The joining of Islam and Liberty at this event shows that Muslims are neither violent nor militant entirely, even not at all.
Rula Jebreal, Newsweek‘s very own Italian-Palestinian foreign policy analyst and a self-described “secular Muslim,” appeared on HBO‘s Real Time with Bill Maher, in which she gets into a heated altercation with host Bill Maher over his invitation to Berkeley University where he is supposed to go and issue his commencement speech to the school’s students who are graduating from the university. Of course a number of Berkeley students set up a petition at Change.org to disinvite Maher over his bigoted, anti-Muslim comments which he is known for making. This comes on the heels of his assertions he made about Islam to actor Ben Affleck and author and blogger Sam Harris on his show, who were all in a heated debate with each other on whether or not the religion is a threat and made up of violent worshiping thugs.
Jebreal is an awful representative of the Muslim community. As Will Coley, the National Director of Muslims 4 Liberty, put it to me in private, on Real Time, she turned an entire debate into a “you’re-so-mean-to-Muslims” argument rather than arguing on the facts and merits of the spirituality and religiosity of the Muslim faith as well as the illogic of Maher’s bigoted view that all Muslims are wanna-be Jihadists and members of ISIS and want to forcibly convert everyone to Islam.
Maher ranted to the students of Berkeley in which he excoriated them for inviting and then disinviting him because of his bigoted views after his spat with Affleck on the show. Maher quotes religious Muslim scholar (and political commentator) Reza Azlan as having said in a HuffPost Live interview:
[Bill Maher’s] not a bigot. I know him.
(It’s interesting Azlan says this about Maher, when a month ago on CNN he referred to Maher as “not being very sophisticated” on Islam and “having facile arguments” about it.)
I don’t know about anyone else, but Maher was using generalizations about a particular religion which happens to be Islam. Isn’t that “the definition of bigotry” as Azlan pointed out on that CNN show?
It sounds like Azlan has done an about-face on this matter because of his cozy relationship with Maher (who is more or less a Zionist comedian because of his militant Jewish heritage and atheist beliefs).
Furthermore, Jebreal and the “heated” exchange that transpired during the course of the so-called “debate” on the program shows how idiotic her rationale is and what a bigot Maher is:
Of course, the entire unfriendly exchange didn’t end there. At the near end of the Real Time Overtime after-show, Maher and Jebreal kept it going at full blast:
The anti-freedom and anti-Islam machine continues unabated with Maher, Harris, and their paternalistic thugs at the helm.
Update (11-05-2014): Here are Rula Jebreal and Bill Maher “making up” backstage after the show:
“Moderately liberal” Hollywood actor Ben Affleck was furious with Real Time host Bill Maher and his interview guest and atheist Sam Harris over Maher and Harris’ attacks on Islam, considering they were painting all Muslims with a very thick brush because of ISIS and other groups of radical theists like them. Affeck appeared to be increasingly uncomfortable while Maher, Harris, and the entire panel were for all intents and purposes smashing them and tearing them apart.
While we have two atheists who are attacking the followers of Islam and calling their ideas “bad,” it is without a doubt that Harris and Maher are painting an entire religious community and their spiritual and religious convictions with a very hard, thick brush.
“Why are you so hostile about this?” Maher asked Affleck.
“It’s gross, it’s racist,” Affleck replied.
“It’s so not,” Maher insisted, though Affleck compared it to using the term, “Shifty Jew.”
“You’re not listening to what we are saying,” Maher insisted.
“You guys are saying, if you want to be liberal, believe in liberal principles,” Affleck said, referencing Maher’s monologue last week. “Like, we are endowed by our forefathers with inalienable rights, all men are created equal.”
Harris, who had complained about criticism of the Muslim religion being dismissed as Islamophobic, countered that liberals should be allowed to criticize bad ideas.
“Islam is the motherload of bad ideas,” Harris argued.
“Jesus,” Affleck said in frustration.
“That’s just a fact,” Maher said, backing Harris up.
Journalist Nicholas Kristof then cut in, telling Maher he was painting an “incomplete” picture of the religion by failing to account reformers like activist Malala Yousafzai.
“Or 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?” Affleck said.
But Harris countered that the strongest voices in Islam belong to not only extremists, but conservative Muslims who, while criticizing terrorist groups, still follow practices that keep other members of their communities “immiserated.”
“It’s the only religion that acts like the mafia,” Maher said. “They will f*cking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”
Former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele pointed out that Muslim clerics from several countries have condemned the actions of groups like the Islamic State, without getting much attention for it.
“Where was the coverage?” Steele asked. “Where was that story to create a different picture?”
Affleck then rebuffed Maher’s attempt to laugh the discussion off.
“I’m simply telling you, I disagree with you,” Affleck said, before Maher cut him off.
“I know, and we’re obviously not convincing anybody,” Maher said.