Following the terrorist attacks at the offices of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, the issue of Islam and religion is back in focus. During the season premier of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the controversial host made headlines again.
Twelve cartoonists and journalists were killed Wednesday morning when Islamic terrorists stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo. After a brief shootout, the suspect fled the scene, but were later surrounded in a warehouse and killed by police. The final suspect, a woman named Hayat Boumeddiene, is still at large. The hashtag “#JeSuisCharlie,” or “I am Charlie” began trending on Twitter and throughout social media, and was the number one topic in cable news and around the political watercooler. This topic was discussed on the Jan. 9 edition of “Real Time” on HBO.
“Here’s the thing about making that distinction — and there should be a distinction, because obviously the vast majority of Muslims would never do anything like this,” host Bill Maher told the panel. Maher is a strong critic of religion and, while he did praise Muslims who spoke out against the tragedy, he did state that they “share bad ideas” with the terrorists.
“These two guys who shot up the cartoonists the other day, they were ‘avenging the prophet.’ A bad idea,” Maher continued, noting that “Martyrdom” was also “a bad idea.” Panelist Carly Fiorina added, “the subjugation of women, a bad idea.” Maher concluded his thought, noting that “the terrorists and the mainstream (Muslims) share a lot of these bad ideas.”
Author Salman Rushdie, himself a victim of a fatwa by Iran’s then Ayatollah Khomeini, was also on the panel, and made it a point to highlight those Muslims who have attempted to distance themselves from the Islamic extremists. “All over France, there were French Muslims standing up and saying, ‘We are French, this is not our team,” Rushie stated.
“This has been a mutation that a lot of work has been put into. A lot of governments — from the Sunni side, the Saudi government; on the Shia side, the Iranian government — have been putting fortunes of money into making sure that extremist mullahs are preaching in mosques around the world…and in building and developing schools in which people of a whole generation is being educated in extremism, and trying to prevent other forms of education.”
Maher has been critical of religion for some time, releasing a documentary titled “Religulous” in 2008 that took all religions head on. In Nov. 2014, Maher and notable atheist, Sam Harris, got into a heated discussion with actor Ben Affleck and a Muslim journalist and Islamic apologist, Rula Jebreal, also on an episode of “Real Time.”