such events but he does endorse and propogate the type of argument which would/could be used in the event that history follows that track. He rationalizes why such a genocide would be different and understandable.

      Quite reprehensible in my view.

      • MHughes976
        December 19, 2014, 5:56 pm

        Armstrong says that anti-Semitic propaganda in the 30s was a) false and b) lethally dangerous: and so are Maher’s polemical anti-Muslim statements now. Maher’s retort is that his statements are different simply because they are not false. It’s true that he does not face the possibility that true statements – I’m not engaging with the question whether they are actually true – can be lethally dangerous. I agree with David and oldgeezer that this possibility does not really occur to him and might indeed be brushed aside by most people, though it is in truth a more real and alarming possibility than most people admit. Accordingly he has no problem with letting the results of his rhetoric take their course. This is not ‘warrant for genocide’ but it is somewhat irresponsible.

      • ritzl
        December 19, 2014, 7:20 pm

        “Quite reprehensible in my view.”

        Agree.

        But beyond that it’s the specific enabling reason why we killed 300,000 to 500,000 Iraqis, why nobody bats an eye when we “destabilize” Syria resulting in an equal number of dead, Israel slaughters Palestinians by the thousands with regularity, etc. etc. etc.

        Muslims are expendable. Maher’s hateful garbage causes that non-concern and enables that behavior. It has horrific, real-world, life and death implications for Muslims, on a massive scale, for the foreseeable future.

        Yeah, it’s beyond reprehensible. It’s murderous.

    • MHughes976
      December 21, 2014, 12:57 pm

      Maher’s point, I think, is that it’s undeniable that some Muslims are involved in bloody oppression and that their involvement springs in part from an angry consciousness, resenting and rejecting Western actions and ideas. On this basis he speaks against THE Muslims or Muslims in general, treating the oppressive ideas as authentically Islamic. But the greater part of the bloody oppression and terrorism is directed against other Muslims, who are its victims – why is the religious mindset of the victims, rather than of the oppressors, not the authentic one? Why is this question hardly raised or even noticed?
      Armstrong is reminded of the heyday of anti-Jewish propaganda in the 20s and 30s. Maher replies scornfully that ‘the Jews weren’t oppressing anyone’ – note the definite article. It is quite true that the Jews, not in any sense a group acting under central direction or by clear majority decisions, weren’t in the least oppressing anyone. But it is also true that some Jewish people were deeply involved in the oppressive Soviet, increasingly Stalinist, system – and they were expressing the angry, revolutionary Jewish consciousness arising from horrible mistreatment in Tsarist Russia, frightening many in the West – particularly, of course, when the illogical leap from some Jewish people to THE Jews, or to Jewish people in general, was made or if was argued that the truly authentic form of Jewish culture was Bolshevik. Which was of course to sweep aside the culture and attitudes of the mass of Jewish people, including those who were threatened rather than enthused by Bolshevik ideas.
      So I think that Maher is indeed keeping the company where Armstrong places him.

      • tree
        December 21, 2014, 9:08 pm

        So I think that Maher is indeed keeping the company where Armstrong places him.

        I agree wholeheartedly with your comment. Maher and Harris are blaming the vast majority of Muslims for the actions of a few, and taking the actions of the few out of the larger political context. This was in fact exactly what the anti-semitism of the 1930’s did with regards to Jews. Hitler himself blamed all Jews for the excesses of Bolshevism (and anarchism) and also accused all Jews of adherence to Zionist beliefs that posited that Jews were foreigners in Europe and owed their principle allegiance to other Jews and not to the country in which they were born.

        Glenn Greenwald had a very good piece, as usual for him, on Sam Harris’ anti-Muslim bias over a year ago.

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/apr/03/sam-harris-muslim-animus

        Greenwald:

        “The key point is that Harris does far, far more than voice criticisms of Islam as part of a general critique of religion. He has repeatedly made clear that he thinks Islam is uniquely threatening: “While the other major world religions have been fertile sources of intolerance, it is clear that the doctrine of Islam poses unique problems for the emergence of a global civilization.” He has insisted that there are unique dangers from Muslims possessing nuclear weapons, as opposed to nice western Christians (the only ones to ever use them) or those kind Israeli Jews: “It should be of particular concern to us that the beliefs of devout Muslims pose a special problem for nuclear deterrence.” In his 2005 “End of Faith”, he claimed that “Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thoroughgoing cult of death.”

        This is not a critique of religion generally; it is a relentless effort to depict Islam as the supreme threat. Based on that view, Harris, while depicting the Iraq war as a humanitarian endeavor, has proclaimed that “we are not at war with terrorism. We are at war with Islam.” He has also decreed that “this is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims, but we are absolutely at war with millions more than have any direct affiliation with Al Qaeda.” “We” – the civilized peoples of the west – are at war with “millions” of Muslims, he says. Indeed, he repeatedly posits a dichotomy between “civilized” people and Muslims: “All civilized nations must unite in condemnation of a theology that now threatens to destabilize much of the earth.”

        …..

        Most important of all – to me – is the fact that Harris has used his views about Islam to justify a wide range of vile policies aimed primarily if not exclusively at Muslims, from torture (“there are extreme circumstances in which I believe that practices like ‘water-boarding’ may not only be ethically justifiable, but ethically necessary”); to steadfast support for Israel, which he considers morally superior to its Muslim adversaries (“In their analyses of US and Israeli foreign policy, liberals can be relied on to overlook the most basic moral distinctions. For instance, they ignore the fact that Muslims intentionally murder noncombatants, while we and the Israelis (as a rule) seek to avoid doing so. . . . there is no question that the Israelis now hold the moral high ground in their conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah”); to anti-Muslim profiling (“We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it”); to state violence (“On questions of national security, I am now as wary of my fellow liberals as I am of the religious demagogues on the Christian right. This may seem like frank acquiescence to the charge that ‘liberals are soft on terrorism.’ It is, and they are”).

        Revealingly, Harris sided with the worst Muslim-hating elements in American society by opposing the building of a Muslim community center near Ground Zero, milking the Us v. Them militaristic framework to justify his position:

        “The erection of a mosque upon the ashes of this atrocity will also be viewed by many millions of Muslims as a victory — and as a sign that the liberal values of the West are synonymous with decadence and cowardice.”

        Harris made the case against that innocuous community center by claiming – yet again – that Islam is a unique threat: “At this point in human history, Islam simply is different from other faiths.”

        In sum, he sprinkles intellectual atheism on top of the standard neocon, right-wing worldview of Muslims. As this superb review of Harris’ writings on Israel, the Middle East and US militarism put it, “any review of Sam Harris and his work is a review essentially of politics”: because his atheism invariably serves – explicitly so – as the justifying ground for a wide array of policies that attack, kill and otherwise suppress Muslims. That’s why his praise for European fascists as being the only ones saying “sensible” things about Islam is significant: not because it means he’s a European fascist, but because it’s unsurprising that the bile spewed at Muslims from that faction would be appealing to Harris because he shares those sentiments both in his rhetoric and his advocated policies, albeit with a more intellectualized expression.”

        Much more at link.

  10. Sycamores
    December 19, 2014, 5:16 pm

    if Bill maher lack of respect for Islam is down to few thousand Muslim fanatics then he most really dispise Christianity.

    the state religion for 15 nations is Christianity this does not includes US or Russia which has 73% and 76% consecutively Christian majority.

    also not included are

    Italy with a population of nearly 53000000 85% Christian

    Mexico with a population of nearly 110000000 92 % Christian

    etc

    in other words there are plenty more Christian countries (state religion and by majority) then they are Muslim.

    Nazi Germany was predominantly Christian and murdered 17 million people who they consider Untermenschen

    American natives were nearly wipe out by Christians.

    etc

    Christian history for brutality toward others far surpasses Muslim history.

  11. yonah fredman
    December 19, 2014, 5:53 pm

    There is a battle of ideas regarding Islam and that battle of ideas is a very real battle. As in: what was Islam in the 8th century and what is Islam today? To muzzle that battle of ideas with the specter of genocide and hate a la Europe in the 30’s and 40’s, is to muzzle the battle and thus Karen Armstrong’s statement is stupid, if one believes that the battle of ideas should be fought rather than muzzled.

    • Mooser
      December 19, 2014, 6:32 pm

      Yonah, if you feel there’s some meshugganna reason to insist genocide never happens to anybody except Jews, I can’t stop you, but frankly, pal, I don’t see the point of it.
      I’d like everybody to be as afraid of it and revolted by it as I am. To know it can happen to anyone, depending on circumstances and must be guarded against for their own sake, not mine. Somehow, I just don’t think there’s a whole lot of comfort in the idea that genocide can’t happen to anybody except Jews. If that’s the case, why should anybody else really worry about it?

      But, ah, I probably shouldn’t have been so frank, carry on, fight it out along your own lines.

    • oldgeezer
      December 19, 2014, 6:54 pm

      “There is a battle of ideas regarding Islam and that battle of ideas is a very real battle. ”

      That battle is being waged primarily by lay people of other religions who feel they know Islam because they read it on an amateur blog site somewhere. Perhaps there is such a debate and perhaps it’s needed but that’s not what we are seeing in the public sphere.

      It’s hate speech targeting over a billion people the vast majority of which are law abiding and peaceful. The same type that led to the conditions in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

      • tree
        December 21, 2014, 9:21 pm

        Yes, to consider the statements of Maher and Harris as enlightening on the “battle of ideas regarding Islam” is as stupid as believing that Father Coughlin was prescient on the “battle of ideas regarding Judaism” in the 1930’s. They were all spewing prejudice; -heat, not light, and criticism of their prejudice is far from stupid.

    • Mooser
      December 19, 2014, 7:39 pm

      ” But just reading karen armstrong’s statement without seeing which statement of Maher is being condemned as leading to genocide, it seems to be that her statement was over the top and would only serve to muzzle.”

      Okay, thanks Yonah, now I think I get it! You saw the picture of Netanyahoo with the dogs, and that’s exciting, so the word “muzzle” has been on your mind! Is there any mentioning of ‘muzzling’ in the article? Weren’t you the first one to bring the word “muzzled” into the conversation? And now you are arguing with yourself over it!
      You might want to find some rear-echelon duty in the battle of ideas, so you don’t get hit by friendly fire.

  12. Mooser
    December 19, 2014, 6:02 pm

    “thus Karen Armstrong’s statement is stupid, if one believes that the battle of ideas should be fought rather than muzzled.”

    And so much for civility! Yes sir, we want a battle ideas, and we have no need of civility getting in the way!

    But Yonah, you stay safe. You shouldn’t go anywhere near a battle for which you are unarmed.

    But if you should, Yonah, be careful. Battle one idea, and then rest. Battle another idea, and then eat something…

    • Mooser
      December 19, 2014, 6:22 pm

      “thus Karen Armstrong’s statement is stupid,”

      Do you mind if I ask which “statement” by Karen Armstrong you are referring to, Yonah? Mind quoting it?

  13. yonah fredman
    December 19, 2014, 7:24 pm

    quote from karen armstrong is in the post’s first paragraph: this is ‘the sort of talk that led to the concentrations camps in Europe. The sorts of things that people were saying about Jews in the 30s and 40s.’

    Since the fall of the Shah in 79 there has been a conflict between nations that raise the flag of Islam and the United States. Currently there is a group called ISIS killing hostages that are citizens of the United States.

    I think the conflict between the US and much of the Islamic world is focused on a number of issues, which includes Israel, the aftermath (or enduring legacy) of colonialism, and one of the many factors of the conflict includes the difficulty of societies to adjust to modernity. I think that Islam was dominant in large regions of the world until recently and that dealing with the content of the Koran is a small part of the real problem.

    The hatred of Jews in the 30’s and 40’s had an echo of the theological battles of the previous thousand years, battles in which the nonJews had all the weapons and all the power of state and the Jews had suitcases and words to memorize so that they could be uttered without much trouble when they were being burnt at the stake. But the major hatred of the Jews in the 30’s and 40’s was not theological, but racial and economic.

    I suspect that much of what has been said by Maher has not been based upon a calm and knowledgeable reading of Islam, mainstream or radical. And I’m sure if you pick one of such statements I would agree that its content does not add to the debate and to the knowledge of the public. But just reading karen armstrong’s statement without seeing which statement of Maher is being condemned as leading to genocide, it seems to be that her statement was over the top and would only serve to muzzle. If i had a specific statement’s of maher’s which was cited as the cause of hatred of American Muslims then I could deal with Armstrong’s statement in a different fashion.

    • Mooser
      December 19, 2014, 7:44 pm

      “battles in which the nonJews had all the weapons and all the power of state and the Jews had suitcases and words to memorize so that they could be uttered without much trouble when they were being burnt at the stake.”

      Uhoh, Yonah’s in full-on mutter mode!

    • Mooser
      December 19, 2014, 8:02 pm

      ” If i had a specific statement’s of maher’s which was cited as the cause of hatred of American Muslims”

      Didn’t Maher say something about how he wished American Muslims would ‘fucking go missing’ or something?

  14. Kay24
    December 19, 2014, 8:55 pm

    You cannot compare the two individuals, nor their credibility and intelligence. Karen Armstrong is an intellect, who has written around 25 books on religion, acclaimed by so many, for her deep thinking, and writing so well on subjects she seems to be knowledgeable about.
    Bill Maher stand up comedian, self proclaimed zionists, who has written a few books, mostly humorous, some supporting atheism, and who has shown ignorance, and “not sophisticated” on Islam. A dislikable Islamaphobe. You have to be like minded to be impressed by what he says.

    • aiman
      December 20, 2014, 2:02 am

      “Karen Armstrong is an intellect, who has written around 25 books on religion, acclaimed by so many, for her deep thinking,”

      VS

      “Bill Maher stand up comedian, self proclaimed zionists” who’s just missing a cherry nose.

    • rhkroell
      December 21, 2014, 6:53 am

      I agree, Kay24. Karen Armstrong is a highly-respected historian who has written many books on ancient history, the Bible, Islam, the Crusades, biographies of both Muhammad and Buddha, but her real passion comes through most clearly, in my view, in her comparisons and contrasts between the three Abrahamic religions.

      She has devoted her entire life to studying and writing about the history and exegesis of Axial Age religions (800-200 BCE), Christianity and Islam, all the books included in the different versions of the Old and New Testament, the Quran, the Pseudepigrapha and the Apocrypha (She hasn’t written extensively on the Babylonian and/or Jerusalem Talmud, however, as far as I have been able to determine).

      Maher has no scholarly background. His expertise is in tabloid journalism, celebrity chitchat, and making fun of people, their beliefs and opinions. He was a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian, Hugh Hefner acolyte with no sympathy whatsoever for the poor or minorities until 6-8 years ago when he miraculously transformed himself into a “compassionate conservative” (masquerading as a liberal progressive).

      Like Sam Harris, he’s been on an anti-Islam/pro-Israel crusade (as a dogmatic atheist) since 9/11. He was apparently raised as a Roman Catholic but claims his mother (née Julie Berman) never told him her “dark secret” (that she was the child of Jewish parents).

      Coincidentally, the late Christopher Hitchens had the same “dark secret.” His mother, he claims, kept this secret from him and his Christian brother her entire life (1921-1973). He did not know of his Jewish ancestry, he claims, until late 1987, but thought nothing of it until the first Gulf War (1990 1991), when to everyone’s surprise at the NATION magazine (where he worked) he transformed himself from a radical Leftist “dove” into a pro-Israel, Little-Bush-loving, Arab-hating “hawk.”

      • Kay24
        December 21, 2014, 9:15 pm

        Good points. Bill Maher has stated openly he supports Israel and is pro zionist. He is a well known Islamaphobe, equating what some radicals do to the majority Muslims, taking a negative and painting all with the same brush. He shows ignorance every time, and has been shown by some guests including scholars of religions, to be ignorant about many facts.

        I have posted this before but watch Bill Maher’s (strong supporter of Israel) expression when Michael Scheurer says he does not care about Israel and it is not worth an American life or an American dollar, it is priceless:

  15. DaBakr
    December 19, 2014, 10:59 pm

    it seems a bit hystrerical toi surmise from a a two-bit TV personality and his comments on religion that American Muslims are somehow closer to being “picked up” and that they are even threatened in any way as there is no political group (that I am aware of) that is advocating bl;aming American Muslims for ANY of the extremist problems plaguing the ME (except for perhaps the few Muslims charged with aiding and or raising monies for so-called ‘terrorist’ groups. And I agree that the Holy Land Foundation convictions are on shakey ground but the charges them-selves had some merit-just not warranting the punishment meted out. but then the US justice system is well known for extraordinarily harsh sentences for minor crimes and in no way reflects an islamic bias, imo as there are too many non-Muslims languishing in US jails for even less serious crimes then the HLF)

  16. hophmi
    December 19, 2014, 11:20 pm

    Oh please. Maher didn’t endorse genocide against Muslims. What hackery. What dishonesty.

    • Mooser
      December 20, 2014, 7:41 pm

      Gosh, you are supposed to be like, a lawyer or something? Maher had a chance to make a strong anti-genocide statement, and chide Ms. Armstrong for being alarmist, and end up at least keeping his head above water. Instead, to my mind, he shoves it right up his butt.

      • Philemon
        December 20, 2014, 9:26 pm

        Mooser, poor Hophmi has yet to learn to read. And remember:

        Oh, there was a young man called “Bill Maher”
        Whose loved one adored his “haymaker”
        But, oh woe, wedded bliss…
        Did he swing? Did he miss?…

        Damn! Maybe you can remember it, Mooser!

      • Mooser
        December 22, 2014, 11:22 am

        “Damn! Maybe you can remember it, Mooser!”

        I’m afraid not, the only limerick I know concerns an American whaling seaport, and I’ve forgotten that one.

      • Philemon
        December 22, 2014, 7:56 pm

        Drat. Oh, well. Now all I can think of is Cape Cod and Boston Beans, and the nebulous feeling that the limerick’s punchline had something to do with “a big faker.”

      • Mooser
        December 23, 2014, 12:34 pm

        “Now all I can think of is Cape Cod and Boston”

        I have a faint memory of some nebbishy guy leaning over a Telex machine and de-coding a message having to do with Rhode Island.

  17. fayez chergui
    December 20, 2014, 8:30 am

    Only poor people of mind potentially stupid and malicious stick to a religion what ever that religion is.

  18. CigarGod
    December 20, 2014, 9:09 am

    Well done!
    If someone films bombastic bills berkeley speech…i think you will easily be able to cut and paste your observations into it at the appropriate points…a la’ colbert…and destroy his “process”. He does believe he has a rational process. I suppose he does…in the eyes of racist mobs.

  19. ASBizar
    December 20, 2014, 9:33 am

    What Maher does as usual is using his fallacious arguments to justify what he said. For those who think he did not say anything about allowing Muslim concentration camps and genocide, he is implying it obviously.

    Read again:
    Sally Kohn of Vanity Fair said to him: “The religious scholar Karen Armstrong did an interview with Salon and talked about what you and Sam Harris said. And she said that your comments fill her with despair because this is ‘the sort of talk that led to the concentrations camps in Europe. The sorts of things that people were saying about Jews in the 30s and 40s.’ That’s gotta sting, especially coming from her.”

    To which he replied: “It doesn’t sting because it’s beyond stupid. Jews weren’t oppressing anybody. There weren’t 5,000 militant Jewish groups. They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that the Jews were at the bottom of it. There weren’t 10 Jewish countries in the world that were putting gay people to death just for being gay. It’s idiotic.”
    Armstrong is not talking about who has the burden of fault here, but rather she is focusing on the CONSEQUENCES of such remarks. So what Muslims (often a minority of them) did and ( a larger minority) just believe, can never ever justify putting them in concentration camps. So there IS difference in what Jews and Muslims did, but there might be no difference in the consequences of the hate speech against them. And here “them” refers to all Muslims not just those who did or believed those actions.

  20. RockyMissouri
    December 20, 2014, 10:51 am

    Thank you, all, for your wonderful and most enlightening comments. I feel privileged to read them.

    Mondoweiss, you are honorable by giving a voice to those who desperately need it.!! I share your links every day..so people can be informed.

    • Ellen
      December 21, 2014, 2:07 am

      Rocky, greetings. A little off topic on this thread, but when in MO, I’ve been told by people who consider themselves avid Christians, that the US depends on Israel, and that if anything ever happened to Israel, it would be the end of the USA.

      Not that I wish ill on anyone or any country anywhere, but can you help many understand why it is that this idea of Zionist Israel and the US are in some kind of holy dependent union is preached?

      And why all the Congressional reps and the two Senators from MO are mouth pieces for AIPAC, but not their constituents?

      • Walid
        December 21, 2014, 4:08 am

        “in MO, I’ve been told by people who consider themselves avid Christians, that the US depends on Israel, and that if anything ever happened to Israel, it would be the end of the USA.”

        Ellen, for Christian Zionists in the US, which is probably the kind of Christians you talked to in Missouri, it’s believed that the end of Israel was to happen before the Second Coming, it would also mean the end of the whole world and not just the US.

        From a 2007 CNN article:

        “… . . . .A recent poll found that 59 percent of American evangelicals believe Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

        The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates 85 million evangelicals believe God tells them to support Israel — more than six times the world’s Jewish population.

        One of the most successful Jewish fundraisers, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, raised $39 million last year from Christian Zionists to fund human services and humanitarian work in Israel and the settlements.

        Christian Zionists often converge on Washington by the thousands to lobby members of Congress in support of Israel.

        Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, was among the speakers at last month’s convention of Christians United for Israel.

        “There are a lot more Christian Zionists in America than Jewish Zionists,” the former Democratic vice presidential candidate told the group….”

        http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/08/17/jews.christians/index.html

      • CigarGod
        December 21, 2014, 9:50 am

        Excellent information.
        Six times the number lobby congress.
        Lobby = donors.
        These people also talk and write.
        This is why congress listens.
        This is why congress speaks…and takes junkets to iz.

        This information makes me recall what obama said when a coalition of less than full-blown zionists (j-street and a huffpo writer among them) got and audience…a few years ago. They complained at obamas lack of action on more progressive policies. “I can’t hear you.”…was obamas response.

  21. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    December 20, 2014, 1:07 pm

    ”Maher claims he has “two” “Muslim” “friends” but after all he’s spewed about Muslims over the years, we don’t really know what that means. ”

    My guess is that Maher’s ‘two Muslim friends’ are:

    – Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    – That Canadian woman who enjoyed her 15 minutes a few years back with her ”let me and my impeccably progressive lesbian pro-Israel credentials tell you how backward and dangerous we Muslims are”.

    Sorry, I can’t remember her name.

    • Kay24
      December 22, 2014, 1:10 am

      That would be Ishad Manji, one of the few Muslim women, like Hirsi Ali, who seems to be doing the work of the Islamaphobes. If one googles Hirsi Ali, you can easily find just what a dishonest woman she is, and that she has been caught in a few lies and exaggerations, but Maher the zionist/Islamaphobe, shows his ignorance and inability to do some research, when he consistently quotes her, or refers to her BS, making her an authority on Islam.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        December 22, 2014, 5:09 am

        Ah yes, Irshad Manji, how could I forget? Well, given that she has never said anything remotely interesting and just exploited the anti-Muslim hysteria post 9/11 to enjoy her 15 minutes, maybe it’s not that surprising I’ve forgotten her name. So has everyone else it would seem – she seems to have sunk without trace, no?

        And yes it is indeed amazing that a woman who thinks Catholics don’t have a concept of hell, or that Deuteronomy is a person – and I speak of Ayaan Hirsi made-up-name – is held up as an authority on Islam, or any other religion.

      • Kay24
        December 22, 2014, 8:53 am

        Her invitation to Yale was evoked, however it was interesting to see the response to her invitation:

        “The Yale Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics student group offered a qualified statement in support of their Muslim classmates on Facebook:

        “We do not believe Ayaan Hirsi Ali represents the totality of the ex-Muslim experience… Although we acknowledge the value of her story, we do not endorse her blanket statements on all Muslims and Islam.”

        Well said.

  22. Pippilin
    December 20, 2014, 3:29 pm

    Several years ago Oprah was sued by the beef industry by stating that she could never eat another hamburger after hearing some revelations about meat. There’s got to be a Muslim action group out there (?CAIR?) that can sue the stupid Maher for libel, slander, hate speech, or something.
    BTW– I can’t help but believe that Berkeley’s administration let the Maher invite happen on purpose. Why I don’t know, but if I know anything it’s that the students there were surely disgusted by the whole affair.

  23. Stephen Shenfield
    December 20, 2014, 4:30 pm

    Maher: “They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that the Jews were at the bottom of it.”

    In fact, the claim that “the Jews” were responsible for the white slave traffic (as trafficking in women for prostitution was then called) was a significant theme in anti-Semitic propaganda.

  24. yonah fredman
    December 20, 2014, 4:56 pm

    All 3 monotheistic religions have been used as an organizing principle and motivation to fight wars. The most surprising of the three was the use of Christianity to fight wars despite the nonbelligerent nature of most of the New Testament. Nonetheless Constantine and the glistening cross on his shield was used to conquer. The other two books: Hebrew Bible and Koran are less surprising sources for fighting wars. The Hebrew bible’s physical wars (until 1917 shall we say) were quite ancient and circumscribed in locale compared to the Koran’s recent wars and wide domain.

    I can safely say that a free spirit unencumbered by a morality can take the text of the Hebrew Bible and turn it into a very destructive force. (I think Zionism and its problems have a lot more to do with colonialism versus indigenous and a tiny Jewish nation versus a very large Arab/Muslim nation, without need for biblical reference to explain where we are, but there can be no discounting the Bible and its wars from the logic of the supporters of Naftali Bennett and it can be argued that the supporters of Ben Gurion derived their ferocity and single mindedness from the Bible as well.)

    My knowledge of the Koran is very sparse, but I have read enough to know that Muhammad’s teachings combined with some latent power of the Arab peninsula leading to one of the great conquests and empires known to man and though monotheism is a powerful idea, monotheism plus the creed of the Koran conquered with a sword and not with a soapbox. To minimize the warmaking motivators included in the Koran seems to be anti historical.

    Comedy depends on brevity, think 140 characters, which is hardly ever calm and usually betrays a partial view. But that does not absolve us from attempting to understand history and where today’s religions, including Judaism and Islam are leading us.

    • Mooser
      December 20, 2014, 6:49 pm

      Shorter Yonah: ‘I have excuses for my prejudices. What’s yours?’

      Gosh, what a fruitful discussion that would be.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 20, 2014, 9:39 pm

        lol, i can’t stop laughing today.

    • Mooser
      December 20, 2014, 7:24 pm

      “The Hebrew bible’s physical wars (until 1917 shall we say) were quite ancient and circumscribed in locale compared to the Koran’s recent wars and wide domain.”

      “The Koran’s recent wars”? The Koran’s wars, Yonah? Are you daft? Do you know what you have opened yourself up for, Yonah? Can we talk about ‘the Torah’s recent wars’ now that you have opened the door, Yonah?

      So you are fixing 1917 as the start of “the Koran’s recent wars”?

      Yonah, I hope I never, ever have to follow you through a cow-pasture.

    • Mooser
      December 20, 2014, 7:50 pm

      “I can safely say that a free spirit unencumbered by a morality can take the text of the Hebrew Bible and turn it into a very destructive force. “

      Damn those “free spirits, unencumbered by morality”! I tell you, it was hippies ruined Zionism! Those dresses! The face-painting! The lasciviousness! And so goddam blithe it makes you sick! The hell with thee, blithe spirit!

      • RoHa
        December 20, 2014, 8:49 pm

        Regardless of putative bird/non-bird status?

      • RoHa
        December 20, 2014, 9:47 pm

        And I’m guessing the heaven’s gate thing didn’t go to well for you, either.

    • Walid
      December 21, 2014, 4:21 am

      “My knowledge of the Koran is very sparse,” (Yonah)

      No need to convince anyone, Yonah, especially after that “Koran’s war stuff you mentioned.

      • yonah fredman
        December 21, 2014, 7:25 pm

        Walid- Are you denying that Muhammad fought wars? Are you denying that Muhammad defended his wars with statements found in the Quran? Are you denying that Muhammad extolled fighting of the infidel? Are you denying that Muhammad used politically incorrect language (sons of pigs and apes) to scold the Jews who were opponents?

        Should i go through each verse quoted on anti Islamic web sites so that you can clarify that all the statements that seem to extol violence are really statements of peace?

        If we must go through verse by verse, then we shall start with the second sura verses 191 through 193:

        “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing…
        but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)” (Translation is from the Noble Quran)

      • Walid
        December 21, 2014, 8:20 pm

        No, Yonah, but you are not considering context if you start taking bits and pieces. I believe that there is a religious side and a political side to the Quran. What you picked up were the political tones set when the Jews fell out of grace with the Moslems (or vice versa) when they came out and flatly rejected that he was was the one they had been waiting for. And that, also came after the trading between them stopped. Much of the religion was actually picked up from the Jews a little from the Christians and when it started out, Moslems celebrated and fasted Yom Kippur with the Jews and for a few years prayed 3 times daily facing Jerusalem. When there was a political falling out, that’s where these sort of “unfriendly to the Jews” passages came in. In other parts of the Quran, there is nothing but love, admiration and praise for the Jews and statements to the effect that the Jews were the “chosen ones” and that the land was “promised” to them. You don’t appear to be aware of these other “friendlier”passages.

        Would I be correct to be like you and that jerk Maher to say that Jews in general are bad people because their scriptures have ther god ordering them to slay all the Canaanites and others, rape their women and so on, or that all Jewish damsels are naughty because of what Dinah did? Of course not.

        I’m not saying that the Moslem religion is all sugar and spice but also saying it’s not all doom and gloom as you and Maher are making it to be. With all religions, you have to know what to take from it and what to leave behind.

      • aiman
        December 22, 2014, 5:56 am

        Walid, as communicated to you once before the Qur’an is against the concept of “chosen people” whether that happen to be Jews or Arabs. Put it simply, it condemns it.

      • aiman
        December 22, 2014, 6:08 am

        I was raised in Baylon by Yusuf:

      • Walid
        December 22, 2014, 9:04 am

        Aiman, sorry I missed it the first time you mentioned it. As I said to Yonah, there are parts that talk about Jews being good and parts about them being bad, so which part should I take? I don’t really believe in any one people being chosen over another and as to the “promised land”, this seems to come from when the 2 groups were getting along together and I don’t believe it either.

        A couple of passages among others that may be contributing to the confusion.

        al-Baqarah 2:47 O Children of Israel, remember My favor that I have bestowed upon you and that I preferred you over the worlds.

        al-A’raf 7:137 And We caused the people who had been oppressed to inherit the eastern regions of the land and the western ones, which We had blessed. And the good word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel because of what they had patiently endured. And We destroyed [all] that Pharaoh and his people were producing and what they had been building.

      • yonah fredman
        December 22, 2014, 5:06 pm

        Walid- I am familiar with the rude and uncalm manner of Maher, but I do not think that I have read anything which deserves the comments of Karen Armstrong.

        As for my own comments, I hardly think that anything I wrote implies that Muslims are bad people because of the (negative portions) contents of the Quran. Praying five times a day, faith in one God, making a pilgrimage to Mecca, watching what you eat, giving charity, substitute five with three and mecca with jerusalem and you have a short hand description of Judaism instead of Islam. Islam and Orthodox Judaism are like two peas in a pod.

        But… Just like I object to certain attitudes in the Torah, I have a right to object to certain attitudes in the Koran. And the history of Islam is not the history of a nomadic people trying to adjust as a minority religion, but that of a conquering empire (defeated by the Mongols and then reconquered by Turkey- both of Islam and not of Islam at the same time) and to deny this history that involves empire and to pretend that Islam is just some book, but not a solid portion of Western Civilization history is to pretend. The inferences for individual Muslims living in the West of such a realism towards the history of Islam is probably bad and therefore regrettable, but a real eye towards the history of the peoples of the Middle East is certainly a step towards knowledge. Ignorance is bliss, only to a point, but knowledge is power, once enough knowledge accrues. karen armstrong may have been referring to some statement of maher’s that deserves revulsion, but an in depth discussion of history and the content of the Koran add to our understanding. or at least should if we indeed are interested in understanding.

      • just
        December 22, 2014, 5:19 pm

        Yonah, I thought you wrote that:

        “My knowledge of the Koran is very sparse”

        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/12/university-california-interview#sthash.FERYh8N9.dpuf

        PS~ Why do you spell Islam’s holy book two ways? I try to stick to one, myself.

        And, thanks aiman.

      • aiman
        December 22, 2014, 10:24 pm

        Walid, the Qur’an can only be understood as a unified text. The Zionist interpretation – Yonah’s – is always about “the Jews,” who were only one of several community-actors in the Qur’an and early Islamic history, Mecca/Medina differences all of which as been refuted by recent Western scholars against the first wave of Orientalism. Thr verse quote you’ve give is in fact of the Medina Period. Let’s look at the full verse:

        2:47

        O children of Israel! Remember those blessings of Mine with which I graced you, and how I favoured you above all other people; (2:48) and remain conscious of [the coming of] a Day when no human being shall in the least avail another, nor shall intercession be accepted from any of them, nor ransom taken from them,35 and none shall be succoured.

        Footnote 35 (Muhammad Asad) to this verse: The “taking of ransom (‘adl)” is an obvious allusion to the Christian doctrine of vicarious
        redemption as well as to the Jewish idea that “the chosen people” – as the Jews considered themselves – would be exempt from punishment on the Day of Judgment. Both these ideas are categorically refuted in the Qur’an.

        Please check the second ref in this link: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/private/cmje/religious_text/The_Message_of_The_Quran__by_Muhammad_Asad.pdf

        Also search for ‘chosen people’ – way too many – in the document. I’m on an iPad and have difficulty typing, copy/pasting.

        In short, The Qur’an Is opposed to tribalism, racism, genealogical virtue etc. whether that comes from Zionism or the ISIS.

      • Walid
        December 23, 2014, 12:40 am

        Thanks, aiman, you’re right that full following verses should be included to get the proper context but in this instance where the Jews are being somewhat reprimanded for having drifted off-course, it doesn’t change the fact that were still referred-to as the “chosen”.

        My reading of the Qur’an is from a historic perspective, which was influenced by the way it was compiled, its ommissions and later insertions of short vowels as well as by the destruction of certain conflicting versions of some chapters that were deemed “unfit to be included” in the final authorized version under Othman 25 years after the death of the Prophet. It was compiled in much of the same way the compilation of the 27 books of the New Testament was made on a pick and choose basis. At that time, the compilation was devoid of the short vowels needed to help avoid confusion in the meaning and these were inserted only 60 years later. I read somewhere that it’s alleged that the compilation purposely left out those parts that would have identified Ali as the rightful successor and thereby provoked the rift that gave rise to the Shia (Shia’t-Ali). In that sense, I see it as an instrument of faith as well as one of politics.

        An interesting short essay about this by By Dr. Mohammad Shafi at the (American) Dar al-Islam:

        http://www.daralislam.org/portals/0/Publications/TheQURANHowitwasRevealedandCompiled.pdf

      • Walid
        December 23, 2014, 12:49 am

        “… PS~ Why do you spell Islam’s holy book two ways? I try to stick to one, myself. ”

        Just, Yonah is not alone. For most of my life I used “Koran” as well as “Moslem”. In French it has always been “le Coran”. It’s only lately and here at MW that I (uncomfortably)switched to “Qur’an” and to “Muslim” to go with the current flow to avoid confusing some people.

      • Walid
        December 23, 2014, 1:14 am

        “… The inferences for individual Muslims living in the West of such a realism towards the history of Islam is probably bad and therefore regrettable, but a real eye towards the history of the peoples of the Middle East is certainly a step towards knowledge. ” (Yonah)

        Both a yes and a no, Yonah, you’re discussing the use of the Qur’an at different points of time and in different geographical locations.I don’t doubt that the first rise and expansion of the religion came at the tip of the sword, and that was one point in its history in much the same way the history of the Jews started with the angel slaying all the firstborn and the Jews slaying all the Canaanites and anyone else that was in their way. Then came another point when peace and benevolence where the primordial aspects of the religion and those you are talking about in the West fall within that category. Same thing happened with the Jews that became regular people. Now some nutjobs are reviving part 1 by going around chopping-off people’s heads holding a knife in one hand and a Qur’an in the other. Isn’t that what some nutjob Zionists are now doing in Palestine to ethnically cleanse the unbelievers? The only difference is that Muslim nutjobs still use knives but the Zionists one use the more sophisticated phosphorus and cluster bombs, Apaches and F16s.

        All this chatter is to say that it would be wrong to tar all Jews because of their early history and current Zionist ones because of what their religion is making them do to the Palestinians and equally wrong to go back to the Muslim conquest of 1400 years ago and to what the ISIS nutjobs are doing by attacking bits and pieces of the Qur’an as Maher and you did to tar all Muslims.

      • oldgeezer
        December 23, 2014, 2:38 am

        @walid
        ” The only difference is that Muslim nutjobs still use knives but the Zionists one use the more sophisticated phosphorus and cluster bombs, Apaches and F16s”

        I’ve always been amused that people argue that beheading with a whatever is barbaric while droppping sufficient tonnage over a large area is moral.

        At least with beheading only the target is killed. The target was innocent of any crimes? Tell it to the collateral damage. They may have a different perspective.

      • CigarGod
        December 23, 2014, 10:01 am

        Exactly!
        A perfect and reliable example of our deeply rooted mass pavlovian responses. The image and story bypass the thinking part of our brain completely.

      • just
        December 23, 2014, 8:15 am

        I was taught the same as you, Walid. (Koran, Moslem and Mohammed pbuh) I have changed the spellings because it appears that it is more acceptable to many Muslims today.

        I try to remain consistent, though. I don’t use different spellings in the same comment…

        The translations have always had some->many variations.

    • traintosiberia
      December 21, 2014, 11:19 am

      One way to mount a critique of a situation or mechanism is to find if an alternative exists or existed . If fighting between human,clans ,societies,or countries cant be stopped ,can it still be minimized ? Can the outcome be made less adverse ? Can the principle of justice be applied ?
      Koran has not stopped empire building or fighting but has anybody or any tenet or any principle in real world? Has the UN body or Geneva Convention stopped torture or ascertained equal /just treatment of the combatants or of the feuding countries?
      Could League of Nation prevent Italian aggression on Africa? Did people suffused with the ideas of renaissance and enlightenment stop enslaving,torturing and raping the indigenous of Africa or Asia or New world? Did Gautam Buddha achieve something without violence ( It was spread by the power of the empire built Ashoka across those very regions who continued to eviscerate themselves and still do ) .There was no major royal patron of Jainiasm and it survives just like a perennially endangered vanishing sect.
      Did Old Testament offer the same protection from the divine laws to the non Jewish people? Did the empire built by Old Testament prophets and kings allow any olive branch or offer any welcome or assure any protection to the local or the surrounding natives? Did the triumph of democracy over Soviet give rise to the free and effective exercise of the democratic rights in the world?
      One can preach whatever he or she wants .But the taste of the pudding always lies in the tasting of the pudding.

      • CigarGod
        December 21, 2014, 12:38 pm

        Love to travel on that train with you for awhile, man.
        Great observations. Have a cigar!

      • RoHa
        December 21, 2014, 6:14 pm

        “Did people suffused with the ideas of renaissance and enlightenment stop enslaving,torturing and raping the indigenous of Africa or Asia or New world? ”

        Well, yes.

        A bit.

        Eventually.

        After about a couple of centuries of profiting mightily from the African slave trade, the British were finally persuaded that slavery was a Bad Thing.

        African slaves were caught and sold by other Africans, and shipped by Europeans, Americans and Arabs. The Royal Navy was given the task of dealing both with the African slave traders who lived near the coast and with the ships the slaves were transported in. The operation was fairly successful.

        Of course, there was, and still is, a lot of enslaving,torturing and raping the indigenous of Africa or Asia or New World, both by people suffused with the ideas of renaissance and enlightenment and by the indigenes themselves.

      • Philemon
        December 23, 2014, 8:50 pm

        Hey, Roha, Pennsylvania Quakers outlawed slavery in the mid-1700’s:

        “Pennsylvania Mennonites had expressed concerns about slavery since the 17th century, but it was only in 1758 that Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends made buying or selling a slave a bar to leadership in the Quaker meetings. In 1774 it became cause for disowning. Moral arguments were advanced against slave-owning. But the main motive for the Society’s shift against slavery seems to have been an internal clash of values between the few wealthy Quakers who owned the slaves and the many poor ones who did not.”

        http://slavenorth.com/pennsylvania.htm

        And so did the Catholic Church, well mostly.

        From Wikipedia, alas, but I think it is pretty well attributed:

        On 22 December 1741, Benedict XIV promulgated the papal bull “Immensa Pastorum Principis” against the enslavement of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and other countries.

        Of course, Bartolome de las Casas, Dominican friar (d. 1566), anticipated the anti-slavery stance by 200 years. In the end, he came out against all slavery of any human beings. He was followed by lots of Spanish clerics, who came over to convert the heathen, but in the course of doing their good works, became sympathetic to their flocks, and couldn’t help but see them as just regular folks, who obviously shouldn’t be enslaved. Plus, a lot of the indigenous rituals, with a little flexibility, were found consistent with Catholicism. ;)

      • RoHa
        December 24, 2014, 12:16 am

        As far as I can tell, there has always been some disquiet about slavery in the Catholic Church. Misery-guts Augustine and fat-guts Aquinas both had doubts about it even while the Church was holding and trading. And it might have been one of the Pennsylvania Quakers, and not Paine (who was brought up a Quaker), who wrote the famous article.

        But neither the Church nor the Quakers despatched gunboats to the West Africa Station or sent squads of bluejackets to raid the barraccoons.

      • Philemon
        December 24, 2014, 8:58 pm

        Possibly, because gunboats and their diplomacy hadn’t been invented yet? ;)

  25. rhkroell
    December 21, 2014, 1:33 am

    @ Jahan-Zaib H. Gilani: You have quite accurately, in my view, unmasked Bill Maher as a frequent purveyor of Islamophobia and religious hate speech. He seems completely oblivious to world history’s religious wars and the protracted, bloodstained struggle of humans for some modicum of religious tolerance, something which distinctly separates modernity from the Middle Ages.

    This kind of historical amnesia is especially noxious coming from a celebrity with a large fan base who promotes himself as a “liberal” and/or political progressive. His fans have come to anticipate his attacks on people of faith, his characterizations of them as credulous dupes or spellbound sheeple. The religious, the pious, the devout are his favorite target.

    When employing his particular style of put-down humor, Maher regularly makes fun of Roman Catholic doctrine, priests, nuns and Christian fundamentalists. But anyone who has watched him more than once recognizes that he reserves his most venomous assaults for Muslims. Like his second baseman on this particular panel, Sam Harris, Maher proudly defends his dogmatic atheism as the only valid form of belief for intelligent, well-informed, rational human beings in the 21st century. And both of them are guilty of mischaracterizing and defaming Islam as the only truly pernicious and malevolent world religion widely in use today.

    Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and other forms of traditional belief are all, for him, wholly without foundation and thus subject to mockery and ridicule. People who support contemporary religious belief systems, and time-honored spiritual practices, are all — without exception — characterized as either spellbound fools or people trapped in some kind of weird pre-Enlightenment time warp.

    Thank you for identifying this joker by his peculiar multicolored fool’s suit.

  26. loquela
    December 21, 2014, 9:09 am

    This article is ignorant gibberish. Willful and gratuitous manipulation of Maher’s comments.

    Everybody, please re-watch the Maher piece and then re-read this article. Maher was simply saying there is no comparison between the Jewish concentration camps and some concocted fantasy of muslim concentration camps. Mayer was justifying his comments on his show based on the fact that there are 5,000 militant muslim groups. There is a study of treatment of women around the world which found that the muslims were at the bottom of it. There are 10 Islamic countries in the world that are putting gay people to death just for being gay (he did not mention the countries that put people to death for deciding no longer to be muslim). He did not at any point suggest that any muslim should be put into prison camps and he did not in any way suggest that the above list of facts justifies putting muslims into prison camps.

    Again, he was simply justifying his comments based on the facts, he was not justifying the principle of genocide. Most of the commenters here are ignorant and complicit in this ever-growing fallacy of islamophobia. Mayer, and others like him, are not against muslims as people and he makes that quite clear on air. They are anti-murder, anti-misogyny, anti-homophobia in the explicit name of Islam.

    Remember, muslim-based atrocities are a reality. This is a fact and we are faced with it everyday. That is not to say for a moment that all muslims are culpable. That would be ridiculous. But to ignore and deny this fact is a willful act of ignorance and cowardice. Islamic terrorism, islamic gay-bashing, islamic jew-bashing, islamic misogyny exists. They are a reality. It may not be part of your version of islam. And it may not be part of the majority of muslim communities. But is exists and not an a tiny scale. To recoginse this and to be appalled by it is perfectly natural and Mayer is perfectly justified to express his horror at it.

    To make the comparison with concentration camps and genocide is a preposterous and determined act of incitement. And to twist Mayer’s response with such creatively repellant accusations is an appalling act of malicious libel.

    Jahan-Zaib H. Gilani and all of you who support this ridiculous article should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 21, 2014, 4:46 pm

      there are many flaws in your logic loq, and your framing leaves you open for people easily poking holes in your narrative. but i would just like to start here: when you say “based on the fact that there are 5,000 militant muslim groups” what informs you of this alleged “fact”? it doesn’t sound like you’re saying it’s a fact maher made this claim but you’re claiming it as a fact yourself. and even if there were ‘5000 muslim militant groups’ are you implying, or defending the idea that a muslim group that is militant is inherently immoral? or that a religious militant group is inherently immoral. or that a militant group is inherently immoral?

      you already stated “Mayer, and others like him, are not against muslims as people” so, am i to assume it’s not the muslim part of being a militant you object to? so if it’s not the muslim part you just object to militants in general? and what of jewish militant groups? no prob w/them? or are you claiming all those alleged 5,000 muslims groups are the same. could you direct me to a site with a list of them, all 5,000 please.

      and when you say There is a study of treatment of women around the world which found that the muslims were at the bottom of it

      could you source whose study that is please.

      and when you say Again, he was simply justifying his comments based on the facts , don’t you mean his allegations or his interpretation of events?

      • loquela
        December 21, 2014, 6:06 pm

        Thanks Annie. My point, if you missed it, was that the comparison with Jewish prison camps and genocide was preposterous. We can debate the accuracy of the facts as Maher sees them if you like, but that’s really not the point.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 22, 2014, 12:58 am

        as i stated previously, my criticisms were just starting there loquela. i was warming up. whereas you might have a point if the question asked of him did not compare “Jewish prison camps and genocide”, but since they did not, you don’t have a point. maybe you should re read the question ask of him again before pontificating.

        again, do you have a source for either of the times you used the term “the fact” or is that just a rhetorical device you use for effect, like the rest of your “point”.

      • Mooser
        December 22, 2014, 11:33 am

        Annie, you can’t poke holes in the whole cloth!

      • Sibiriak
        December 24, 2014, 8:29 am

        Annie Robbins: “there are many flaws in your logic loq [ETC.]

        Great post. Razor-sharp logic.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 24, 2014, 2:16 pm

        thank you sibiriak ;)

    • Kris
      December 21, 2014, 8:37 pm

      loquela: “Remember, muslim-based atrocities are a reality. This is a fact and we are faced with it everyday. That is not to say for a moment that all muslims are culpable. That would be ridiculous. But to ignore and deny this fact is a willful act of ignorance and cowardice. Islamic terrorism, islamic gay-bashing, islamic jew-bashing, islamic misogyny exists. They are a reality. ”

      So? Jewish atrocities are a reality that we are faced with every single day. The Jews in Israel, in partnership with diaspora Jews and the political/economic power at their disposal, have oppressed the Palestinians for many decades. Gaza is a concentration camp, and the West Bank and east Jerusalem are not much better. Jewish terrorism, Jewish Muslim-bashing, Jewish crimes against humanity, Jewish sexual abuse of children, Jewish ethnic cleansing, and Jewish racism, and Jewish enforcement of ethnic and religious superiority and ethnic privilege exist. “To ignore and deny this fact is a willful act of ignorance and cowardice,” as you say.

      Not only that, Christian-based atrocities are a daily event, too. Christian torture,, Christian Muslim-bashing, Christian terrorism, racism, and willful theft of the resources of poor peoples all over the world exist, too. These are all a reality. Right-wing “Christianity” is a powerful force in the U.S. military, and right-wing “Judaiism” dominates the IDF.

      It is also a demonstrated reality, as pointed out by the scholar Karen Armstrong, that demonizing an entire group of people can lead to disaster. Think about it: demonizing Jews, Japanese, native Americans, Muslims, gypsies, gays, blacks, Vietnamese, or etc., was a first step in the process of dehumanization that led to horrors such as the Holocaust, Gaza, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Iraq, Afghanistan, U.S. interventions all over the world, the “strange fruit” hanging on the trees of the southern U.S. several decades ago, etc., etc., etc.

      Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians is slow-motion, but it is still genocide. The Palestinians, under Israel’s malign occupation and oppression, are trapped in large concentration camps, but they are still concentration camps.

      It is you who should be ashamed, loquela, for endorsing Bill Maher’s hate speech against Muslims.

  27. traintosiberia
    December 21, 2014, 10:43 am

    “While Playboy mansion frequenter Bill Maher points his finger at the way Muslims treat women and TIME magazine asserts that the word, “feminist” should be banned, a woman is raped every 2 minutes in the United States. Meanwhile, rampant sexual abuse in Hollywood has been reported by actors like Corey Feldman who has said that, “The number one problem in Hollywood was, and is, and always will be pedophilia”. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/16/deconstructing-the-bill-cosby-rape-narrative/

    from-Jessica Bernstein, Psy.D., is a doctor of psychology.

    We are waiting to hear the enlightened views on woman abuse and objectification of woman from Maher.But to get that mind set ,he has to stop visiting the Sex Central.
    Women abuse by muslim or of boys by the Church is a major concern of him but then he wont have access to the Hollywood platform or podium to regurgitate the processed fast food cooked out of the off -the peg- Islam-Christain phobic rants

    • Annie Robbins
      December 21, 2014, 2:18 pm

      he also ignores the whole drama surrounding pedophilia in segments of the jewish orthodox community (in ny in particular)and the strange rules that prevent or radically discourage victims from reporting it to police and instead rely on rabbis who frequently cover up abuse which has run rampant.

      and what of some women being ordered to shave their heads and keep them shaved. he doesn’t have much to say about that. he pretty much just leaves this kind of stuff alone when it comes from the jewish community, so does the msm.

      • a blah chick
        December 21, 2014, 2:43 pm

        An egregious case is the one of Avrohom Mondrowitz. He raped boys for years in the States and then fled to Israel in the 80’s when the legal heat turned up. He’s still there and still being accused of molesting kids. Israel refuses to extradite him. I think the only “punishment” he got was that he had to wait a whopping 5 years to get citizenship.

        This is why Israel is such a sick society, they would rather have a known pedophile as an immigrant than show humanity to those African refugees.

      • lysias
        December 21, 2014, 4:05 pm

        There was an article about such a case of pedophilia in Brooklyn in The New Yorker a couple of weeks ago.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 21, 2014, 5:39 pm

        there are so many articles about this stuff but it generally stays in regional news or the jewish news like http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york/questions-over-child-molesters-early-release . it’s a scandal tho. it’s a constant drip drip drip.

        bottom line, i don’t think ny politicians can stay in office or judges on the bench unless they toe the line. or police commissioners either. it’s rigged and it’s not treated like the catholic church scandal that’s for sure.

        The Brooklyn ultra-Orthodox community has been plagued with sexual molestation charges in recent years, many of them stemming back decades. It has a history of harboring and protecting alleged molesters while shaming and intimidating those who attempt to come forward with allegations of abuse.

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/21/brooklyn-rabbi-busted-again-for-child-porn.html

        but does it hit the national news? no.

    • tree
      December 21, 2014, 9:36 pm

      Maher’s a misogynist so his deep concern about the treatment of women is laughable. And then there was this tweet of his during the latest Gaza invasion, where he managed, in the words of one respondent, to “combine encouragement for genocide with an affirmation of domestic assault in that joke. ”

      Maher Tweet: “Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u – u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her”

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/18/bill-maher-hamas-crazy-woman-tweet_n_5598211.html

      • eljay
        December 21, 2014, 9:52 pm

        >> tree: … Maher Tweet: “Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u – u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her”

        Yeah, Bill, it sure is a tough gig for the rapist when the victim he’s got chained in his basement refuses to submit to his brutal and on-going abuse. :-(

      • Mooser
        December 22, 2014, 11:49 am

        “Maher Tweet: “Dealing w/ Hamas is like Maher Tweet: “Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u – u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her”

        Gosh, the incident which resulted in Maher’s personal authority on this must have been intense! Did it make the papers, or is the procedure for “dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u ” just another birds-and-bees thing my Dad didn’t tell me?

      • Philemon
        December 22, 2014, 9:29 pm

        Whether he was ever actually in that situation, which I doubt, or just fantasized about it, which I strongly suspect, it does not redound to his credit, in either case.

        In the first instance, maybe the woman he terms “crazy” had good reason to want to kill him. He provides no defense of himself or constructive case against the woman. Both of which contribute to the impression that she was in the right, and he was in the wrong.

        And in the second fantasizing instance, which I strongly suspect is the real source of the imagery, his imagination presents itself to the unbiased observer as that of a would-be wife-beater. In other words, not at all a nice man.

      • Mooser
        December 23, 2014, 12:46 pm

        ” In other words, not at all a nice man.”

        And hardly, by any means, an original man.
        I’ve heard those same ‘how-to-handle-a-woman’ lines my whole life, and often, I swear it, before guys even lost their virginity. They’re just lines.
        Usually, it’s a safe bet that any grown man who uses those lines has screwed himself over real good in a marital break-up, and has heavy obligations, and reduced legal rights. (Restraining order, custody stipulations, alimony, etc.) And should be assiduously avoided.
        But don’t say I said so, that’s pretty tendentious stuff.

  28. hjmetro
    December 21, 2014, 11:33 am

    If we do away with ALL religions, the world will be a better and more peaceful place. Less wars and violence, less hatred, less institutionalized and internalized bigotry and more enlightenment.

    • CigarGod
      December 21, 2014, 12:31 pm

      “Do away”.
      Sounds sort of violent.

      We exist exactly where genetic determinism and evolutionary psychology place us, right?

      So…isnt the proposed solution as much a fantasy as what we seek to replace?

      Oh yeah…today is my cigar sunday…so it could just be the fumes…

    • traintosiberia
      December 21, 2014, 12:34 pm

      We have done it and it hasn’t stopped .It is in our DNA. We spin philosophy and stories and then fight over them masking the deeper reasons for the fights . I call it the latent factor analysis . But still that possibly doesn’t capture the essence of the human nature. The overt variable masks the deeper variable which masks another layers until we go down all the way to the sibling rivalry .

    • rhkroell
      December 21, 2014, 2:35 pm

      Attempts to impose dogmatic atheism on sizable groups of heterogeneous populations in an apodeictic manner has not been an effective strategy, historically, for organizing human communities. Many individuals like to believe in freedom of thought and action (and/or free will) as well as individual liberty (and/or “open”/experimental forms of community), especially when faced with adults raised in different cultural milieus. A better strategy, it seems to me, would be to give (headstrong) human beings a range of choices: atheism, agnosticism, different forms of skepticism, and sophisticated forms of tolerant belief systems like religious pluralism.

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