Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, Nicholas Kristol, Michael Steele and Sam Harris got into a heated debate over Maher’s comments on Islam from last week, where the controversial TV host claimed that being a Muslim is like being in the Mafia. A furious Affleck responded: “It’s just an ugly thing to say. It’s gross, it’s racist. It’s like saying: “Oh you shifty Jew”.”
The Oscar-winning celebrity was also appalled when another guest on the talk show — author Sam Harris — said that Islam was the “mother lode of bad ideas”. The trio clashed while debating whether large numbers of Muslims share the beliefs of the jihadists. The debate began with Harris, who is promoting his new book Waking Up, stating: “Liberals have failed on the topic of theocracy. They’ll criticize white theocracy, they’ll criticize Christianity. They still get agitated over the abortion clinic bombing that happened in 1984. The crucial point of confusion is we have been sold this meme of Islamophobia — where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam is conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people. Which is intellectually ridiculous.”
Affleck then responded by saying: “Are you the person who understands the officially codified doctrine of Islam.” Harris replied: “I am actually well educated in this subject”, which led to Affleck asking: “You are saying that Islamophobia is not a real thing?”. Maher then interjected: “That’s not what we are saying” and Harris added: “We have to be able to criticize bad ideas and Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas”. Then came Affleck’s response: “It’s an ugly thing to say”.
Maher replied: “Let’s get down to who has the right answer. A billion people you say, all these people don’t hold these pernicious beliefs. That’s just not true Ben, that’s just not true. You say its down to these few bad apples, but the idea that someone should be killed if they leave the Islamic religion is just a few bad apples…” Affleck then responds: “The people who actually believe that you should murder someone if you dishonor the Islamic faith is not with the majority of Muslims at all”.
Explaining the share of followers who believe in certain ideals, Harris said: “At the center of the circle you have jihadists who wake up ion the morning wanting to kill apostates, wanting to die trying, they believe in paradise, they believe in martyrdom. Outside of this you have Islamists. People who are just convinced of martyrdom and paradise and wanting to force their religion on the rest of humanity. But they want to work with in the system and they are not willing to blow themselves up on a bus. They want to change governments, they want to use democracy against itself. Those two circles are arguably 20 per cent of the Muslim world. Based on a bunch of polls that we can talk about.”
That prompted Affleck to ask: “How about the more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punish women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, and don’t do any of the things you say all Muslims do?”. To that Maher responded: “One reason they (other views) don’t get exposed is because they are afraid to speak out. Because it’s the only religion that acts like the Mafia. That will f***ing kill if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book”. And on it went — just watch the whole thing below.
1. Ben Affleck responds after another guest on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher suggests that Islam is the “mother lode of bad ideas”.
2. Host Bill Maher (left) said that following Islam was like being a member of the Mafia while author Sam Harris (right) claimed Islamaphobia was just a “meme”.
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