“I know most Muslim people would not have carried out an attack like this,” the host of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher said on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. “But here’s the important point: Hundreds of millions of them support an attack like this. They applaud an attack like this. What they say is, ‘We don’t approve of violence, but you know what? When you make fun of the Prophet, all bets are off.”
“Hundreds of millions of Muslims?” a clearly skeptical Kimmel asked his fellow comedian, an out and proud atheist who in recent years has targeted the adherents of Islam for harsh criticism.
“Absolutely,” Maher insisted. “That is mainstream in the Muslim world. When you make fun of the Prophet, all bets are off. You get what’s coming to you. It’s also mainstream that if you leave the religion, you get what’s coming to you—which is death. Not in every Muslim country… but this is the problem in the world that we have to stand up to.”
He continued, “I’m the liberal in this debate,” adding that he grew up in a family that supported John F. Kennedy over racist Southern governments in the fight for civil rights. “The reason we were liberals is we were against oppression.”
Needless to say, Maher’s vitriolic rant drew few laughs from the studio audience, which seemed stunned into silence by his uncompromising anger.
Maher’s well-known anti-Islamic views have come in for severe criticism in recent months from moderate Muslims and even prominent liberals (such as Ben Affleck on an installment of Real Time) who’ve accused him of intolerance and ignorance.
He praised the murdered editors, writers, and cartoonists of the satirical magazineCharlie Hebdo for their bravery in lampooning Muslims in the face of death threats and even the November 2011 firebombing of their offices. “These guys had the balls of the Eiffel Tower. Their balls were bigger than Gerard Depardieu,” Maher said.
Politically correct liberals have turned America into “Pussy Nation.”
By contrast, he said in a line that was partially bleeped during the broadcast, the politically correct liberals of the United States, especially those who’ve been arguing for sensitivity to delicate Muslim sensibilities, had turned America into “Pussy Nation.”
When Kimmel warned that Maher was turning on his fellow liberals, Maher corrected, “No. I’m asking them to turn toward the truth. I’m the liberal in this debate. I’m for free speech. To be a liberal, you have to stand up for liberal principles. It’s not my fault that the part of the world that is most against liberal principles is the Muslim part of the world.”
Maher cited an unidentified “study” of 130 countries in which 17 majority Muslim countries ranked in the bottom 20 regarding the treatment of women. “In 10 Muslim countries, you can get the death penalty just for being gay. They chop heads off in the square in Mecca. Well, Mecca is their Vatican City. If they were chopping heads off gay people in Vatican City, wouldn’t there be a bigger outcry among liberals?”
When the show resumed after a commercial break, Maher’s bile had not run out, and he spent the next several minutes venting at Bill Cosby. Not only had the iconic comedian sexually assaulted many, many women, Maher argued, “I never thought he was funny.” He added: “People say he deserves his day in court… Do we have enough time?”
Maher drew a contrast between the embattled Cosby, who has so far been accused by some 30 alleged victims, to such high-profile alleged offenders as Woody Allen, “who had one accuser,” and the late Michael Jackson, “who had two or three accusers,” young boys who said he fondled them.
Recounting a childhood incident on the school playground, where one bully held him down while another socked him repeatedly in the face, Maher said that given the choice between that and “being jerked off by a pop star”—another bleeped phrase—he’d take the latter.