Bill Maher’s Muddled Attacks on Islam

As an edgy comedian, Bill Maher prides himself on his “politically incorrect” religion-bashing, but his excessive attacks on Islam more aptly reflect a “politically correct” bigotry, as JP Sottile explains.

By JP Sottile

Bill Maher thinks he knows exactly why they hate us. In the world according to Bill, all those agitated Muslims on the receiving end of multiple interventions, numerous “double-tap” drone strikes, countless tons of falling bombs, the systematic imprisonment of “rendered” individuals and the widespread use of lawless torture are, simply put, the outgrowth of a backwards belief system. And those beliefs also inspire a type of religious violence that’s become a destructive force unparalleled in today’s world.

Comedian Bill Maher.

The “today” part is important to Maher because he doesn’t like the “false equivalence” of historical context. Instead, he’s decidedly on the side of “that was then, this is now.” So, forget Christian Crusaders, Spanish Inquisitors, Philistine-purging Israelites or, one would assume, any of human history’s numerous examples of holy war-making.

Also not equivalent are recent mass murders of Sikhs in Wisconsin and of Muslims in Quebec. And don’t bother bringing up the growing list of identity-based violence against Muslims or, perhaps most tellingly, of mistaken identity-based violence against those who are ignorantly thought to be Muslims, but aren’t.

Somehow, America’s long, demonstrable history of putting ethnic cleanliness next to its own obsessive Godliness doesn’t quite cut it either, burning crosses and Native American genocide notwithstanding. No, history doesn’t reverberate in the Islamophobic echo chamber … unless, of course, we’re talking about the “warlike” history of long-since faded Islamic empires. Then all’s fair in this one-sided front on the anti-religious war being waged by the so-called “New Atheists.”

The New Atheism

Maher and his confrontational cohorts — like famed geneticist Richard Dawkins and anti-Muslim gadfly Sam Harris — have targeted Islam as something far more pernicious than just another fantasy-based religion with the usual roster of fundamentalists, self-appointed prophets and violent opportunists.

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

For them, Islam is sui generis. Islam is, according to their unique atheist orthodoxy, both violent and repressive in ways that make it wholly unique. Islam is not just an intellectual error, but a dangerous cultural cancer.

Essentially, these New Atheists have simplified a question almost as old as the “War on Terror” it so inadequately tries to explain. For them, the answer is clear. They hate us because Islam is the enemy of the “liberal” values and, by extension, of the entire civilized world.

Perhaps that’s why Maher doesn’t think jihadi terrorist groups or random incidents of jihadi-inspired violence are better explained as the irrational acts of individual insanity or as the predictable blowback from 75 years of American meddling the Middle East. That is, of course, if you consider “meddling” an adequate description of America’s history of profitable relationships with brutal dictators.

Maher’s “they-hate-our-liberal values” explanation is certainly an inadequate characterization of 25 years of continuous bombing in the region … and of CENTCOM’s random application of kinetic force in numerous Muslim countries over the same period. “Meddling” also falls short of describing the multi-year drone war on “suspected militants” and, all-too-often, on innocent civilians.

On the other hand, “meddling with benefits” might best describe the post-colonial period in a poorly-partitioned region where receding Western powers exploited the maps they’d drawn to great effect. The divided nations they created were fairly easy for corporate neo-colonialists to conquer or control — whether they sought oil, or sold weapons to those who had the oil, but needed protection … sometimes from their “own people.” And then there’s Uncle Sam’s meddling (a.k.a. complicity) in the never-ending displacement of the Palestinian people.

But those niggling details tend to cloud the clear-as-day view of Islam that Maher shares with those who see it as an enemy of civilization. That’s certainly the view of die-hard evangelicals like Franklin Graham, of defense industry shills at the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation, and of the assorted denizens of the increasingly profitable Islamophobia industry.

In effect, Maher and the New Atheists have joined a legion of doomsayers led by the indefatigable Pamela Geller, the paranoia-stricken Frank Gaffney, Steve Bannon’s profit-seeking Breitbart and Trump’s momentary National Security Advisor Lt. General Michael Flynn.

Packaged for Liberals

To be fair, Maher doesn’t employ the same type of paranoid histrionics that both buoys and enriches those right-wing poseurs and the other troubling Islamophobes who’ve found a home in Trump’s White House. Rather, Maher makes a “liberal” argument about the need to stand up for “progressive” values like equality for women, free speech and freedom of religious conscience. He rightly points to countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan as places where a basic level of human rights is not available to women, to religious minorities, to homosexuals or to anyone not willing to conform to fundamentalist orthodoxy.

On Feb. 13, 1991, a U.S. airstrike on Baghdad, Iraq, killed at least 408 civilians, mostly women in children, inside the Amiriyah bomb shelter.

Ironically, and perhaps not coincidentally, some of the places where progressive values are least likely to be embraced are the same countries America has mostly closely supported — Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Also not coincidentally, the places where America has exerted the most influence are also the places that produce many of the violent individuals and groups through which Maher judges the planet’s Muslims.

Unsurprisingly, Maher and the New Atheists are loathe to concede the notable shades of gray around the Islamic world — from the women serving in parliament and working as professionals in Iran to the quite different Muslim experiences found in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Balkans. Nor do they mention the fact that Muslim-majority nations have had more women reach the top political spot (eleven) than the United States (zero). It doesn’t quite fit into their zero-sum game.

Punchy Lines

Still, if Maher was making the point that the United States is too often a handmaiden to … or crass beneficiary of … repression in regimes that hold some economic and/or strategic value to the defense industry and/or the oil industry, he’d likely garner support from many of the progressives he often scolds. But he doesn’t.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

Instead he and his fellow finger-pointers rail against the Quran as the “motherlode of bad ideas.” Maher says Islam is “the only religion that acts like the Mafia” and even assured Muslim-American Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, that the Quran is a hate-filled holy book.”

Maher’s presentation is a “schlock and awe” shtick that burnishes his credentials as a self-appointed bullshit detector. It preserves his long-standing brand as an anti-PC crusader and, like so many great comedians before him, as someone willing to “go there” even if it makes people uncomfortable.

Perhaps that’s why Maher’s accused his fellow liberals of giving Islam a “free pass” when it comes to their “repressive” culture. And why he’s reprimanded anyone who disagrees with his assertion that Islam is both a particularly violent and a peculiarly “backward” religion that is totally incompatible with the modern world (whatever that is).

He’s made a point of criticizing the “cultural relativism” that compares Islamic-based violence with violence linked to other religions — particularly violence linked to Christianity. As Maher infamously told Charlie Rose back in 2014, to “claim that this religion is like other religions is just naive and plain wrong.”

This politically incorrect posture has made fans of die-hard Christian commentators. But this is also where his punchy argument — and his disdain for context — betrays him. Why? Because it fails to account for the cruel crimes against humanity currently being driven by hard-line, radical Buddhists in Myanmar. Yes, it’s true … Buddhists have fomented a widespread program of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya minority which is, oddly enough, a Muslim minority.

Hindus Too?

Maher’s posture ignores the rise of Hindu extremism in India, where the problem of religious violence and persecution is growing under the Hindu nationalist  Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Vice reported that religious minorities in India “averaged one attack per day” in 2015. Muslims in particular have experienced an increase of random violence since Modi came to power. And last year, attacks on the Christian minority grew three-fold with a church “burnt down or a cleric beaten on average 10 times a week,” according  to a report by Open Doors UK & Ireland.

President George W. Bush in a flight suit after landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln to give his “Mission Accomplished” speech about the Iraq War on May 1, 2003.

It is also true that the radical settler movement in Israel has its own hyper-fundamentalists who believe divine right has given them carte blanche to purge the Holy Land of both Muslims and Christians. In 2016, radicalized settlers produced “an average of 2 incidents of settler violence per week,” according to a United Nations report. Yes, we know about Hamas’ radical Islamic violence.

But human rights organization B’Tselem  is monitoring the persistent problem of Jewish violence because there is such a thing as “radical Judiasm.” And Israel’s “Ultra-Orthodox” fundamentalists have a familiar, anti-liberal problem with women worshipping next to men, riding the bus with men and with a belief in the “unclean” nature of the feminine.

Let’s be honest … it’s a fundamentalist tendency shared among the three Abrahamic cousins. Even now America’s Vice President Mike Pence believes married men shouldn’t risk cavorting with other women, may believe it’s possible to “pray the Gay away,” absolutely believes gay marriage is tantamount to “societal collapse” and is the standard bearer for a well-established Evangelical political movement that “inspired” violence against abortion providers. And, as noted earlier, there are those troubling, religiously-inspired burning crosses of the Ku Klux Klan.

Do these religiously-sourced incidents, some of which are part of long, identifiable patterns, mean that the religions themselves are inherently pernicious? Is it possible that Maher, like the politically correct liberals he scorns, is handing out free passes to these non-Muslim religions? Or is it that religions are — like most belief or political systems — potentially useful tools to those seeking righteous justification or an organizing rationale for their rage and anger?

As a guest on Maher’s HBO show recently said regarding the “lone wolf” attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London, “it has nothing to do with Islam the same way Timothy McVeigh had nothing to do with Roman Catholicism.”

But Maher wasn’t having it. And when he was then presented with the fact that Irish Catholic separatists engaged in a deadly campaign of bombings and terrorism against those they perceived as their Protestant oppressors, again Maher bristled. He said that was “the past” (like the Inquisition, the Crusades and, apparently, those uniquely American burning crosses).

And he punctuated his point by dropping this headline-grabbing punch-line: “Every time some bomb goes off, before it goes off, somebody yells ‘Allahu Akbar!’ I never hear anybody go ‘Merry Christmas! This one’s for the flying nun!’”

It got a nice chuckle from the crowd. But history usually gets the last laugh.

History Matters

First of all, not only did the IRA and IRA “elements” repeatedly attack Christmas shoppers in London in the week before the holiday, but one such attack outside Harrod’s on Dec. 17, 1983, killed five shoppers and wounded 91 others. That bombing led to annual fears of a “Christmas Bombing” campaign all the way into the 1990s.

A scene from the “Collateral Murder” video in which an Iraqi man stops his van to aid those wounded in a lethal U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad on July 12, 2007, only to be gunned down by the American gunners.

No, the proudly Catholic authors of that attack did not say “Merry Christmas,” but their intention was clear. The bombings were not in spite of the most important religious holiday for Christians, but because of the added impact that holiday had in creating a feeling of terror among the intended target. The timing of the bombing was itself a terrifying message.

Secondly and, perhaps more pertinently, the United States used the Christmas holiday as a backdrop for one of the most brutal bombing campaigns of the post-World War II era. Officially it was called “Linebacker II,” but ever since it began on Dec. 18, 1972, the round-the-clock bombardment of Hanoi, Haiphong and the surrounding environs has been known as the “Christmas Bombing.” It was ordered by President Nixon as a punitive measure meant to terrorize the Vietnamese people and, therefore, designed to apply pressure on the Communist government to (ironically) sign a peace agreement in Paris.

Although there was a pause on Christmas Day, this momentary “gift” was cold comfort to the 1,600 people who died in that campaign. Hanoi was laid waste as America’s fleet B-52s flew a total of 741 sorties and  “dropped at least 20,000 tonnes” of bombs, according to a 40th anniversary report on the bombing by the BBC. Another report put the total at 40,000 tons. A Vietnamese source says the total — and the lingering toll on the Vietnamese people — was much higher still.

LobeLog’s David Bacon wrote a retrospective look at the psychological impact of the B-52 as an instrument of de facto terrorism. He dug up a newspaper report on a delegation visiting in the wake of the Christmas Bombing. It was led by Nuremburg jurist Telford Taylor. It also included Joan Baez and Yale University Divinity School Associate Dean Michael Allen, who said, “The most horrible scene that I’ve ever seen in my life was when we visited the residential area of Khan Thieu, and as far as I could see, everything was destroyed.”

Like the IRA, Nixon didn’t shout “Merry Christmas” when he delivered his explosive message. Then again, he didn’t really have to. As noted journalist and columnist Anthony Lewis wrote in the New York Times, “To send B-52s against populous areas such as Haiphong or Hanoi could have only one purpose: terror.” And Lewis wasn’t alone in his assessment that Nixon’s purpose was, in fact, terrorism.

Newspapers around the United States and the world condemned the bombing and the word “terror” was used by The Washington Post (“Terror Bombing in the Name of Peace,” Dec. 28), the New York Times (“Terror From the Skies,” Dec. 26), Joseph Kraft (“senseless terror”) and Dan Rather (“large scale terror bombing”). The Christmas bombing message was clear to all.

God-Fearing ‘Freedom’

But that simple symmetry is not the end of the story. That’s because the underlying propaganda of that the war — like all of America’s Cold War interventions, proxy battles and ad hoc bombings — was something Americans have (perhaps unsurprisingly, perhaps conveniently) forgotten. The plain fact is that Vietnam and the entire post-World War II period was sold as a struggle against “Godless Communism.” That may sound like a quirky anachronism today, but rest assured that the “Godlessness” of Commies, Pinkos and interloping Socialists was not only a core foundation of Cold War propaganda, but it also fed the monster of paranoia that helped create McCarthyism.

U.S. Marines leaving a compound at night in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. (Defense Department photo)

Indeed, at the same time Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, was railing against Commies in 1954, Congress was moving to add “One Nation Under God” to the pledge of allegiance. As the New York Times recalled in a 2002 article on a challenge to the constitutionality of that addition:

“The change was made to draw attention to the difference between the system of government in this country and ‘godless Communism.’ … Introducing his resolution in the Senate, Senator Homer Ferguson, Republican of Michigan, declared, ‘I believe this modification of the pledge is important because it highlights one of the real fundamental differences between the free world and the Communist world, namely belief in God.’ No one in the Senate or the House spoke in opposition.”

In fact, the vocal merger of American Christianity with Cold War anti-Communism has been cited as a spur for the 16 percent rise in church membership between 1940 and 1970. In a 2003 review of a well-received book of the topic, Dr. Merrilyn Thomas of University College London noted that it should be “self-evident” that “religion played a significant role in the Cold War … given the powerful influence of Christianity on the lives of millions of people on both sides of the Iron Curtain.”

It may not be “self-evident” now because it is simply taken for granted. We’ve inherited that era’s holy warriorism and pushed it deep into our collective subconsciously through our gaping memory hole. It’s a subtext that came to the fore when the 9/11 “changed everything.” But, then again … it really changed nothing.

Lessons Unlearnt

Perhaps the saddest fact to emerge from the bloodiest episode in America’s war on Godless Communism is that Ho Chi Minh didn’t really have to be America’s enemy. He actually thought America — with its own revolutionary past — might be an ally in his drive to liberate Vietnam from French colonial rule. It made sense since he’d worked with the OSS to battle the Japanese in World War II. But that nascent alliance became impossible as an almost religious form of zealous anti-Communism consumed Truman’s presidency, the foreign policy establishment and, by the mid-1950s, most of America’s institutions.

U.S. Marines patrol street in Shah Karez in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Storm)

Instead of seeing Ho Chi Minh as a nationalist first and a Communist second, America policymakers missed an important fact. His main goal was to liberate his nation from foreign occupation. But the foreign policy establishment viewed Vietnam and the entire world through a Manichean lens. It was the Free World versus Communism. It was good versus evil. It was a civilizational battle between the God-fearing and the God-less. And this simplistic template made it impossible to see that Communism was often as much a means to an end as it was an end unto itself.

That’s one lesson Cornell University professor and historian Frederik Logevall took from writing his 2012 book Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam.

As Logevall  said in an interview referenced by the New York Times, Ho “saw communism as the best path of development for his country, but it was always his country.” And it was the liberation of “his country” that mattered most. Even the New York Times noted in its Sept. 4, 1969 obituary that Ho was a “remarkable” statesman who “pursued his goal of Vietnamese independence” by successfully “blending Communism with nationalism.”

And that’s the unlearned lesson of the entire Cold War period. Wherever we look back and see Communist, Socialist and other radicalized insurgencies, we usually see a larger historical process of decolonization. The years after World War II are filled with examples of former colonies fighting against the re-imposition of empire after the end of World War II. Or we see the revolt of newly-liberated peoples against the post-colonial proxies, kleptocrats and petty dictatorships that essentially stood between the people and their right of true self-determination and/or economic power.

To be sure, there were also many instances of dyed-in-the-wool Reds who were true believers. Places like Cuba, China and the Soviet Union were secure enough on their own to turn inward and, ironically, transform the communist project into a statist-style religion with personality cults that smack of religion. We see it now today in North Korea. But it is undeniable that Communism was also an effective organizing and recruitment tool that gave adherents a strong sense of group cohesion and ideological discipline that made them both effective fighters and committed believers.

Moreover, Communism was itself often criticized as a pseudo-religious paradigm that crystallized the terms of the fight into divided the world into the oppressors and the oppressed (a.k.a. infidels and believers). This mirrored the way America divided the world into the God-loving free world and the “Evil” empire of Godless Communism. In many ways, Communism became the logical “belief system” for those organizing resistance to the real or perceived American imperialism of the post-war period. It’s almost an irrefutable matter of political physics that the forceful imposition of the American Century would elicit an equal and opposite reaction. These reactions are as predictable as gravity.

Belief System Breakdown

Sadly, the coming of the War on Terror revealed exactly how little America learned from the bloodletting of Vietnam. Osama bin Laden began his Holy War as a project to eject “infidels” from Saudi Arabia — the holiest of Islam’s lands and his home nation. The infidels were American troops and they were there because they were “meddling” in Iraq — a place where America’s one-time client had become its foe. But America’s oil-thirsty neo-colonial protection racket put it right in the crosshairs of bin Laden and many others who resented America’s presence. Ironically, that resentment had its roots in yet another resistance movement — the CIA-generated plot to expel another set of invaders from a Muslim land.

Osama bin Laden, founder of Al Qaeda

That’s right … like Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong and countless other ideological leaders of the Twentieth Century … the CIA realized the power of a coherent belief system to create exactly the type group cohesion and hard-won discipline necessary to fight an asymmetrical war against a superior invader. That’s what Saudi Wahhabism and Salafism offered the adherents who flocked to the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan.

Perhaps the CIA took note of the power of Shiite fundamentalism to organize resistance when their hand-picked, highly-Westernized leader in Iran was quickly toppled by a religious coup that was as much an anti-colonial fight as it was anything else. It’s a lesson as Russia learned in neighboring Afghanistan when they were ejected by comparatively lightly-armed foe reinforced by their hardcore beliefs.

It’s strangely fitting that the Muslim faith of the Mujahedeen helped to bring down the “Evil Empire” of Godless Communism. Unfortunately, their American benefactors filled that vacuum with their own ambitions for a unipolar world and, in the process, left Afghanistan with little more than rubble to show for their help.

With America now unopposed on the world stage, it began a renewed era of “meddling” around the Muslim world that led to the arrival troops in Saudi Arabia (1990), the basing of the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain (1995), the establishment of Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti (2002) and a vast array of smaller deployments around the globe. This compounded the damage from U.S. indifference to Palestinian aspirations for self-determination and from a decade of sanctions and bombing in Iraq that reportedly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children.

Albright’s Endorsement

Whether that story is a fact or a myth, all that really matters is that the story was widely known. In 1996, it was bitterly reinforced by then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright when she infamously told Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes that the Iraq’s sanction-related deaths were “worth it.”

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speaking at an Atlantic Council event.

Why? Because America’s former client — Saddam Hussein — needed to be punished. This is the same Saddam Hussein the United States armed in the 1980s to fight Iran. That’s the same Iran the United States was simultaneously — and quite illegally — arming to fight Saddam. And this, like so many other details, may be inexorably stuffed somewhere in America’s bottomless memory hole.

But, like a long litany of interventions, drone-delivered executions and troubling crimes committed since 9/11 (yes, torture and extralegal imprisonment are crimes), it’s a fact widely known around the Muslim world. Don’t doubt for a minute that Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and the ever-present menace of hovering drones are foremost in the hearts and minds of many Muslims.

Given that fact, it is any real surprise that the Muslim world sees the United States and its allies as enemies? Is it really because — as the New Atheists and Right-wing Islamophobes believe (note that is, in fact, a belief) — the Muslim faith is uniquely ill-equipped to be part of their “civilized” world? Or is it that Islam is just the latest example of an ideology or religion being used to organize, to inspire and to marshal angry, displaced and/or aspirational human beings in a fight against a superior foe?

If history is our guide, radical jihadism looks like an opportune way to organize resistance to what many Muslims see as an American Century of violent “meddling” and political imposition through brutal proxies and neo-colonial adventurism. It is blowback. The New Atheists — and befuddled Americans — should look no further than the most recent slaughters of civilians in Yemen and Mosul for the replenishment of the already manifold reasons why they hate us.

And as for the often-cited the rejection of Western “liberal” values? Like the rejection of “decadent Capitalism” by fundamentalist Communism during the Cold War, it makes sense that Islamic fundamentalism would target anything that smacks of the Western world. And like other ideologies of resistance and revolution, it directs people’s anger toward the accouterments and symbols of the dominant power in their lives — whether directly imposed or imposed through proxies.

If that’s what radical Muslim jihadism is … then it is infinitely more comprehensible than Bill Maher, the New Atheists and Right-wing Islamophobes are willing to accept or admit. Maybe Islam isn’t a puzzling cancer that has to be excised. Maybe jihadism is a means, not an end. And maybe the brutal insanity of the Islamic State is more an echo of the excesses of the Khmer Rouge, Stalin’s purges, Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Robespierre’s Reign of Terror than it is a logical conclusion of the Islamic faith. And maybe … just maybe … the radicalism around Muslim world can be seen in a larger context of history. That means acknowledging the extent to which America and its repressive proxies have set the terms of the debate around the Muslim world for the better part of a century.

Ultimately, it’s most important to recognize that Maher is, at best, misguided when he says there aren’t “Christian terrorist armies like ISIS.” As far as many Muslims on the receiving end of officially-sanctioned violence from the U.S. military, that’s probably a distinction without much of a difference. And if there’s any doubt about America’s own lingering fundamentalism, take note that few things would be more futile today than trying to get Congress to scrub that Cold War-era religious test from the Pledge of Allegiance.

JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, radio co-host, documentary filmmaker and former broadcast news producer in Washington, D.C. He blogs at or you can follow him on Twitter, http://twitter/newsvandal.

261 comments for “Bill Maher’s Muddled Attacks on Islam

  1. kntlt
    April 14, 2017 at 08:22

    Thank you Mr. Sottile for speaking the truth. The truth brings understanding and understanding develops satisfactory solutions.

  2. Abe
    April 13, 2017 at 20:34

    The 1948 expulsions of 700,000 Muslims were not decided on an ad hoc basis by the Jews in Palestine, but constituted a premeditated terror-driven ethnic cleansing campaign in accordance with Plan Dalet, drawn up in 1947 by the future leaders of the Israeli State (the first iteration of IS).

    Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has discussed the actual motivations of secular Zionist Jewish colonists in Palestine:

    “The secular Jews who founded the Zionist movement wanted paradoxically both to secularize Jewish life and to use the Bible as a justification for colonizing Palestine; in other words, they did not believe in God but He nonetheless promised them Palestine.

    “This precarious logic was recognized even by the founder of the Zionist movement himself, Theodore Herzl, who therefore opted for Uganda, rather than Palestine, as the promised land of Zion. It was the pressure of Protestant scholars and politicians of the Bible, especially in Britain, who kept the gravitation of the Zionist movement towards Palestine.

    “For them it was a double bill: you get rid of the Jews in Europe, and at the same time you fulfill the divine scheme in which the second coming of the Messiah will be precipitated by the return of the Jews — and their subsequent conversion to Christianity or their roasting in hell should they refuse.

    “From that moment onwards the Bible became both the justification for, and the map of, the Zionist colonization of Palestine. Hardcore Zionists knew it would not be enough: colonizing the inhabited Palestine would require a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing. But portraying the dispossession of Palestine as the fulfillment of a divine Christian scheme was priceless for galvanizing global Christian support behind Zionism.

    “The Bible was never taught as a singular text that carried any political or even national connotation in the various Jewish educational systems in either Europe or in the Arab world. What Zionism derogatorily called ‘Exile’ – the fact that the vast majority of Jews lived not in Palestine but communities around the world – was considered by most religious Jews as an imperative existence and the basis for Jewish identity in modern time.

    “Jews were not asked to do all they can to end the ‘Exile’ – this particular condition could have only been transformed by the will of God and could not be hastened or tampered with by acts such as the one perpetrated by the Zionist movement.

    “One of the greatest successes of the secular Zionist movement was creating a religious Zionist component that found rabbis willing to legitimize this act of tampering by claiming that the very act itself was proof that God’s will has been done.

    “These rabbis accepted the secular Zionist idea to turn the Bible into a book that stands by itself and conceded that a superficial knowledge of it became a core of one’s Jewishness even if all the other crucial religious imperatives were ignored.

    “These were the same rabbis who after the 1967 War used the Bible as both the justification and roadmap for the judaization and de-Arabization of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem.”

    The mid-20th century “New Atheist” Jews were happy to appeal to religion if it helped them seize the land they coveted in Palestine.

    So you see, these Habara trolls aren’t totally muddled. The reason why they deliberately avoid in-depth discussions of Zionist Jewish colonialism is because the terrorist actions of IS are indefensible, even for most Jewish people.

    The knuckle draggers prefer historical distortions about the Ottomans, the Crusades, or the depradations of the Al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists. They assiduously avoid discussions of U.S. and Israeli collusion with these terrorist proxy forces, or the fact most of the terrorists’ victims are Muslims.

    Hasbara trolls are like Nazi anti-Semites. Instead of blaming “the Jews” for all evil in the world, they eagerly blame “the Muslims”.

    Squeeze these knuckle dragging racists a bit and they’ll trot out the Hitler analogies. Generally they avoid direct discussion of the Nazi Holocaust because it was overwhelmingly perpetrated by non-Muslims, which doesn’t align with their preferred anti-Islam narrative.

    Israel’s knuckle dragging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was denounced for saying it was a Palestinian, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who gave Hitler the idea of annihilating European Jews during World War II.

    In October 2015, Netanyahu said in a speech to the Zionist Congress that “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews.” Netanyahu claimed that the Mufti of Jerusalem “had a central role in fomenting the final solution” by flying to Berlin and urging Hitler to “burn” the Jews.

    Professor Meir Litvak, a historian at Tel Aviv University, called the speech “a lie” and “a disgrace.” Professor Moshe Zimmermann, a specialist of German history at Hebrew University, said, “With this, Netanyahu joins a long line of people that we would call Holocaust deniers.”

    Netanyahu has repeatedly indulged in such historical distortions precisely because they appeal to a far-right racist sector of Jews in Israel and worldwide.

  3. Bjdeed
    April 13, 2017 at 09:17

    Muslim men permitted to hit wives in a soft and ‘symbolic’ way, Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia women say.

    How sweet. What an enlightened and civilised religion! How could I have been so blind? There are no words! I’m moved to tears!

    You guys must be so pleased for defending Islam.
    Now I see how beating a woman is such a beautiful blessing!

    • Irene
      April 13, 2017 at 12:01

      The point is not to judge all claimed adherents to a religion based on the actions of a few and not to start yet another unecessary war based on those judgements. Not sure why this is so difficult for you to grasp. Why is it you are so compelled to hate someone?

    • Abe
      April 13, 2017 at 13:01

      The same article notes “It was widely condemned, including in a statement signed by 34 sheikhs and prominent Muslims which said the promotion of violence is ‘against the spirit and letter of Islam’ and ‘undermines the love, mercy and mutual support that should define a Muslim marriage’.”

      Violence against women and its rejection on religious grounds have been a despicable feature of the past and present history of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and many other religions.

      For example:

      Knuckle dragging racists love to dredge up “evidence” to justify their vile beliefs.

      The muddled Hasbara trolls who seem permanently encamped on this article are so utterly dim that they contradict themselves with the very “evidence” they cite.

  4. nupura
    April 13, 2017 at 01:36

    You must say killing infidels, taking yazidis as slaves is wrong, even in war times. This is going on since long.

    The revelation that muslim doctrine condones killing of infidels, as can be seen in modern times for Yazidis. This is the story that has been repeated in India, 500,000 hindus resided in city of Karachi before the partition. Upto 20-25% of Pakisthan population were hindus decades before the partition. City of lahore had significant hindu population. The Kashmir valley had a prosperous pundit community that had survived Aurangzeb, Taimur lang, the ghories, gazanis and abdalis.

    Above places have no hindus left. Looking at today’s India, pundits don’t go back to the valley, similar situation in many villages in UP.

    your head is buried in bubbles of misinformation. You must say killing infidels, taking yazidids as slaves is wrong, even in war times. you must say killing infidels, xyz-theists are unacceptable in modern age.

    • Abe
      April 13, 2017 at 14:16

      Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others all have despicable histories of killing persons who do not adhere to their respective religions.

      Jewish and Christian anti-Muslim racist rants about verses in the Quran that command Muslims to kill non-Muslims ignore the verses in the Bible commanding the same thing and things that are equally barbaric:

  5. Handsome Jack
    April 12, 2017 at 19:37

    I love how Muslim apologists like this fool of an author only have an attention span of like 8 – 12 years, and fail to understand this has been the enemy for 1400 years and it won’t stop trying to spread. That’s why we finally toppled the Ottomans in WW1, thats why we tried to wall it all in after WW2.

  6. Fergus Hashimoto
    April 12, 2017 at 15:15

    This rant against Bill Maher is riddled with logical and factual errors. Here are a few of them:
    Sottile implies that the cause of islamic terrorism is blowback. Are the church bombings in Egypt retaliation for Coptic crimes against Muslims. How about the recent truck jihad killings in Sweden? Revenge for Swedish war crimes?
    The Christian crusades happened centuries ago, when Christianity was still predominantly a primitive, sadistic religion.
    “Mass murders of Sikhs in Wisconsin” Why should Muslims avenge the murder of Sikhs? That’s a decision for Sikhs to make, not Muslims. Under Pakistani sharia law, Sikhs are a downtrodden minority. Sottile obviously grasping at straws.
    Humanity is slowly emerging from barbarism. Any reference to past events must be carefully scrutinized for its current relevance.
    “Anti-Muslim gadfly Sam Harris” as Sottile calls him, is very knowledgeable about Islam. If Sottie dismisses him so contemptuously, he should first explain his grounds for so doing. The fact that he fails to do so is very telling.
    Why constantly charge people with being “anti-Muslim“ when they criticize Islam? Why do you inextricably identify people with their respective religions? This is a meme extracted directly from islamic fundamentalist thinking.

    • Abe
      April 12, 2017 at 18:39

      Why can’t Fergus “Johnny” Hashimoto read?

      “Johnny” indignantly claims that Sottile’s article on anti-Muslim blowhard Bill Maher is “riddled with logical and factual errors”. He generously cites two examples to enlighten us.

      The first demonstration of “Johnny’s” inability to read is his insistence that Sottile merely “implies that the cause of Islamic terrorism is blowback” and is “grasping at straws”.

      In fact, for those of us with the ability to read, Sottile explicitly refers to “predictable blowback from 75 years of American meddling the Middle East” and specifically mentions “America’s history of profitable relationships with brutal dictators” (Saudi Arabia immediately comes to mind), “CENTCOM’s random application of kinetic force in numerous Muslim countries”, and “the multi-year drone war on ‘suspected militants’ and, all-too-often, on innocent civilians”. Sottile’s observations are logically and factually accurate,

      Failing to see the relevance of past and current events, “Johhny” predictably mutters about “barbarism”.

      The second demonstration of poor “Johnny’s” inability to read is his insistence that anti-Muslim racist Sam Harris is “very knowledgeable about Islam”. No grounds for so doing are explained. The fact that “Johnny” can’t muster a specific example of Harris’ brilliance is very telling and perfectly understandable. It would involve reading.

      Sottile briefly mentions Harris. Those able to read notice that Sottile cites the work of Sarah Lazare of AlterNet. Lazare discusses Harris’ enthusiasm for torture, zealous defense of the invasion of Iraq, and service as a spokesperson for a far-right anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist group.

      Not comprehending why people are such meanies whenever the “very knowledgable” Harris offers to take time out of his busy day to “criticize Islam” for us, our boy “Johnny” is visibly thrilled to use the word “meme” in a sentence.

      “Johnny’s” comment makes it fairly obvious why he can’t read.

      Fortunately, except for the muddled Hasbara trolls who seem permanently encamped on this article, the rest of us can and do read very well.

      • Handsome Jack
        April 12, 2017 at 19:48

        “Fortunately, except for the muddled Hasbara trolls who seem permanently encamped on this article, the rest of us can and do read very well.”

        You should probably see a psychiatrist if you’ve got multiple people in your head :/ Just sayin’

    • Handsome Jack
      April 12, 2017 at 19:45

      “The Christian crusades happened centuries ago, when Christianity was still predominantly a primitive, sadistic religion.”
      Ok, I’m going to debunk this meme too. NO! Christians were NOT primitive or sadistic, they were peaceful. The problem was they were too peaceful, which allowed the slowly spread of cancer of Islam INTO europe, which started the schism from within (like it is doing now), and christian were passive and bought into the “Oh, they like Jesus too!” bit. The Crusades begin as finally retaliating and pushing it back out of Europe. But since the Christians were weak – the Catholic Church had to enlist the dregs among its own society and promise them like instant redemption and forgiveness and maybe even bribery to be the ones to fight.
      And since centuries of those campaigns were GRUESOME, inevitably by the 4th crusade, it was pretty brutal. Especially when they realize – as all who survive Islam do – is that the only way to fight Islam is to use ITS vileness back on it. Islam feeds on fear and anger and suffering. Sith, Voldemort, Sauron – they’re all symbolizing the same thing. Vlad the Impaler had to use horizontal impalement back on the Ottomans, after being held by them for years seeing them VERTICALLY impale people. The Spanish Inquisition was doing the same back to the Muslims that conquered it.
      Were we ‘savages’ in WW2? When we have to fight off Islam again and use their means back upon them – will we be ‘savages’? Which also brings up another meme ‘Christianity has killed more than any other religions”. That’s the loser’s argument. If we’d lost to their invasion, then Islam would have more blood on its hands, but no one would be around to point it out.

      • Abe
        April 12, 2017 at 23:37

        Ah yes, the Fourth Crusade (1202–04) when Pope Innocent III originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, a sequence of events culminated in those too peaceful Christian Crusaders deciding it was more fun to sack the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Christian-controlled Byzantine Empire.

        OK, maybe not such a great example.

        How ’bout when the noble Vlad Dracul invaded Wallachia with Hungarian support in 1456. Vlad began a purge among the Wallachian boyars to strengthen his position. He came into conflict with the Transylvanian Saxons, who supported his opponents. Vlad first earned his cognomen by plundering Saxon villages, taking the captured to Wallachia, and having them impaled. After perfecting his skills at all too peaceful cruelty, he got busy with the Ottomans.

        Speaking of the good old days, there was that awesome thirty year love fest by all those too peaceful Christians in Central Europe (1618-1648). Swedish war crimes, witch burning, murder, mayhem, and impalement galore.

        Pretty brutal history.

  7. Harrold
    April 12, 2017 at 14:44

    “If history is our guide, radical jihadism looks like an opportune way to organize resistance to what many Muslims see as an American Century of violent “meddling” and political imposition through brutal proxies and neo-colonial adventurism. It is blowback.”

    Interesting that this “blowback” against America seems to have so many targets besides America: Non-Muslims, gays, apostates, Yazidis, etc. Also interesting how the significant Christian minority in the Middle East never seems engage in this particular kind of blowback. Are they less occupied/colonized or something?

  8. Bjdeed
    April 12, 2017 at 03:26

    How’s this for an awesome speech Putin delivered to the DUMA? He received a 5minute standing ovation! :

    In Russia, live like Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia to work and eat in Russia, it should speak Russian and respect Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law and live the life of Muslims, then we clearly advise them to go and live in those places where that’s the State law.”
    “Russia does not need Muslim minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination’.”
    “We will not tolerate disrespect of our Russian culture. We had better learn from the suicides of so-called democracies—America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation. The Muslims are taking over these countries and they will not take over Russia.”
    “The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways of Sharia Laws and Muslims.”
    “When this honourable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the Russian national interest first, observing that Muslim minorities are not Russians.”

    • Abe
      April 12, 2017 at 12:59

      Knuckle dragging exercise – Part Duh – from Bjdeed: “Putin latest speech” internet hoax from 2013 repost,

      From garden variety Poli-sci-major-making-Aliyah-trolling-for-beer-money to throws-rocks-at-kids-far-right-settler-loon, the Hasbara ‘splainers represent their loudmouth culture hero, Maher.

    • Handsome Jack
      April 12, 2017 at 19:50

      I’m becoming more and more of a fan of Putin

  9. Abe
    April 11, 2017 at 18:23

    War propaganda typically aims at dehumanization of the designated “enemy”.

    During the Second World War, popular anger in the U.S. at the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor amplifyied pre-war racial prejudices. The mixture of underlying American racism, wartime propaganda, hatred caused by the Japanese war of aggression, and both real and fabricated Japanese atrocities, led to a general loathing of the Japanese.

    U.S. media helped propagate the view that the Japanese were subhuman, describing them as “yellow vermin”. In an official U.S. Navy film, Japanese troops were described as “living, snarling rats”.

    In The War of the World. History’s Age of Hatred (2007), historian Niall Ferguson acknowledged “one of the most troubling aspects of the Second World War: the fact that Allied troops often regarded the Japanese in the same way that Germans regarded Russians — as Untermenschen.”

    A similar pattern of dehumanization and war propaganda is apparent in Western media rhetoric toward the religion of Islam in general , as well as specific designated “enemies”, including Syria and Iran.

    Al Qaeda and ISIS proxy forces (substantially supplied via NATO-member state Turkey) serve a secondary purpose of fueling Western public perception of an “Islamic” threat.

    Inflammatory rhetoric toward Russia and China is increasing.

    • Bjdeed
      April 12, 2017 at 03:31

      Yes and Islam dehumanises “kaffirs”. What’s your point ? You impress me .. you impress me as being a person of below average intellect who likes to think of himself as above average. Most people pick one of their strong suits to feel good about themselves.. maybe you don’t have any strong suits…are you also short, ugly and suck at sports?

  10. Bjdeed
    April 11, 2017 at 07:29

    Here is Putin’s latest speech to the DUMA – he received a 5 min standing ovation. It’s amazing how powerful the truth is when you hear/read it! Don’t you agree guys???:

    “In Russia, live like Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia to work and eat in Russia, it should speak Russian and respect Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law and live the life of Muslims, then we clearly advise them to go and live in those places where that’s the State law.”

    “Russia does not need Muslim minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination’.”

    “We will not tolerate disrespect of our Russian culture. We had better learn from the suicides of so-called democracies—America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation. The Muslims are taking over these countries and they will not take over Russia.”

    “The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways of Sharia Laws and Muslims.”

    “When this honourable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the Russian national interest first, observing that Muslim minorities are not Russians.”

  11. Ibrahim
    April 10, 2017 at 23:18

    It is sad we victimize others and pretend we are victimized by the victim

    • Handsome Jack
      April 12, 2017 at 19:53

      “Victims… aren’t we all?”
      There, now you can move on from dwelling in depression.

  12. Ns
    April 10, 2017 at 21:07

    I’m no expert on religion but in the here and now Islamic radicals seem to be committing terrorist acts on a regular basis ( Sweden and Egypt were a week or two apart ). That plus the expansionist doctrine and violence against innocent people male Bill’s comments seem plausible.

  13. DannyWeil
    April 10, 2017 at 19:00

    For me the sad part of all of this is that Americans get their news from idiots like Maher and Corbett and other such ‘humorous’men who love crisis as much as Rahm Emmanuel.

    These comic pundits now operate among youth like Bretibart operates among fascists — they are spokes people for the elite, although they pretend to be mortified with the image of babies dying.

    Capitalism does not just create inequality based on exploitation, but it creates a putrid culture of nihilism, egocentricity,sociocentricity and commercialization.

    Remember, we are not talking about Mark Twains here, but instead highly paid inner circle elites who always attempt to foister their ideas on an unwitting and uneducated mass of people.

    Anything for a laugh. Well, we are at a time of history when it is time to wake from a long slumber and stop outsourcing our thinking to pundits like Maher.

    • Handsome Jack
      April 12, 2017 at 19:55

      so.. are you FOR allowing Islamists to propagate and inevitably subjugate western societies?

  14. Skip Scott
    April 10, 2017 at 12:06

    Many Christians from Colorado Springs, Co. Air Force base (especially those who belong to an evangelical mega-church there) see our excursions into the middle east as a religious war. It is a not all that well kept secret that the Air Force is rife with these Christian soldiers, bombing the muslim hordes for Jesus.

    • Handsome Jack
      April 12, 2017 at 19:57

      But they wouldn’t be wrong, considering islam IS and fully acknowledges itself AS the antichrist in Revelations bent on world subjugation. If the muslims ae 100% devoted to their beliefs, wouldn’t you want the christian pilot whose purpose is to destroy the beast and prevent that day from coming to be 100% into his faith? Or do you want him to waver and pause, and hesitate, giving the devout Muslim the advantage?

      • Skip Scott
        April 13, 2017 at 10:21

        Boy, I don’t even know where to begin. You are living proof (not that we need any more) that there is real evil in the world.

  15. Brian Mackenzie
    April 10, 2017 at 10:38

    Quite simply you, JP Sottile, are wrong.

  16. ABC
    April 10, 2017 at 10:32

    When you can show me a Christian equivalent of ISIS, or Buddhist version of Al Qaeda, or a Hindu Boko Haram, I’ll concede that you may have a point. When you can show me a single religion whose followers carry out attacks in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, China …. even freaking Argentina, I’ll admit you are right!

    Oh, and just look at that list of countries. They are not all Western, they do not all follow the same religion (the Chinese don’t even have one), yet they are attacked by the followers one religion. What reason could there possibly be? Did India invade Iraq when I wasn’t looking? Has Nigeria been dropping bombing Muslim nations? NOPE.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 10, 2017 at 12:43

      Could the equivalent be called the U.S. Government?

      • Bjdeed
        April 12, 2017 at 09:17

        No the bilderberg group

    • Abe
      April 10, 2017 at 13:40

      A so-called “Jewish state” equivalent

      Before and after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, “followers” of the Jewish religion have carried out attacks in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East.

      State and non-state actors, and Jewish, Christian and Muslim affiliated individuals and groups, have long used religious arguments to justify acts violence and terror. However, those who carry out politically or religiously motivated attacks are not actual representatives of their respective religions.

      Terror has been effectively used to advance the geopolitical agendas of major state actors. A conspicuous example is Western-backed support for Al Qaeda terrorist forces in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.

  17. historicus
    April 10, 2017 at 09:54

    Maher proves that atheism does not grant immunity from idiocy. He’s rationalizing his hysterical fear of Islamists in the larger context of his rejection of theism. You would think a man who has the sense to understand the falsehoods of the god myth would see through the capitalist propaganda about The Evil Other – who just happens to inhabit the regions where the world’s last easily available oil reserves are located. Or that he would have knowledge of the history of the last century to see how badly these people have been screwed over by the west since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

    Maher might notice the history of his own country, where waging total bloody war against non-whites and stealing their stuff has been our national hobby for four hundred years now. Radical Islam is like the Ghost Dance of the American Indians, an ultimately suicidal supernatural fantasy in reaction to occupation and extermination by a foe too powerful to destroy by conventional warfare.

    The three patriarchal monotheistic religions have more in common than differences. The mythologies of Islam and Christianity are based on Judaism, Maher’s childhood belief system. Judaism is a hybrid faith, with recognizable elements of Persian, Egyptian, and Greek theology grafted onto the simple religion of the ancestral primitive desert nomads. The same thing happened with Christianity when the various Jesus cults became mixed with pagan beliefs in the Graeco-Roman world, though its original extremism would be somewhat tempered by the pseudo-intellectual gloss of the watered down neoplatonism added to Christianity in the 5th century to improve it marketability to educated people. Mohammed would accomplish the same synthesis when he added his beliefs onto the Jewish and Christian ideas he started with, unhappily minus the civilizing effects of classical Greek thought.

  18. Heman
    April 10, 2017 at 08:39

    It’s not religion that creates violence, it’s the people who use it to rally support for and justify their violence. Often violence is in response to the violence inflicted upon them. There are good and evil people in every religion.. Then there are people who hate one or all religions who seek to blame religion. I don’t know Maher’s stand on Judaism, but clearly is true for Christianity and Islam. Hate speech disguised as comedy.

  19. hillary
    April 10, 2017 at 08:15

    The ” Why they hate us”reason started a long time ago……

    How the War Party Sold the 1991 Bombing of Iraq to US

  20. Martin Rayner
    April 10, 2017 at 08:13

    It took hardly any time at all for the writer of this article to mention the Crusades and it was pretty much all downhill from there in the usual litany of rubbish arguments. Why leftists feel compelled to provide apologetic justification and political cover for arguably the most odious and perniciously awful religion on earth truly defies understanding.

  21. mike k
    April 10, 2017 at 08:01

    What interests me is how the powerful men who rule America have cultivated and used extremist Muslim believers – and their enemies – to further their goal of world domination. This is sticky-tricky stuff and tends to backfire on these inept and ignorant would be world-rulers who are wielding it. That they also encourage far right versions of Christianity is part of the volatile mess they have created. My hope is that enough people will wake up to their game, and not get sucked into taking sides.

    I was born in 1931 and can remember the world when there was no such thing as “Islamic terrorism” on anybody’s mind. So it’s good to realize that this so-called Muslim threat is a lot like the “Yellow Peril” of earlier times, largely a creation of Western minds. We seem to need some kind of boogey man to blame our problems (like greed for oil) on, and justify our violent attacks on other countries. Turning the people of a nation against supposedly evil fanatics of another religion seems an easy trick to mobilize hatred against those you wish to pillage. I just hope more of us wake up to this con game our leaders are playing on most of us.

    • Bjdeed
      April 11, 2017 at 07:59

      Hey you are part of it. You’ve fallen under their thrall to pump out your “let’s be nice and they will too” approach. If a dog growls at you do you walk up and pat it? It’s all about letting them get strong enough to cause real instability.

      The enemies of the rich elite ( the bilderberg group) are national governments. National governments are the only institution that the ordinary guy in the street has as a representative.

      National governments limit the power of the multinationals. So they ( the multi nationals and those that control them) make sure only “their men” are professors of the big economics schools to pump out their message.

      Think about it:
      Zero tariffs, zero regulation, free trade zones all involve national governments giving up power to multinationals so that that they can do what they want.

      This is all to increase “productivity” and GDP.
      Someone said “eternal growth is the credo of the cancer cell”.

      GDP is supposedly a measure of national wellbeing. Yet I f I owned a company and moved it offshore ( say because I could pay my foreign employees a bucket of fish heads ) and sacked the local workers GDP probably goes up! Would the nation better for that?

      Are you feeling the least bit uncomfortable yet?

      If nothing else don’t think I’m some knuckle dragging redneck who hasn’t thought about this.

      I may not agree with you but I am not an ignorant knuckle-dragging bigot or racist. You need to stop being smugly delusional in your cocoon of “accepted inherited wisdom” that nice people live in and start thinking for yourself.

  22. leo
    April 10, 2017 at 03:46

    yea right, Maher is totally correct when he says there are no Christian terrorists like ISIS, because despite picking and choosing only stawmen to rail against maher(geez you hate him I get it, you could expressed that in one sentance). Please name the Christian extremist organization releasing videos where they cut off 20 peoples heads on camera, or burn people alive? See anyone can take points and put them in a different context and obliterate them. What the author keeps groaning about, how Maher is wrong to say Christianity is not as bad, actually he said that Christianity USED TO BE AS BAD, AND IF THEY STILL WERE he would be flipping out against them as well… but as it stands there is only one religeon that cuts off peoples heads in mass and tries to have the footage broadcast across the world, and Mahers argument that the entire faith is complicit, while not totally right, is understandable when he always points out how muslims much like coworkers of a corrupt cop, seem to be mum before and after someone amongst their midst flips out and kills a bunch of “infedels” while the whole time putting women in sacks. Also I am not aware of any christian contries where public whippins and other public spectale punishments occur. I thought lethal injections were sick to broadcast, but sadly muslim countries think bloodying someone up over wearing a dress is a great wholesome way to spend the afternoon with the family. Sorry but christianity had to grow up and learn that it had no place in the world if it kept up the Inquisition. All Maher is saying, is that Islam has no place on this planet unless it cuts out this Jihad bs. And no matter how you color it, it still stinks, and only makes people sound like an apologist when they try to say treating women like their a car you own, or a sack of yams you buy, is nuts.P.S. also where does christianity still endorse slavery to this day? like Islam very much DOES… or we wouldn’t of been dealing with that Boko Haram 100 girl kidnappin bs. I dont see any other faith abducting the children of others and selling them like the good book allows. Falsey equivalency is the most correct thing to call comparing such acts and minimizing them as no big deal like everyone does it. Maybe they used to, back when they used to still crucify people. But Mahers whole point is there is only one faith still stuck in the stone age.

    • Irene
      April 10, 2017 at 09:53

      Timothy Mcveigh
      Robert Dear
      Dylann Roof
      Alexandre Bissonette
      Wade Michael Page
      Dick Cheney
      Henry Kissinger
      Anders Breivik
      Richard Poplawski
      Andrew Joseph Stack
      Ted Kaczinski
      James Holmes
      Dylan Klebold
      Eric Harris
      Elliot Rodger
      Michael F Griffin
      Scott Roeder
      Adam Lanza
      Seung-Hui Cho
      Paul Jennings Hill
      John Salvi
      James Kopp
      Eric Rudolph
      All those who helped Rudolph evade justice
      A significant percentage of border patrol agents and prison guards
      Countless thousands of cowards who hid their identities behind white hoods for decades
      Not Arab, not Muslim

    • Tom O'Neill
      April 10, 2017 at 20:15

      leo: When I was eleven, I recall seeing a newsreel of a mushroom cloud with a voice-over that this film had just captured when, in the flicker of a moment, we had extinguished the lives of about a hundred thousand men, women, and children in Hiroshima. I knew this was untrue because we are a Christian nation and a Christian nation would never do such a thing. Even if we had done it, I agree with you that a camera showing the beheading of 20 people shows something far more barbaric than a camera showing the civilized anihilation (Churchill praised it as “a miracle of deliverance”) of a hundred thousand people. But I’m glad I can enlist you in my eleven-year-old conviction that we would never do anything like what these beheaders did, and that this whole “antomic bombing of Hiroshima” thing is a malicious rumor and an anti-American hoax.

    • Gregory Herr
      April 10, 2017 at 21:32

      The barbaric methods used to terrorize civilian populations in Iraq and Syria are paid for. The methods vary, but the paymasters stay the same. Bullets, bombs, blades, phosphorous burns, shrapnel ….same results, suffering and death.

  23. Rob
    April 10, 2017 at 03:30

    How is this article considered “journalism”? It comes across as an extremely long-winded tantrum by a petulant teenager using so much “drivel and snivel” that not only does reader fatigue set in, so does incredulity.

    The author is just vomiting up self-hating left-wing talking points – and took far too long to do it! Good luck getting donations after that article; we should be demanding payment for have wasted that much of our lives reading it!

    1. How was islam spread? How many peaceful conversions?
    2. Can someone leave that death cult without repercussion?
    3. How many parts of the muslim world can non-muslims visit safely?
    4. Barbary pirates ring any bells?
    5. With all the oil money pumping into certain countries, how many world-leading scientists come from them?
    6. How does the author reconcile the concept that the name of islam means “submission”, that there is no free will because everything is “in shallah”, compared to the West?

    On second thought, forget it. I imagine the author has his fingers in his ears, his eyes closed, and is interested only in leeching some semblance of financial gain by leeching off the celebrity status of Bill Maher by attacking him using left-wing talking points. Afterall, the only reason most of us are here is because this “article” showed up in a Google newsfeed.

    • Abe
      April 10, 2017 at 11:31

      The last moldy scraps of Hasbara propaganda rhetoric have been scraped from the bottom of the barrel. “Barbary pirates” no less. Bring it on.

      A first cousin of “self-hating Jew”, the “self-hating left-wing” epithet is a key term of opprobrium with a long history of use against Jewish critics of Israeli government policy within Israel itself.

      The use of the concept of self-hatred in Jewish debates about Israel has grown more frequent and more intense in the US and the UK.

      The term was adapted by Jewish and Christian Zionist neocons in the United States. The term “self-loathing liberal” has been liberally applied to opponents of US military imperialism, cultural conservativism, and support for Israel.

      Rather than presenting any reasoned arguments, Rob vomits up half a dozen Hasbara talking points while rejecting any opposing view with uses of argumentum ad hominem.

      Come to think of it, that’s exactly how Bill Maher maintains his “celebrity status”.

      Thanks guys! We just love it when Hasbara trolls ‘splain everything to us.

      Um, here’s a bit of friendly advice. You’ve been demonstrating an annoying tendency to drift off the talking points and flirt with “logic”. Definitely not your strong suit. Better sit this round out and read the manual again

  24. Jake
    April 10, 2017 at 03:25

    Mr. Sottile is truly out of touch. Yes, most Muslims are not terrorists, but it has been this ideology that has led to such acts.Have you seen how great Islam’s influence has been in Europe? In England Islamic radicals have gotten so much power and some are trying to implement the idea of Sharia Law. There is a belief that Islam is the right religion and those radical members believe that it’s okay to kill those who don’t believe in Islam. Bill Maher was right, and yes there were radical christian terrorist acts in the past but that is not what is happening now. The closests one can get is pro-choice protesters at abortion clinics. Belgium, France and Egypt is what is happening now. Dwelling on Christian acts of terrorism is completely useless. Does the writer wish to solve the terrorism issue caused by Muslims or those by Christian, because last I checked September 11 was not done by Christian or Hindus or members of other religions. They were Muslim. Christians are not killing people for not being Christian. Allah Akbar has become an expression known worldwide by non-Muslims. Why is that? Because it has become such a common expression heard in the last twenty years used by terrorists in so many terrorists acts. It seems that the writer is trying to push the belief that Islam is not too blame. It is. And similar to Bill’s statement. No one is saying Jesus Christ or Hare Krishna before they kill people.But Allah Akbar, seems to be happening a little too much in the last twenty years.

  25. April 10, 2017 at 01:32

    Islam deserves it all. Its not a tradition, culture or religion. Its an expansionist ideology

  26. Typingperson
    April 10, 2017 at 01:07

    Maher is an ignorant, sell-out, ass-kissing fool. Also, a sexist and a racist. I have no idea why anyone pays attention to him. He’s disgusting.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 10, 2017 at 01:41

      Okay I’ll admit somehow long ago watching Bill became a Friday night ritual…why, I don’t know why! Then he’s on before the news (est) and with being to lazy to check out the other tv programming (which with 100’s of channels) it sucks so we in our home like little robots put Bill Maher. Yes he makes you chuckle, and sometimes laugh, like I said earlier I’m down to every 5 jokes with this old comedian. I’ll even say this that sometimes he does seem to get down to it, but then suddenly there’s Andrew Sullivan (has nothing to do with his sexuality – so don’t start) and then it’s get up for a snack time. Do I get intellectually simulated- NO, but Bill is Bill, and so what.

      I think what you said Typingperson made more sense.

    • hillary
      April 10, 2017 at 08:20

      Typingperson well said ——————– Maher knows how to promote Bill Maher .

    • George
      April 10, 2017 at 10:22

      “I have no idea why anyone pays attention to him.”

      Well, you here aren’t you? Paying attention.

  27. Jim Esposito
    April 9, 2017 at 23:16

    Your article was way to long to read. Mr. Maher’s MAIN POINT is that good & honest & law-abiding muslims HAVE NOT COME OUT IN FORCE AGAINST all the senseless violence that the extremist muslims practice.
    Of course the christians were just as horrible “back in their day”. They now know better.
    I’m an athiest and agree with Bill that ALL RELIGION IS BAD. PERIOD!

    • Abe
      April 10, 2017 at 00:55

      Wow. Pretty compelling argument you’ve got there, Jim. You’re right, the article has way too many words, lots of them with more than three syllables, and no caps but CENTCOM, HBO, and ISIS.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 10, 2017 at 02:12

      Jim it was a bitch I kept reading and scrolling, and there’s the wife, and scrolling and reading, and there’s the grandchildren, and this read was still going on and on, and then I took the puppy out, only to come back to read and scroll some more.

      The problem about seeing Muslims protest against violence and terrorism is there are never any cameras there to capture those desperately concerned Islamic events. I’ll admit I owe it to myself to surf the net as I do from time to time to concentrate on the Muslim world, but if your interested this information concerning the Islamic life is out there. Here is a Hezbollah website….

      I would leave more links but this comment page is sensitive to links being posted.

      The Christians are still at it if you consider our Stars & Strips to the Muslim world represents a Jewdayo-Christian religious culture. And to those living through this Middle East hell our presence doesn’t appear any different than what they see in their ancient history from their ancestors days of struggling through the Crusades when our Christian European ancestors rode through their land wearing the Cross. There’s a lot of East meets West here, and as time goes by it gets harder all the time to determine who should apologize first.

      Lastly did you notice the spike in Ratheon Stock after the Thursday night missile attack? If you did that should give you a clue to who we really should be bearing down on. Come to think of it, do you know how bad Ratheon stock could plummet if N Korea ends it’s nuke program? The bad guys are who we say they are, the mission is never about winning, but the goal is always about the largest amount of profit to be made, and the beat goes on.

      • George
        April 10, 2017 at 10:22

        “there are never any cameras there to capture those desperately concerned Islamic events.”

        How tragic! Nearly 50 Islamic countries in the world and not a single camera to be found.

        • Joe Tedesky
          April 10, 2017 at 10:45

          Oh the Muslim film it, our American media just doesn’t air it. Give it up!

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 10, 2017 at 10:43

        Here is a story about a Muslim who died saving Christian lives…..

  28. Charles Homsy
    April 9, 2017 at 21:45

    I have stopped watching him as he has become a total wingnut with a foul mouth.

  29. pft
    April 9, 2017 at 21:26

    Well, I have not heard Maher attack Islam in general, just the most extremist and intolerant versions of Islam. He is critical of Islams general treatment of women but remember we are only half a century into women’s rights as a Christian nation, and even thats not 100%.

    Its interesting Irish Catholic terrorists are brought up in the discussion. Maher is not a fan of Catholics and has been very critical of Catholicism and their leaders.

    The omission of terrorist attacks in Palestine such as the bombing of the King David hotel is interesting.

    Like they say one persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter. I am sure the British considered the founding fathers shooting at them hiding behind trees terrorists. In all 3 cases the objective of the “terrorists” was seizing control and independence

    That said, many of the attacks attributed to Islamic extremist seem rather pointless, at least in western countries with no clear or achievable objective (like control or independence) . Just senseless violence that seemed counterproductive to their interests at home since retaliation was certain. Makes you wonder.

    • Abe
      April 10, 2017 at 00:05

      The 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem was perpetrated by the Irgun, a right-wing Jewish Zionist underground terrorist organization. The Irgun was determined to destroy a large quantity of confiscated documents that directly implicated the Haganah, Jewish paramilitary forces, in violent attacks against the British Armed Forces in Palestine and Transjordan.

      91 people of various nationalities were killed and 46 injured in the attack. World-wide condemnation caused the Haganah organization to distance itself from the attack, and the conflict between Jewish militants and the Mandate government ramped up to a much higher level. The World Zionist Congress strongly condemned terrorist activities in Palestine and “the shedding of innocent blood as a means of political warfare”. Irgun was specifically condemned.

      The King David bombing is mentioned as if it was the one and only instance of Jewish terrorist violence. In fact, Jewish violence and terrorism escalated before and after the creation of the State of Israel.

      Menachem Begin, the leader of the Irgun, was called a terrorist and a fascist by Albert Einstein and 27 other prominent Jewish intellectuals in a letter to the New York Times which was published on December 4, 1948. Specifically condemned was the participation of the Irgun in the Deir Yassin massacre: “terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants – 240 men, women and children – and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem.”

      The letter warned American Jews against supporting Begin’s request for funding of his political party Herut, and ended with the warning: “The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a ‘Leader State’ is the goal.”

      During the 1948 Palestine war, an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled, and hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages were depopulated and destroyed. These refugees and their descendants number several million people today, divided between Jordan (2 million), Lebanon (427,057), Syria (477,700), the West Bank (788,108) and the Gaza Strip (1.1 million), with at least another quarter of a million internally displaced Palestinians in Israel. The displacement, dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people is known to them as an-Nakba, meaning “catastrophe” or “disaster”.

      None of this is mentioned to dismiss or condone acts of Jewish, Muslim or Christian violence over the past seven decades, not to mention the past seven centuries. Persecution, discrimination and victimization has been suffered, and extremist violence has been perpetrated and fueled on all sides by numerous state and non-state actors.

      Eagerness to condemn purported acts “Muslim violence” and minimize acts of “Jewish violence” are characteristic of Hasbara (“explanation”) pro-Israel propaganda. Hasbara commenters typically crop up in discussions of Israeli military actions, the workings of the pro-Israel Lobby in the United States, and US military aid to Israel.

      Characters like Bill Maher and Sam Harris, despite their secular or atheist veneers, have ended up playing that Hasbara tune loudly.

      Since the 1980s, purported incidents of “senseless violence that seemed counterproductive” repeatedly have been used as pretexts by the United States to launch wars of aggression against several nations in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.

      Makes you wonder.

      • Bjdeed
        April 11, 2017 at 09:23

        Ah you are a history geek .. have you ever done any hard sciences like pure mathematics, engineering or physics? You need this discipline to develop critical thinking, problem solving and logic thinking skills.

        Until you have… some advice; stay away from the big boys and keep learning to use big words that you don’t understand so you can fool yourself that you’re smart. After all we don’t want you to suffer from self esteem issues.

        • Gregory Herr
          April 11, 2017 at 20:16

          If you were a “big boy” you might actually respond to the content of the post, rather than resort to puerile condescension.

          • Bjdeed
            April 12, 2017 at 09:12

            There. Is no point he’s cock waving! He hasn’t demonstrated how his historical analogies apply to any current point. You need to try and infer what exactly he is trying to get at! All the while you’re getting smothered in this morass of ostentation.

            Or didn’t you read it?

  30. Loup-Bouc
    April 9, 2017 at 20:08

    Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris hold a position essentially correct, though Maher reached his position through some weak premises.

    Their position’s flaw is that its span is a bit overbroad. Sufi Islam differs dramatically from most of the rest of Islam’s varieties. Sufism is mystical, inward-looking, nonviolent, and nearly gender-neutral. But Sufism constitutes a very small segment of Islam.

    In India, Islam does not oppress women so much as most of the Islamic world does. But it is violent and it is, yet, male-preferential and does impose discriminatory limits on women’s freedoms — more than does most of the Christan world. In Indonesia/Maylaysia, much Islam is rather like much Indian Islam.

    Hasidic Judism oppresses its adherents, women much more than men. But, except in Israel vis-s-vis Palestinians, it is non-violent; and its numbers are very small. So, it does not compare, significantly, to Islam.

    Most Islam is quite what Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris perceive. It is conceptually very nuts, insanely violent, rabidly murderously so toward “infidels,” and very women-oppressive, much violently so. Even are Sunni Islam and Shiite Islam murderously violent toward each other.

    True: Muhammed would be aghast if Muhammed — and his wife — witnessed what has become of the religion Muhammed created. But, Muhammed has been dead for just under 1500 years.

    The “liberal” Muslims-are-nice-too propaganda is toxic tripe.

    • Abe
      April 9, 2017 at 20:58

      The Wolf-Goat (Loup-Bouc) shovels toxic tripe from the same latrine of bigotry where media demagogues Maher and Harris love to wallow.

      Both Maher and Harris embrace the erroneous premise of a conflict between “Western” and “non-Western” cultures.

      Andrew Aghapour and Michael Schulson note: “It is telling that Harris is such a strong proponent of Samuel Huntington’s widely discredited ‘Clash of Civilizations’ thesis, which posits a civilizational war between Islam and the West, and which has been popular among both neocons and white supremacists for years.”

      • Loup-Bouc
        April 10, 2017 at 01:24

        You are a master of mixed metaphors, and a midget of all else, including, especially, logic.

        Have a sedative.

        • Bjdeed
          April 11, 2017 at 09:15

          Bravo! I second this!

  31. Jeremy Tarone
    April 9, 2017 at 19:54
    Muslims Fight Australia For Separate Country
    Extremists in Australia are fighting to separate. Moderates and liberal Muslims who speak out are facing death threats.

    Jessica, look up the number of terrorist acts per year. They are almost all committed by Islamists, 95% or more world wide, and Islam is only 21 percent of the global population.
    Islam has a problem. Christianity had a problem in the past, it’s nowhere near as bad as Islam, and Islamic countries (and Islamic majority countries) are quickly turning extremist (if they are not already). Even the most liberal Islamic countries are turning extremist.
    This is not a problem for just women, homosexuals and minority religions, it’s hurting most Muslims and I’m disgusted that the far left (and the left) is ignoring the problem.
    Turkey, once a bastion of tolerance is now forcing women to cover up. They are murdering (disappearing) critics of the religious police. Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, and many more have Islamic terrorist organizations. Many have multiple ones. We do not see the same of other religions anywhere close to the same extent.

    Saying everywhere is screwed up is a false equivalence. Christians in Canada, France, Australia, England, Denmark, Switzerland are not running over crowds of people in the street or blowing up restaurants or murdering liberals who speak out. Neither are Mormons, Catholics or Jews.

    If you think Bill Maher singles out Islam, then you haven’t watched his shows. He criticizes other religions, but he speaks to current events and all the current events are about Islam.
    When Bush invaded Iraq Maher was all over him and the war and was for literally years.
    I don’t agree with Maher on everything, I don’t agree with anyone on everything, but on Islam, he’s right. There is a serious problem in Islam. And yet the far left castigates and smears anyone who tries to bring up the problem. They even smear liberal Muslims who dare to criticize Islam.
    Yet again, they don’t bat an eye when someone criticizes Christianity, the far right or Israel.

    • Abe
      April 9, 2017 at 21:09

      Maher and Jeremy Tarone are incorrect. Here are the facts:

      “The vast majority of terrorist attacks in E.U. countries have for years been perpetrated by separatist organizations.

      “Of 152 terrorist attacks in 2013, 84 of were motivated by ethno-nationalist or separatist beliefs. That’s more than 55 percent. That’s down from 76 percent the year before. While the report notes this decline, it also states that a number of separatist groups are showing ‘greater sophistication, incremental learning and lethal intent.’

      “Religious motivations makes up just a slightly larger portion of terrorist attacks in the U.S.

      “Islamist militants lag far behind other groups when it comes to carrying out terrorist attacks in the U.S. too. According to FBI data compiled by the Princeton University’s Loon Watch, Islamist extremists were responsible for just 6 percent of terrorist attacks between 1980 and 2005?—?falling behind Latino groups, Extreme left-wing groups, and Jewish extremists.”


      • Sten
        April 10, 2017 at 13:37

        I would take anything ThinkProgress says with a grain of salt. They are far to the left and present all information for the purpose of rhetorical spin.

        “According to FBI data compiled by the Princeton University’s Loon Watch…”

        Loonwatch is run by an anonymous group who do not claim affiliation with anyone, much less Princeton University. This attribution appears to be a mistake by someone so stupid that they saw this (scroll to bottom of text):

        And believed that “Source: WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.” was the affiliation of the site and not the source for the dictionary definition for “loon”.

        The author appears to be dumb, lazy and lacking in journalistic integrity. Why should I believe anything the article says?

      • Abe
        April 10, 2017 at 17:29

        Your main defense for your position seems to be name-calling rather than dealing in facts, Sten.

        • Sten
          April 10, 2017 at 18:33

          Abe, Abe, Abe. The author is claiming that LoonWatch is associated with Princeton. This is not true. See? It was a mistake, caused by laziness. Or maybe it was intentional.

          This is from LoonWatch’s “About” page:
          ” Loon noun

          1. a worthless lazy fellow

          2. a person with confused ideas; incapable of serious thought [syn: addle-head]

          3. large somewhat primitive fish-eating diving bird of the northern hemisphere having webbed feet placed far back; related to the grebes

          Source: WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

          And so, grab a cup of coffee and join us, won’t you, as we expose the trials and travails of the hatemongers in our midst: loons in the mist.”

          The dictionary Wordnet 3.0 belongs to Princeton, not the Loonwatch website. But the author who used LoonWatch as a source made this false attribution. This is lazy and stupid journalism because it falsely connects a respected university with an anonymous and highly biased website.

          Don’t you think this is a problem that ThinkProgress should have caught?

        • Abe
          April 11, 2017 at 01:50

          The misattribution by a secondary author does not influence the accuracy of information presented on the primary site.

          Your main defense for your position seems to be name-calling rather than dealing in facts, Sten.

          • Bjdeed
            April 11, 2017 at 09:14

            Abe baby ,… you quote statistics ,… have you ever done any study in “statistical inference”? Sorry rhetorical question based on your use of your “statistics”. Obviously you have no idea about the dangers of self delusion by stats.

            Maybe you have developed an “Abe’s theorem” that I am unaware of? Tell me which mathematical journal it will appear in and I will be an eager avid learner!

        • Abe
          April 11, 2017 at 02:28
    • Joe Tedesky
      April 10, 2017 at 01:17

      Jeremy if Bill Maher were a close friend I would probably ask him not to maybe beat up the Muslim that bad. I don’t hate Bill Maher, but there is certain tinge in his mannerisms I don’t care for when he demonizes Islam. Actually for my personal taste I can only take so much religion bashing, and I don’t even go to church on Sunday’s.

      When it comes to Americans and our caring so much about how the other world lives, well outside of condoning Friday morning beheadings like our ally Saudi Arabia who gets overlooked, I could care less about how these other people’s decide to live their lives. While I hear Arkansas is going to start an assembly line of State executions, this only motivates me to start telling my fellow Americans to stop judging the rest of the world, and start paying attention to what we are doing to our selfs.

      About the terrorists committed acts statistics did that include unilateral preemptive no nothing authorization Congress UN or otherwise TomaHawk missile strikes? Also would Mosul count as being a terrorist act?

      Lastly, labels and with such absolutism of conviction may also be called ‘scapegoating’.

  32. Anon
    April 9, 2017 at 19:38

    These ranting articles have become a weekly phenomenon. And frankly it would be pointless to reply in full to a 50 paragraph article. Seriously though, this guy JP must be getting paid by the word.

    Western values are not some big mystery. For one, democracy is practically non-existent in the Muslim world. As are freedom of speech and gender equality. These are the types of points I hear Maher return to over and over again. But this is not what the article focuses on, these articles never do. Because when the punishments are described, Muslims sound like barbarians. And the extent of their support is shocking. Everyone wants to whine about Islamaphobia and about how 99% of Muslims are not terrorists. The harsh reality is that a huge percentage of those peaceful Muslims believe that leaving the faith ought be punishable by death. Or that depicting the prophet unfavorably in a sketch ought be punishable by death. Or that women must cover their skin else be raped.

    We cannot forget all the atrocities committed in the name of a Christian God. But Maher is not a bigot for focusing on a set of modern problems without simultaneously giving a historical list of all the other atrocious shit that has been done in the names of other religions.

    • Druid
      April 9, 2017 at 19:44

      No, sorry, not a huge majority, not even clos. You sound like maher himself now

    • DannyWeil
      April 10, 2017 at 19:06

      All religion and the belief in supernaturalism is bunk. And though as an anti-theist I can sympathize with the arguments of Maher, it is the timing. We are historically, due to US imperialism, at war in seven countries. Many of their people believe many supernatural ideas. But this is not the issue, the issue is US imperialism, its history in the region along with the Brits, the invasions, the wars, the dictators this should be the argument. If Maher wants to have an argument as to religions bankruptcy then do it democratically and include all religions and harp on different ones each night. To seek out Muslims in particular when we are on the brink of WWIII to make this argument is irrational.

    • April 10, 2017 at 19:36

      Muslims vary as much as their geography. The most violent Muslims are USA allies.

    • Abe
      April 11, 2017 at 21:09

      Anon knuckle dragging:
      “democracy is practically non-existent in the Muslim world”

      No evidence provided. None needed. Knuckle draggers always “know” they’re right.

  33. Bill Bodden
    April 9, 2017 at 19:30

    There is a basic flaw that runs through many of the comments above, and that is the making of categorical statements. The Koran is …, Muslims are … the Old Testament/Bible is …, Christians are ….

    People become Muslims because they are taught readings from the Koran, and others become Christians because other Christians persuade them to do so. But all Muslims are not alike. Neither are all Christians. Nor are all Jews.

    There is an almost immutable law about people in large groupings. You will usually find the best and worst among them with most somewhere in between.

  34. Jeremy K
    April 9, 2017 at 19:25

    He is 100% right and I hope more true liberals would come out and say what’s on everyone’s minds so we can admit the problem and find a solution to it.

    • DannyWeil
      April 10, 2017 at 19:02

      There has not been a liberal since FDR.

  35. April 9, 2017 at 19:08

    Jeremy, we are in an age of irrational thinking all over the world, aggravated by media and these horrible wars which could be called religious wars, although they are actually resource wars complicated by increasing human populations. “A Clash of Civilizations” was an older book by Samuel P. Huntington, I think from the 1970s, and he predicted that cultural clashes between religions would be significant, which they are.

    But as for what are western values, or eastern values, or whatever values, how to define them, anyway? They are even different from a generation ago. The basis should be tolerance for others’ viewpoints and ability to engage in rational discourse, but that seems to be difficult in a currently polarized age.

    I cited Hitchens’ book “God Is Not Great: Religion Poisons Everything” because I agree with his thesis, that religion is used to justify domination and often violence. Yahweh, the Old Testament god of the Bible, supreme being of the 12 tribes of Israel, exhorted the Israelites to do some heinous things to neighboring tribes.

    I am more attracted to Buddhism because it does not have a supreme being and teaches right thinking and action, non-attachment, but there are plenty of Buddhists who have committed atrocities. All religions can be used to justify anything.

    I must confess that what I have read about Mohammed and Islam tells me it’s not a religion for me, but for Bill Maher to single it out in this violent age precipitated by a so-called Christian, George W. Bush, is ignoring the present cultural circumstances.

    • Druid
      April 9, 2017 at 19:43

      Myanmar and the bloody history of Buddhism elsewhere. What about Jainism

      • George
        April 10, 2017 at 10:19

        What is this imaginary bloody history? Ironically, if Myanmar was a Muslim country, the same liberals would claim you can’t use one country to comment on a large, diverse group of people.

  36. April 9, 2017 at 18:14

    Even muddled that, it’s the quotation mark! Muddled brain, Trump’s damn strike keep me up!

  37. Jeremy Tarone
    April 9, 2017 at 18:12

    So many commenters who profess to not know what Western values are. Not surprising since the concept of free speech seems to be dead on the far left, and freedom of religion is dying or dead on the far right. Both sides seem to have abandoned women’s equality, the far right wanting to rule women’s bodies, the far left calling Islam the “true feminist” religion in their absurd attempt to marry their broken identity politics with universal rights. They celebrate clothing that half of Muslim women are forced to wear or else be arrested or beaten. They excuse barbaric female genital mutilation. They celebrate and follow backwards American Muslim women who refuse to allow abortion rights protestors to march in women’s marches. The same woman (Sarsour) who tweeted “I would take way her vagina” in reference to Hirsi Ali, a women who has actually fought for women’s rights, experienced FGM and extremist religion and ran away from home before she could be forced into marriage. But the lunatic left hates Hirsi Ali because she criticizes Islam, which is a terrible crime on the left. The right butchers schools with creationism and stops sex education while the left goes into violent authoritarian fits when anyone attempts to say anything they don’t like.

    Anyone who criticizes Islam is attacked, regardless of their arguments. They are attacked not for what they say but by association and slander. As we see in so many comments.

    We also see in Muslim country after Muslim country, terrorist organization after terrorist organization. In countries where the USA or Western powers haven’t set foot. Sottile’s argument falls apart when we look at other terrorist organizations, we see it’s not about America (or the UK), it’s about Islamism, forcing Islam (the most extremist versions) on the rest of the country. But you never see that mentioned in these attack articles. Because they aren’t honest.

    The lunatic left has lost it’s way, unable to choose between an atrocious religion that treats women, homosexuals and religious minorities horrifically. The left can’t discuss the issue rationally because Islam is largely religion of brown people. They base it colour rather than as ideas of a religion so many espouse because the lunatic left fits everyone into categories of oppressed or oppressors, and the white can only be oppressors while the brown can only be oppressed.
    That is their broken identity politics. As the above article and so many comments show.

    As for criticizing Islam (not attacking), it wasn’t a problem when Maher criticized (and continues to criticize) the Catholic church and Christians, but criticize a religion that largely treats women as property, where homosexuals are imprisoned or executed (in 10 Muslim countries), as are apostates (in 7), where blasphemy laws regularly see even minor critics arrested or murdered on the street (14), and the left go insane. They ignore the horrific atrocities committed in many different Islamic countries, entire schools full of children burned to death or shot for the crime of educating girls. Girls shot in the face for daring to go to school.

    So what has ISIS said about why they hate us?
    1. Because you are disbelievers
    “We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah – whether you realize it or not – by making partners for Him in worship, you blaspheme against Him, claiming that He has a son, you fabricate lies against His prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices.”

    They keep saying why the hate us, but the lunatic left never actually believes them. Why do they believe it? Because their Quran and many Imams teach it. The Quran states over and over to not trust the unbeliever.

    Saudi Arabia has been exporting extremist fundamentalist Imams and creating madrassas all over the world for the last 40 years. Most of them preach hatred against the West and always have, just as they preach hatred against Jews and Israel (also now fashionable with the lunatic left, not just criticizing Israels policies but preaching hatred against Israel and Jews, as we see in comments here).

    Boko Haram, one of the most virulent and violent terrorist organizations, responsible for killing thousands each year, they burned school children alive or shot children (entire schools full of children), rape children, take girls as sexual slaves, Boko Haram’s main problem is with educating girls and Western style education. That means teaching things besides the Quran.

    Western education, that Western value where we give everyone, including girls an education.

    The left will continue to stick their head in the sand as more and more of their organizations are infiltrated by Islamists and religious apologists who are willing to lie about what they want and what they believe, and the lunatic left believe them without bothering to check a single thing they say.

    Meanwhile, check out this video where a hall full of Western European Muslims all agree that stoning women adulterers, homosexuals and apostates is not only right, but is the perfect punishment because Mohammad said so.

    But hey, nothing to criticize in Islam, right? But if the Catholic Church or evangelists were calling for the deaths of adulterers, homosexuals and apostates I’m sure you’d all be quiet as church mice.
    Hypocrites of the worst kind.

    • Druid
      April 9, 2017 at 19:41

      You lost your argument when you touted Hirsi Ali. She had to defect from holland where she overstayed her welcome due to her craziness. Faux news and the Christian vet far crazy right has adopted her. I didn’t read any further. You’re an idiot

      • George
        April 10, 2017 at 10:18

        Absolutely. What does Hirsi know about Islam? Nothing. She should sit at the feet of white liberals and learn a thing or to!

      • Sten
        April 10, 2017 at 11:40

        I don’t think anyone defects from Holland, Druid. You can just leave freely.

        Hirsi Ali seems to require around-the-clock protection from Muslims who want to kill her for apostasy and criticism of Islam. In other words, she is a current and ongoing victim of Islamic terror threats. Naturally, the Leftist establishment is collaborating and supporting the suppression of her ideas instead of defending her right to free expression.

    • backwardsevolution
      April 9, 2017 at 21:33

      Jeremy – thank you.

    • DannyWeil
      April 10, 2017 at 19:01

      Hirsi Ali?

  38. MYJ
    April 9, 2017 at 18:08

    Maher is helping push the divide and conquer tactic that aids a certain Rothschild state become the ruling state in the world.
    Pax Judaica is coming.

    Here is a video by someone who wrote books on Islam:
    What Studying Muhammad Taught Me About Islam : Dr. Craig Considine

    Top 5 Misconceptions About Islam

  39. April 9, 2017 at 18:07

    Oops, apostrophe catastrophe! Put the apostrophe in the wrong place, the book is “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and the apostrophe should have been put before the question mark, a question mark is certainly not within the title of Dee Brown’s book.

  40. Mike K.
    April 9, 2017 at 18:05

    This author’s ignorance on Northern Ireland ounsels against his referencing of it.

    The *native population* of Ireland are not ‘separatists’ on their own Island – and the violence of the Loyalist terror orgs exceeded that of the smaller Republican community.

    And while the violence on the Loyalist side has a strong Judeo-Protestant element, on the Republican, native side – it is not motivated by Catholicism but by ethnic nationalism after 800 years plus of Anglo-Protestant oppression.

    A better example would have been, given the disproportionate Jewishness and/or Zionism, the extensive use of terrorism by incoming European Jews in Palestine *prior to ww2.*

    There are also examples of ‘respected’ Rabbis calling for genocide and expressing the view, straight from the Torah, that Jews are the spritual master race – we dont have Catholic priests calling for the extermination of Protestants or even saying Jews don’t go to heaven without a cepting Christ.

    See, dogma that offended the Jews is ‘hate’ while hateful Jewish dogma is denied, obfuscated, and finally explained away with rhetorical legerdemain.

    Maher is Jewish, as is Harris and Ben Shapiro and Gellar and this is relevant to their motivation: Israeli nationalism.

    The relatively few incidents of Irish Republican terror, and framing it as arising out of Christianity, and glibly describing as ‘separatist’ shows the author is struggling to make the problem of Muslim violence ‘the same’ as Christian violence – when it is not – while avoiding any discussion of the Zionism of much of the Islamophobic Chattering Class, and the very long list of *Jewish* terrorism from the pseudohistory of the Torah to the West Bank today.

  41. akech
    April 9, 2017 at 18:04

    In their desire to embrace the ruling class, regardless of their immoral lust to control and subjugate other human beings, the leaders of Christian faith and other religions have not served to protect humanity.

    Every ruling elite has been able to penetrate and hide behind every religious leader in order to demand and/or coerce obedience from the followers; the followers have been brainwashed into accepting that obedience is a virtue that must be practiced in order to reap plenty of God’s rewards after death! While preaching these afterlife benefits from the followers, most of these religious leaders and their patrons do not practice what they demand from the subjugated flock.

    Killing must not be condoned, unless you are forced to defend yourself or family. Yet, these marauding elites have been able to command others to go to distant lands and demand obedience from the citizens they encounter or kill them if they do not comply? Those doing the actual killings are left with a personal conscience to deal with in their small spaces, if they come back alive!

    Brain, whether belonging to a human being or an animal, is designed to help its owner make unique survival decisions. What the ruling elites, MSM, paid happy troopers and religious elites have done and continued to do is to forcefully substitute their personal views on the subjugated. Bill Maher, acting as an atheist, has additional seeds of confusion to sow in the brains of his audience in order to create more confused humans!

    These elites do not believe in allowing other human beings to independently evaluate the environment under which they find themselves and rationally make personal decisions based on that vital evaluation without interference from some authoritative figures disguised in some elaborate robes, uniforms or managed stage.

    Speaking of robes or uniforms, what subtle messages do people wearing these attires send to the powerless? Intimidation?

  42. April 9, 2017 at 17:57

    Maher’s dripping sarcasm is so thick that it’s always been a turnoff to me. Smug self-righteousness. Has he ever read Dee Brown’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee?” I doubt it. The burning of Indian villages as the whites thanked God they had killed the savages!

    Christopher Hitchens’ book “God is Not Great: Religion Poisons Everything” is a great read. He does not cover the point, however, that atheism can become a religion, as Maher seems to exemplify from his smug soapbox, for millions of dollars, I might add.

  43. Charles Misfeldt
    April 9, 2017 at 17:16

    Mayer is a Zionist Jew who pretends to be a liberal in order to herd liberals to the Zionist cause. IMO real genuine liberals do not support the Jewish theft of Palestine nor do they support the Jewish persecution of the Palestinian people. Our entire presence in the middle east is about oil, Israel, global strategic position and destroying the ability of Muslims to organize a defense against the onslaught of Christian and Jewish manipulators and exploiters, Mayer is a solider in the Jewish faction of this western juggernaut.

  44. Mikey
    April 9, 2017 at 17:15

    We don’t need JP Sottile explain this to us because JP is clueless.

    Islam is more than a religion, it is an ideology that aims to convert and assimilate. The closest modern time example akin to it, is “the Borg”: Become part of the global Islamic State or be ready to die, and have your wife and daughter raped as sexual servants of Islam. This directive is at the HEART of Islam, it is not an extremist view of it, it is not a deviation of its message, it is not a faction of Islam, it is not a branch of Islam. It is and has been the very philosophy and goal from the first day of the prophet Mohammad.

    • akech
      April 9, 2017 at 18:37

      All women who have been the victims of rape on planet earth have not been raped by Muslims! Sex trafficking by international pedophile rings is not being predominantly done by people of Muslim faith!

      (b) Being converted to any religion should be a human freedom choice and must not be achieved trough waging destructive wars country after country while telling tons of lies through MSM propaganda

      (c) Fear of Muslims is a war a being waged by groups of very blood thirsty elites who are determined to (i) to control other humans (ii) control the resources found in locations where these “other” humans have dwelt for centuries (iii) make tons of profit slaughtering “other” human beings.

      • Sten
        April 10, 2017 at 11:56

        People of all sorts of religions commit rape. You are right, akech.

        Islam has the distinction of legalizing a two types of non-consensual sex in its religious scriptures. The first type is having sex with a child as young as nine years old, due to Mohammed taking his wife Aisha to bed at that age.

        The second type of rape that Islam legalizes is the rape of slave women. These women, captured in war, are called “possessions of the right hand”, and a Muslim man may legally use them for sex. Again, this originates with Mohammed, who captured many slave women and also distributed sex slaves to his followers as rewards. .

        Mohammed had a number of known sex slaves, including Mary the Copt and her sister Sirin, Safiyya and Reyhana.

        ISIS and Boko Haram follow the rules for Islamic sex slavery by capturing non-Muslim women and allowing them to be sexually used by their Muslim masters. This is perfectly legal according to sharia.

        The Old Testament describes ancient Israel engaging in sex slavery, but Jews have not practiced this for thousands of years. In the New Testament, a man may only have one woman and she must be his wife in order to have sexual relations, which forbids sex slavery.

        • MA
          April 10, 2017 at 16:01

          Mohammad believed and preached that:
          God being Creator of the universe is the only one worthy of worship. God being the Creator and most powerful is the only one who determines the fate of every living creature including humans. Being the Creator and most powerful and all encompassing God is Just and His justice creates balance in this universe. Believing in a Just and most powerful God therefore sets the believer free from all other lesser gods including worldly status, power, wealth, fame, promotion of self etc.
          He told Muslims to believe and practice without any fear other than the fear of God that they shall face God at the day of judgement and shall be asked about their deeds.
          I believe Mohammad’s mission in life was far far superior than just marrying six years, nine years or forty years olds for personal lust. He did not do that when he was in his prime age. He married a widow 15 years older than him when he was 25. He did not marry anyone else during the lifetime of his first wife. He married his other wives either for political expediency or as a mercy to helpless widows as marriage was the most honourable relationship between a man and a woman with all the rights that a woman could enjoy as a wife. All his wives except Ayesha were widows. All of this is documented in History. With this background, while I don’t know exactly why he did that, I believe sexual lust would not have been the prime mover.

          • Sten
            April 10, 2017 at 17:55

            Well, I am not giving Mohammed any passes for his personal behavior because of his supposed superior purpose.

            Muslims call Mohammed “al insan al kamil”, the perfect man, and the entire core of Islamic morality is based on what he said and did. It is not only the obligation of Muslims to imitate Mohammed, but any criticism of him or his pronouncements is tantamount to apostasy for a Muslim.

            I learned this when I tried to get SJW Muslims to condemn Mohammed’s possession of slaves. None of them would do it.

            As for his wives? Khadija, his first wife, was a RICH widow, who was employing him in her very successful business enterprise. That was a nice deal for him, since he was otherwise dirt poor from a luckless branch of an otherwise prominent family. Khadija was young enough to have 1-4 children with him, depending on whether you are of the Shiite or Sunni persuasion. And maybe a few sons who died, too. Maybe she was Demi Moore to his Ashton Kutcher.

            His later wives, including Aisha, had to live with the fact that he beat them and required them to live cloistered lives. They also had to live with the incredible jealously that resulted from the many sex slaves that he picked up in addition to nearly two dozen wives. The sex slaves were chosen and kept for their beauty. We know this from the hadiths, which report that Mohammed traded around for the ones he wanted. So sexual lust was definitely the prime mover there.

        • MA
          April 11, 2017 at 03:24

          People possessing lustrous behaviour usually have other characteristics like excessive drinking, extravagant life styles, living in fine mentions, wearing fine clothes, eating fine foods. Mohammad and his companions on the other hand lived very simple and modest lifestyles, and none of them left big personal fortunes when they died. Attacking Mohammad’s personal domestic life without taking into account the above facts appears to me to be the part of a concerted campaign to denigrate Mohammad and Islam. Participants of this campaign appear to be totally blind of any of Mohammad’s positive achievements and contributions to human history.

      • Abe
        April 10, 2017 at 16:33

        Despite proscriptions, rape and sex slavery has been perpetrated by numerous Jewish, Christian and Muslim individuals and groups for centuries until the present day. All such behavior deserves condemnation, but it is by no means exclusive to any particular religion.

        For a conspicuous example of rape and sex slavery in the Bible, see Judges 5:29-30 and 21:8-23.

        For a thoughtful discussion of sex slavery in the Bible see

        Former fundamentalist Jewish, Christian and Muslim women have described life in the respective traditional religious societies in terms of sexual slavery.

        Sten’s frankly racist remarks are unsurprising by now.

    • Abe
      April 10, 2017 at 02:01

      Somebody tell clueless Mikey that his “closest modern time example” is a fictional alien race that appear as recurring antagonists in an American science fiction media franchise based on a television series.

      Whew, the Hasbara trolls are out in force, flailing to defend the ideology of crypto-Zionist culture warriors Bill Maher and Sam Harris.

      • Bjdeed
        April 11, 2017 at 09:04

        I repeat Abe can you get any further up yourself!

        Have you ever entertained the possibility that you are not the most intelligent being to walk this earth, Nomaybe that’s just tooo much … how about this … have you ever been wrong?

  45. Joe Tedesky
    April 9, 2017 at 16:37

    First of all any liberal thinking person who needs to get a Bill Maher fix, to invigorate their liberal spirit is definitely going down the wrong road. May I remind everyone Bill Maher is no intellectual, that he is a stand up comedian. While Maher likes to make fun of Republicans who live in a bubble, he should look to see if he can escape from the whatever you call it bubble he lives in. Maher’s judgement of people and cultures not accepting of his pseudo liberalism is in itself laced with prejudice, and mean bigotry. Bill breaks the rule of getting right down to the level of those he dislikes.

    I’ve noticed that Bill Maher is applying the same critical standards he apples to Muslims and Fly Over people now towards Putin and all Russians. Bill loves to hit on Russia as being nothing more than a corrupt and homophobic nation, but yet never with any evidence or proof of Russia being that way…oh wait, Bill did have on Pussy Riot, CIA music anyone?

    Listening to Maher rant about the evils of Islam, makes me picture what it might have been like in the 19th century while listening to a white guy tell us all about how savage the Native American really are out west. Yet now in the 21st century it is not a surprise that the History channel will do documentaries about the crimes which were committed upon this continents indigenous. Go figure. We Americans while regretting the past of our treatment towards the Native American only do a 21st version of cruelty with our self righteous purity by placing oil flow over water rights that these original land owners of these resources so smartly wish to protect. Why even teach history, if we are not going to learn from it?

    I at one time laughed at every joke of Maher’s, but now I only laugh at every fifth joke he thinks is funny. Sorry Bill you have worn out your welcome, and you have lost your place among the relevant.

  46. Drew Hunkins
    April 9, 2017 at 16:31

    Marr would never be in the position he’s in if, say, he leveled the same kind of vituperative attacks and smears on Jewish Israeli lunatic militarists. Let’s say one night he decided to heap the same type of contumely on the latter. Within 12-18 hours he’d be on every news outlet issuing a thousand apologies.

    Marr fits perfectly into the dominant mass media paradigm in the West

    • Abe
      April 9, 2017 at 19:22

      The dominant mass media paradigm when Israel goes to war:

      “on Israel, I love it that a U.S. president doesn’t pretend Arab-Israeli conflict is an even-steven proposition. Lots of ethnic peoples, probably most, have at one time or another lost some territory; nobody’s ever completely happy with their borders; people move and get moved, which is why the 20th century saw the movement of tens if not hundreds of millions of refugees in countries around the world. There was no entity of Arabs called “Palestine” before Israel made the desert bloom. If those 600,000 original Palestinian refugees had been handled with maturity by their Arab brethren, who had nothing but space to put them, they could have moved on — the way Germans, Czechs, Poles, Chinese and everybody else has, including, of course, the Jews.

      “But I digress. I really wanted to say that […] the feeling I’ve had watching Israel defend herself and a US president defend Israel (a country that is held to a standard for “restraint” that no other country ever is asked to meet, but that’s another story) just reminds me how wrong that is. I LOVE being on the side of my president, and mouthing ‘You go, boy’ when he gets it right.”

      I Love Being on the Side of My President
      By Bill Maher (during the July 2006 Lebanon War)

      In August 2006, in an article in The New Yorker, Seymour Hersh claimed that the White House gave the green light for the Israeli government to execute an attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon. Supposedly, communication between the Israeli government and the US government about this came as early as two months in advance of the capture of two Israeli soldiers prior to the conflict. The US government denied these claims.

      According to Jonathan Cook, the Winograd Committee leaked a testimony from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggesting that Olmert “had been preparing for such a war at least four months before the official casus belli”.

  47. Eddie
    April 9, 2017 at 16:00

    I too used to watch Maher’s show because he (and his writers) do have some good, irreverent political humor that skewers all sides, which I’m occasionally in the mood for. Even back then though, I didn’t watch the ‘talk-show’ part of the show, just the humor of the opening monologue and the ending ‘New Rules’. I’ve never been a fan of talk shows, and I never felt the need to learn what craziness Ann Coulter or Andrew Sullivan or numerous other right-wingers were spouting as oft-appearing guests on the ‘Real Time’ show.

    Also, as a fellow atheist, I did find it refreshing that someone on semi-mainstream TV was willing to show unabashed support for that position. However, I felt that too often he and the so-called ‘New Atheists’ considered it a panacea to the world’s ills — IF we would ALL just renounce religion (never mind how impossible that would be, practically speaking), then we’d pretty much all start thinking logically and resolve our problems rationally. Would that it were so, but even as atheists in this* study found, it’s most likely not that simple, since science/logic/rationality is ultimately morally/ethically neutral (i.e.; you can use logic/science to build better homes for people and you can use it to build ‘better’ bombs/WMDs, and the German Nazis were nothing if not logical), even IF you could get people to start using that. I think that religious fervors have sprung from basic animal instincts, and are almost immune to being extinguished. I myself favor the ‘dreaded’ secular humanism, since it posits a positive ethical/moral values approach as well as a practical, non-religious approach to life.

    However, as JPS’ good article above notes, Maher just seemed to get into a narrow, simplistic viewpoint of the Muslim religion, discounting all political/economic reasons for any of the violence of the extremists within that religion. I don’t know IF he truly believes that, or it’s part of his show-biz/act/schtick for ratings as an oh-so-outré-contrarian, but it’s not something that I find intellectually compelling, just more of a simplistic ‘cheerleading for our side’ kind of political correctness.


    • FobosDeimos
      April 10, 2017 at 09:24

      Excellent comment Eddie. I feel the same way. As an atheist I am uncomfortable with the “Crusader” tone of people preaching the abolition of religion as a panacea, such as the late Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. As Maher does in his show, Hitchens and Dawkins appear to have a favorite religion to hate (Islam), followed by Dawkins’ obsession with fundamentalist Christians (he seems to believe that Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans still believe in the creationist fable of the Old Testament). Judaism instead is pretty much left alone, and the New Atheists seem to find nothing to mock or criticize about it, even though it is the founding religion for all Abrahamic cults.

      • Tom O'Neill
        April 10, 2017 at 19:42

        Deimos: Perhaps it may be some insight into the rabbinic tradition that steers even hardline atheists away from being critical of Judaism as a fundamentalism of scriptures. I seriously doubt that the rabbis whom I–raised Catholic–have admired over the years have ever seriously thought a snake actually talked with a mother of all mankind in a Garden of Eden. Better than many of the Christians who inherited it, the rabbis knew that their Bible was a huge argument–a kind of Book of Job writ large–about the nature of humankind and its source and destiny.

        But why then have the rabbis conserved these texts and argued endlessly about them? Certainly the rabbis tend to regard these texts as a gift of providence and therefore, in some sense, inspired–but not, I hazard, in the word-to-word sense that many Protestants do. It interests me greatly, and it has not been ignored by rabbis, that close to half the verses in the Book of Job (namely those expressing views that parallel the Book of Deuteronomy, spoken by Job’s friends) are eventually dismissed by the God-character when he enters the dialog toward the end of the book. As I say, this point has not been lost on rabbis. It has kept them in business. They have maintained their Bible, not because it answers and closes down the great questions, but because it has kept those questions open and at the forefront of human inquiry. (If some hardline atheist says it is this very search for meaning that is the mistake, I can only reply: “Welcome to a world of sound and fury signifying nothing. I wish you well with that.”

  48. Jaime Contreras
    April 9, 2017 at 15:30

    You failed to mention all the slaughter braught on by the Muslims during the crusades?? No mention of this seems to me that this story is one sided? Tell the whole story.

    • Druid
      April 9, 2017 at 19:34

      You obviously don’t know your history very well!

      • George
        April 10, 2017 at 10:16

        You obviously don’t know your history very well!

    • Tom Welsh
      April 10, 2017 at 10:37

      There are many excellent books on the Crusades. Try reading any of them. And don’t overlook this:

    • DannyWeil
      April 10, 2017 at 19:08

      This ‘us’ and ‘them’ feds right into the divide and conquer war machine

  49. Mark Thomason
    April 9, 2017 at 15:18

    Bill Maher’s motivation is to escape the exile he suffered when he made this infamous 9/11 joke about the suicide pilots not being “cowards.”

    Of course he was right, but of course it was not the time or place to make that point.

    The lesson Maher took from that was to sell out. He went with bigotry out of self preservation, and crawled back into the good graces of the powers-that-be in positions to grant or deny him a career.

    Maher is now just a bigoted sell-out. He panders to hate. He does it for the money.

  50. Abe
    April 9, 2017 at 15:14

    Genocidal hag Madeline Albright appeared four times on Real Time With Bill Maher: in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009.

    In 2009, Maher’s discussion with Albright turned to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and the question of why women make superior secretaries of state. Albright, the first female U.S. secretary of state, claimed that she used her feminine charm in negotiations with foreign heads of state.

    There’s a “special place in hell” waiting for Albright, Clinton, and the repugnant Maher.

  51. Albie
    April 9, 2017 at 15:12

    Islam is not unique–ALL organized religions are bad. It should be considered child abuse to indoctrinate young children into these antiquated and ridiculous belief systems.

    • Marko
      April 9, 2017 at 20:36

      The indoctrination at an early age isn’t so much the problem as is its perpetual continuation. Otherwise , we’d grow out of religions as surely as we stop believing in Santa Claus.

      No offense intended if you still believe in Santa , BTW.

    • Bjdeed
      April 12, 2017 at 09:03

      All political movements are bad … nazism cops a bad rap …. is that the principle you’re using?

  52. mike k
    April 9, 2017 at 15:11

    The tendency to believe that all of the huge diverse phenomena of Islam has one simple consistent message reveals the ignorance of anyone expressing it. But after all the religious bigot’s goal is not understanding or inquiry, but a chance to express hatred.

    • Bjdeed
      April 11, 2017 at 00:26

      You don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept that the Koran is the basis for All Islam and it is full of violent edicts. Is there such a thing as a moderate nazi ? Wel,l yes, if by moderate you mean someone who never killed anyone or committed a war crime – many nazis never took part in the war. Can you use that fact to claim that nazism was essentially benign except for a few nutters? No! Why? Because of the hateful ideology laid out in “mein Kampf” So it is with Islam.

      Are you anti nazi? If yes then does that make you a racist because most nazis were German?

      You love to throw names around like “bigot”. A bigot is someone who holds to “truths” that are inarguable (to him) and who is so convinced of his rightness that he will not hear any countervailing arguments.
      His adherence to his beliefs is fervently irrational. By setting out my objections in a rational and explicit form I have told you why I think the way I do .Address the substance of the argument. If all you can do is call me a bigot then you are hoist on your own petard and become one.
      You need to have the courage to think logically and clearly because you may come to conclusions you don’t like. if you are emotionally tied to your own beliefs and will not subject them to cold logic you are a bigot. If to preserve your own cherished beliefs by calling someone else a bigot you are a hypocrite.

      • Abe
        April 11, 2017 at 18:52

        Knuckle dragging logician attempts to play the Nazi card.

        Coined by Leo Strauss in 1951, reductio ad Hitlerum borrows its name from the term used in logic, reductio ad absurdum (reduction to the absurd). According to Strauss, reductio ad Hitlerum is a form of ad hominem, ad misericordiam, or a fallacy of irrelevance. The suggested rationale is one of guilt by association. It is a tactic often used to derail arguments, because such comparisons tend to distract.

        • Bjdeed
          April 12, 2017 at 09:01

          BTW the preposition Ad regularly takes the dative in Cicerian Latin so if you’re trying to be a smartarse you just made yourself look even more stupid … you pathetic little fraud!

          Just because you cannot make the connection doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist.

          Now you’re trying to quote someone else because you can,’t think for yourself.

          None of what you wrote has any pertinence to what the topic is or the arguments used. I’m tempted to think you wrote it because you wanted to impress people. I suspect your about 15 with puberty issues!?

  53. April 9, 2017 at 14:20

    I am of the cynical view point Trump indeed was given intel of facts on the ground but went ahead with the tomahawks anyway. The 2 previous presidents could not hold back the maniacs in control our middle east devastation. Why did anyone actually think a president with such limited knowledge of foreign policy and a insatiable craving for acceptance stood a chance against them? This was to be expected. This is our brand now. This is how we make America great again..

  54. Darrin Rychlak
    April 9, 2017 at 14:09

    The problem with Islam is the problem with all dangerously expressed religions: Authoritarianism. A willingness to dominate and / or kill others under the demands of authoritarian devotion to any principle is the crux of the matter.

    It’s a free country. If people want to waste their time with religion, so be it. As soon as anyone starts manifesting authoritarian behavior in defense of or in advancement of their religion, then we have a problem. My way or the highway will not fly here.

    Maher is hitting the target but not grouping his shots.

    • April 10, 2017 at 19:15

      Too paint any religion with an absolute brush is grand ignorance.

      • Bjdeed
        April 12, 2017 at 08:45

        You fool … read the Koran.

        What if I said “to paint any political movement with a broad brush is grand ignorance” (think nazism)

        What are the sacred cows that are stopping you people from thinking? It’s astonishing how stupid you people are at every turn you trot out some high sounding cliche which is nonsense.

        We’ll see how you think after one of you loved ones is blown up by s Muslim in the name of allah shit be upon him)

        • MA
          April 13, 2017 at 02:15

          “in the name of allah shit be upon him)”

          Excellent remark, Bjdeed. Your superiority of thought is second to none. This is where every intellectual discussion must end. Congratulations.

  55. Tom O'Neill
    April 9, 2017 at 13:11

    This is really an excellent article. One could, I suppose, reduce it to: “JP brings empathy to the plight of Muslims, and Maher doesn’t.” But that might trivialize the merits of the article, suggesting it’s all a business of differing affectivities. What JP accomplishes is to reveal the Maher-and-company position as a position for people whose general ignorance of religious history and whose particular contempt/fear/distaste for Islam is such that they feel exempt from taking note of any of the particularities, any of the specific facts and issues that are in play.

  56. Zim
    April 9, 2017 at 13:00

    This is exactly why I quit watching Maher. Can’t take the completely unfounded hate. That and his ‘Russians’s hacking of our elections is an act of war’ BS.

    • Bjdeed
      April 11, 2017 at 00:03

      if the western world wanted to squash Islamic terrorism it could easily. It would involve calling the religion out and bringing the hammer down hard on Muslims. It might even mean declaring that Christianity is the state’s religion and removing all religious borne privileges from Islam. Alternatively declare the state sectarian and give no privileges to any religion. Then Islam would be viewed as just another subversive anti-social movement. It is the Politically Correct who won’t like this. It reminds me of Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler. You are pawns in the hands of the Bilderberg group.

      • Abe
        April 11, 2017 at 18:42

        Knuckle dragging reductio ad Hitlerum from Bjdeed:
        “It is the Politically Correct who won’t like this. It reminds me of Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler.”

  57. mike k
    April 9, 2017 at 12:33

    Bigots are stupid know-nothings. They are totally ignorant of the one’s they choose to hate and bully. I spent several years studying periodically and intensively with a Sufi Guide and his group. I am forever grateful for what I learned from that experience.

    The bigot projects all the worst nastiness within him/her onto some target, and thus is free to totally invent a description of this phantom target that bears little relationship to any other reality than his/her own sick mental delusion.

  58. Mundus Vult Decepi
    April 9, 2017 at 12:17

    Maher and Sam Harris are Zionist Jews. Their portrayal of Islam is perfectly in line with what the expansionist state of Israel wants the world to believe so they can justify taking more land, whether in the West Bank, the Golan Heights, or Southern Lebanon, in defense from “Radical Islam”. They go around destabilizing states next to them, putting in weak extremists, and then turn on the extremists saying they have to fight “terror.” Israel’s worst nightmare is a stable Syria or a stable Lebanon; it means they cannot expand in those directions. Please don’t be fooled by Maher “mistakenly” branding Islam as evil. He, Harris, et al. are doing with intention.

  59. Sten
    April 9, 2017 at 11:59

    Your defense for Islam is to bring up the sum total of non-Muslim travesties worldwide, including events before the birth of Islam in the 600s.

    You conveniently forget that Muslims, a much smaller total of the world’s history-long population than everyone else, have been responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths by enslavement and conquest. The Muslim invasion of India cost some 80 million Hindu lives alone. Islamic slavery dwarfs the Atlantic slave trade in duration and numbers.

    You also conveniently forget that this is now. We are not living in the Crusades or the Great Leap Forward. We do not have to sit by as a violent and supremacist religion wreaks havoc and accept it because of the Salem Witch Trials. By your reasoning, I should accept anyone’s vile theology: Who am I to point the finger at anyone if one of my ancestors gave a Native American the measles in 1643? Absurd.

    Islam is a bad ideology. It is inherently violent, because Islamic morality is based on the gory antics of an illiterate desert warlord and bandit. Whenever a murderous cult leader bases a religion around himself, then the results are murderous.

    • FobosDeimos
      April 9, 2017 at 12:47

      Well, but it was that same set of beliefs and that same book which inspired the golden age of Islamic culture, when Arab astrononers, philosophers, doctors and political leaders were light years ahead of the backward Christians during the Dark Ages, and it was thank to them that all those treasures from ancient Greece were preserved and translated. As for genocidal calls to arms there is nothing like the Old Testament, where a whimsical and criminal god keeps on bringing mass murder on everybody who was not part of his “chosen people”. Instead of attacking Islam as a whole, the “West” should abandon all financial and military support for those who are responsible for the murderous version of Islam pushed forward by Wahabism and work in close cooperation with all Muslims who oppose that fanatical vision.

      • Camoes
        April 9, 2017 at 17:00

        I beg to disagree about the “islamic” golden age. The muslim historians claim the golden age was inspired by islam itself. This is not really coherent with the fact that most of the scientists, philosophes, engineers, of the islamic golden age were either christian, or Persian, or Spanish (very few had been muslims for more than one or two generations). Many actually suffered persecution for not being close enough to islamic tradition.

        The non-muslim historians have a simpler explanation to the golden age: while Europe was marred with conflicts, germanic invasions, the islamic lands were stable and relatively peaceful. It was a safe haven for European or Persian scholars, while remaining relatively open-minded. Then by the end of the 13th century the muslim world became more devout, gave much more importance to their sacred texts, which were to be taken literally. Philosophers were then considered heretic.

        So it sounds more correct to say that the golden age flourished in spite of islam and came to an end because of islam.

        • Irene
          April 10, 2017 at 09:09

          So, you are faulting Muslims for knowing wisdom when they saw it, preserving that wisdom and expanding on it? Many of the so-called Europeans you refer to were in fact Arab Muslims. Averoess is the Europeanized name for Ibn Rushd. His medical text, Colliget Averois, was used until the 19th century. Arab Muslim doctors were way ahead of Europeans in sterilizing their operating instruments and using pain killers. As late as the American Civil war American doctors took a manly pride in their filthy aprons and operating instruments and killed more patients than than the battles themselves. But lets not look at the distant past. The father of mainframe computing is Jerrier Haddad, a Syrian. Fazlur Rahman Khan, Bangladeshi American architect of the Sears tower made advances in high rise technology. Many more to be found by searching patents and Nobel laureates

          • Camoes
            April 10, 2017 at 20:25

            Hi Irene!

            >Let’s not look at the distant past
            We were precisely discussing the islamic golden age: does it prove that islam promotes knowledge and tolerance?

            >So, you are faulting Muslims for knowing wisdom when they saw it?
            You agree with me that we must remain calm and rational, and avoid such accusations. On the contrary, you and I praise all people (be they muslim or not) who see wisdom and develop it.

            >So-called europeans you refer to were in fact Arab Muslims.
            Your mention of Andalusian Philosopher Ibn Rushd is very interesting, as he was forced into exile at the end of his life for heresy. That was the indeed a first symptom of the end of the Golden age, through a return to the so-called “original” literalist of islam. He was immediately admired in the North (on the other side of the Pyrenees), but his philosophical writings are still today mostly ignored by the muslims, or even considered as heretic by the traditional muslims. The scientists Jerrier Haddad and Fazlur Rahman Khan you mention were born in enlightened and/or not very practicing families (which is perfectly ok).

            You could have mentioned Abdus Salam, nobel prize in physics, who was indeed devout. He was Ahmadiyya, which is a particularly tolerant branch of islam. But as you know Ahmadiyya muslims represent less than 1% of muslims and are routinely insulted and persecuted by mainstream muslims for being apostates.

            I understand we do not want to look bigoted, and most of all we do not want to bring water to Trumps’ mill. How will we feel once we realize we are perfectly rational people that can have great critical conversations on islam? So rationally and historically, we will agree that traditional sunni islam impedes rational thinking, scientific knowledge and philosophy. These however flourished twice in the muslim world during the golden age and to a lesser extend let us not forget the Al-Nahda movement. They flourished not thanks to islam, but despite islam.

            Thanks for your input Irene!

          • Bjdeed
            April 12, 2017 at 03:06

            The crusaders have put aman on the moon what have the Muslims done? Invented zero? Wow!!! I would’ve thought they would’ve invented a more efficient method of beheading -atopic very dear to their hearts – but no even the French beat them to that!

      • Stenides
        April 9, 2017 at 18:53

        Cameos has already given you an excellent answer to the question of the Islamic “Golden Age”. Mohammed, an illiterate, set his sights on two of the most advanced and wealthy cultures nearby: Byzantium and Persia. His successors invaded and conquered those regions. They were careful to preserve human and intellectual capital, keeping Byzantines and Persians as dhimmis and slaves of the Islamic state. The Abbasid caliphs adopted Persian intellectual heritage, bureaucracy, craftsmanship, and human talent: they were really Arab overlords ruling Persian subjects. Likewise, the Umayyads adopted the flower of Byzantine scholarship and know-how. Over the years, Muslim invaders have carefully and deliberately selected out human talent from conquered regions. Islam itself is an intellectual dead-end that requires constant expansion and annexation of the innovations and capabilities of other cultures. This is why Islam is so stagnant now: they have been blocked from conquest since the 1400s by Western intellectual and military advancement. They know this fact very well.

        Wahhabism is puritanical Islam. Wahhabis seek to go back to the original days of Mohammed and the first four caliphs and live according the customs and sharia laws established early on. That is why Wahhabism is nearly impossible to resist for most Muslims. It has Islamic scripture and tradition firmly on its side. Those who argue against Wahhabist thought must deny the validity of Mohammed’s example, and they are quickly declared apostates for that reason.

      • George
        April 10, 2017 at 10:14

        lol. The Islamic golden age was inspite Muhammad’s teachings.

    • Abe
      April 9, 2017 at 23:03

      Sten, Camoes, Stenides vomit up the usual muddle of Huntingtonian revisionism and straight up racism.

      Such despicable “other as parasite” logic has been a staple of European anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish racism for centuries.

      For obvious geopolitical purposes, these creatures have substituted the “Eternal Muslim” for the Nazi’s “Eternal Jew”:

      What’s truly sad is how many hard and soft-core Zionists casually embrace this sort of Der Stürmer propaganda filth.

      • Sten
        April 10, 2017 at 11:05

        What is racist about my comments? I have stated that Islam has been an ideological threat to all races and cultures. The main toll has been in places like the Indian subcontinent, where Hindus, Buddhists and others were slaughtered and enslaved in droves. Hindu women practiced a form of mass self-immolation in order to prevent capture by Muslims. They knew they would be condemned to a life of sexual slavery if captured.

        Muslims enslaved all manner of people, but it is arguable that Africa was the main target for the Islamic slave trade. The Saharan slave routes were hugely costly in lives. The Abbasids of Iraq (part of the “Golden Age of Islam”) had so many black slaves being worked on plantations, that there was a serious slave rebellion in the 800s called the Zanj Rebellion. Black slavery is traditional in Islam; Mohammed himself had many black slaves.

        Your main defense for your position seems to be name-calling rather than dealing in facts. Refute what I have said, instead of attacking me with a mish-mash of SJW epithets and rhetoric. You can’t even figure out whether to call me an anti-Semite or a Zionist, so you appear to be calling me both. That looks stupid, and it is no way to win an argument.

        • Bjdeed
          April 12, 2017 at 03:11

          Don’t fall for their facile bullying if they call you a racist or an ISLAMOPHOBE you know they’re out of bullets and you’ve won. The amusing thing is that none have called me that to my face when I’ve confronted these politically correct liberals so it seems most of them are cowards as well.

      • Abe
        April 10, 2017 at 14:16

        Racism is discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. Ethnicity is defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art, and physical appearance. Racism and racial discrimination apply to discrimination on an ethnic or cultural basis, independent of whether these differences are described as racial.

        Thus your comments such as “Islam has been an ideological threat to all races and cultures” are completely racist.

        I did not call you a name. I described what you and your buds are doing: vomiting up “the usual muddle of Huntingtonian revisionism and straight up racism” with great enthusiasm.

        The religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have all engaged in warfare, conquest and slavery. If you want to advance an “argument” about who had the happier captives and slaves, good luck with that.

        • Sten
          April 10, 2017 at 17:07

          ” Ethnicity is defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art, and physical appearance.”

          This is nonsense. Religions, “origin myths”, and the like are selected ideologies we choose to believe. We are born into one or more racial groups, and to some degree, ethnic groups. The religion or ideology we choose to follow is a different matter and does not fall under the category of race. Do Agnostics call themselves a race? Are Christians an ethnicity?

          Islam is not a race or ethnicity. Anyone can convert into or out of Islam. There are Muslims of many ethnic groups and races.

          Think of what you are saying here: if anyone’s personal ideology becomes an aspect of their ethnicity and cannot be criticized without accusations of bias, then all discussion is over. And that includes your right to accuse me of being a disciple of Huntington revision. So what if I am a Huntington revisionist? Maybe I am part of an extended kinship group who all believe the same thing, making us a nascent ethnicity. Then you are a racist AND a hypocrite for attacking me and my ethnic group.

        • Abe
          April 10, 2017 at 18:46

          Racism is discrimination and prejudice towards individuals or groups based on their race or ethnicity. Ethnicity includes religion.

          The muddled attacks on Islam from Sten (and Bill Maher) rely on generalized racist remarks such as “Islam is a bad ideology”.

          Sten’s muddle grows more grotesque with each comment.

        • Bjdeed
          April 11, 2017 at 08:56

          No race is a purely biological classification. It has nothing to do with culture.

        • Abe
          April 11, 2017 at 15:52

          An inability to distinguish between basic concepts like “race” versus “racism” (the latter concept encompasses both race and ethnicity, including culture and religion) is characteristic of the lowest knuckle dragging forms of racism.

          Bjdeed has his own shovel and he’s got your back, Sten.

        • Bjdeed
          April 12, 2017 at 03:19

          Sophistry! Race is an entirely biological classification. The muddy thinking that infests the soft “sciences” and humanities may serve to make you intellectually challenged feel good about yourselves but it doesn’t progress human thought,. Don’t forget the humanities primarily exist to keep those too stupid to do mathematics or engineering and too impractical to become an artisan or learn a useful trade busy and feeling important. Don’t get above yourselves though.

        • Abe
          April 13, 2017 at 13:40

          Knuckle dragging racist statement: “Race is an entirely biological classification.”

          In fact, “race” in humans does not have a biological meaning.

          The biological definition: “molecular techniques have developed to examine genetic differences between individuals and populations, including karyotypes providing chromosomal number and patterns, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) hybridization, protein sequences, and nuclear and mitochondrial base sequences from ancient and modern DNA. From all this evidence, it is clear that populational, but not racial, differences do exist within the human species. Race should not be equated with ethnicity, which has a sociological meaning. Ethnicity is a self-described category that has three components—ancestry, language, and culture—that all have affinities to certain ancestral groups.”

          Biologists understand that racial differences do not exist within the human species.

          Racism is not defined exclusively in terms of an appeal to a fictional “biological” notion of race.

          Racism is discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity.

      • Camoes
        April 10, 2017 at 22:08

        Abe, your answer is rather violent and unfair. But I am convinced that this violence is only on the surface and that you are a great, tolerant and liberal person inside. I am also convinced that, even if the violence of your words reminds me of Trump and some racists, you hate as much as me Donald Trump, its bigotry and all forms of racism.

        Anyways you say very interesting things, which reminds something a good friend of mine told me. He is living in Sweden married to a Swedish woman. He is muslim who lived in Morocco until 2005 (he was 24). He was not religiously literate until he visited random madrassas when he was 20. There he slowly developed his own opinion on mainstream islam: he found it intolerant, sexist, homophobic, violent, antidemocratic, racist, the usual things… This is an unremarkable opinion among muslim liberals, in Algeria and Morocco you can freely express that opinion, if you know that no fundamentalist is around to hear it.

        What baffled him when he came to Sweden is that when he expresses that opinion, many white people accuse him of bigotry and islamophobia. Then most of the time it slips to the accusation of racism. “Racism against what? My own race?” That question often makes the white Swedes enter a strange state of cognitive dissonance: that guy has brown skin, he is obviously poor, left-winger, liberal, anti-racist, born muslim, but at the same time they feel the absurd urge to call him racist or bigot just because he criticizes islam. He then insists playfully on that contradiction and that make the Swedes grow more and more uncomfortable. They would like to leave the conversation, but do not dare to, because they are afraid of being impolite and being themselves called racist.
        That leaves them in psychological suffering complete confusion.

        I think he should proceed to explain them where these contradictory feelings come from. It is quite simple: criticism of islamic teachings has over recent years has been associated
        – either with truly racist and bigoted discourse from the extreme right-wing (in the form of abuse),
        – or with harsh punishment: violent accusations of bigotry, islamophobia, racism from some islamic associations, death threats for even more radical muslims, and even shocking terror attacks in the news.
        This is just operant conditioning through negative reinforcement. The unpredictability of the punishment makes the conditioning even more potent. They have come, through violent punishment, to genuinely believe that criticism of islam is just absolutely wrong (as opposed to other ideologies). And they were taught to associate it systematically to bigotry, islamophobia and accusations of racism. They can partially found that association on rational thoughts tough, since people from the christian extreme right are, more often than not, racists and Islamophobes.

        But the conditioning has become so strong in recent years, that they are not able anymore to imagine that a tolerant anti-bigots left-winger also may be a harsh critic of islam. And they will stick to their irrational belief up to the point where they accuse a Moroccan muslim of anti-muslim anti-moroccan racism.

        The positive thing here is that it is possible to undo the negative conditioning, by pushing far enough the discomfort of cognitive dissonance and by explaining the phenomenon.

        Stay strong with us Abe, the amazing critical and analytical capabilities of our minds will win.

      • Camoes
        April 10, 2017 at 22:38

        Abe, your answer is rather violent and unfair. But I am convinced that this violence is only on the surface and that you are a great, tolerant and liberal person inside. I am also convinced that, even if the violence of your words reminds me of Trump and some racists, you hate as much as me Donald Trump, its bigotry and all forms of racism.

        Anyways you say very interesting things, which reminds something a good friend of mine told me. He is living in Sweden married to a Swedish woman. He is muslim who lived in Morocco until 2005 (he was 24). He did not know that much about his religion until he visited different madrassas when he was 20 to see what it all was about. There he slowly developed his own opinion on mainstream islam: he found it intolerant, sexist, homophobic, violent, antidemocratic, racist, the usual things… This is an unremarkable opinion among muslim liberals, in Algeria and Morocco you can freely express that opinion, if you know that no fundamentalist is around to hear it.

        What baffles him since he came to Sweden is that when he expresses that opinion, many white people accuse him of bigotry and islamophobia. Then most of the time it slips to the accusation of racism. “Racism against what? My own race?” That question often makes the white Swedes enter a strange state of cognitive dissonance: that guy has brown skin, he is obviously poor, left-winger, liberal, anti-racist, born muslim, but at the same time they feel the absurd urge to call him racist or bigot just because he criticizes islam. He then insists playfully on that contradiction and that make the Swedes grow more and more uncomfortable. They would like to leave the conversation, but do not dare to, because they are afraid of being impolite and being themselves called racist. That leaves them in psychological suffering and intense confusion.

        I think he should proceed to explain them where these contradictory feelings come from. It is quite simple: criticism of islamic teachings has over recent years has been associated
        – either with truly racist and bigoted discourse from the extreme right-wing (in the form of abuse),
        – or with harsh punishment: violent accusations of bigotry, islamophobia, racism from some islamic associations, death threats for even more radical muslims, and even shocking terror attacks in the news.
        This is just operant conditioning through negative reinforcement. The unpredictability of the punishment makes the conditioning even more potent. They have come, through violent punishment, to genuinely believe that criticism of islam is just absolutely wrong (as opposed to other ideologies). And they were taught to associate it systematically to bigotry, islamophobia and accusations of racism. They can partially found that association on rational thoughts tough, since people from the christian extreme right are, more often than not, racists and Islamophobes.

        But the conditioning has become so strong in recent years, that they are not able anymore to imagine that a tolerant anti-bigots left-winger may also be a harsh critic of islam. And they will stick to their irrational belief up to the point where they accuse a Moroccan muslim of anti-muslim anti-moroccan racism.

        The positive thing here is that it is possible to undo the negative conditioning, by pushing far enough the discomfort of cognitive dissonance and by explaining the phenomenon.

        Stay strong with us Abe, the amazing critical and analytical capabilities of your mind together with mine will win and lead to more tolerance, less sexism, less homophobia and less racism.

    • Irene
      April 10, 2017 at 10:25

      Grenada, the last outpost of Islam in Europe before the Spanish inquisition completely obliterated them avoided the bubonic plague. How? (I’m sure you’re curious to know) commonsense cleanliness, sanitation and the keeping of cats, all esposed by said “illiterate desert warlord and bandit”. Cats were deemed agents of the devil by the Christian church.

      • Sten
        April 10, 2017 at 11:20

        The Black Plague was common and devastating in the Islamic world.

        I found a quotation in a book by Michael B. Barry “Homage to Al Andulus” stating that the plague swept through Grenada in 1348 during the rule of Yusuf I. Do you have a source to counter the veracity of this?

        Here is an account of the general devastation of the Islamic world:
        “The Black Death ravaged much of the Islamic world.[90] Plague was present in at least one location in the Islamic world virtually every year between 1500 and 1850.[91] Plague repeatedly struck the cities of North Africa. Algiers lost 30 to 50 thousand inhabitants to it in 1620–1621, and again in 1654–1657, 1665, 1691, and 1740–1742.[92] Plague remained a major event in Ottoman society until the second quarter of the 19th century. Between 1701 and 1750, thirty-seven larger and smaller epidemics were recorded in Constantinople, and an additional thirty-one between 1751 and 1800.[93] Baghdad has suffered severely from visitations of the plague, and sometimes two-thirds of its population has been wiped out.”

        Mohammed was illiterate, as all Muslim scripture confirms. He was a a warlord who led over 25 battles himself. He was a bandit who famously attacked caravans and robbed them between 622-630. He was hardly the king of sanitation and his wives were known for practicing open defecation in the fields.

        • Irene
          April 10, 2017 at 11:52

          It’s difficult to find anything that speaks well of Muslims in English or in any European language, but Jews, who had similar sanitary and burial practices had a much lower death rate from the plague as well. Christians, rather than emulating those practices, blamed the Jews for the plague and persecuted them as they persecuted cats.

          • Sten
            April 10, 2017 at 12:09

            Your claim is that Grenada did not suffer from the plague. I found evidence that they did, and even provided a date and source. Provide evidence that they did not suffer from the plague or retract your claim.

            Now you are bringing up Jews and cats. Yes, Christians persecuted Jews and killed cats. It is possible that killing cats increased the plague, but you have not offered proof of this. It is possible that Jews had lower mortality, which was apparently claimed by Christians,but this could have been for many reasons: chosen professions, community insularity, etc. This claim might also have been a way of accusing Jews of causing, but not suffering, from the plague. This is all interesting speculation, but what is your point?

            There is no indication that Muslim sanitary practices protected them from the plague, which was primarily caused by fleas, which were endemic even in very well-kept places. You should retract your claim.

          • Irene
            April 12, 2017 at 14:27

            My source is a friend who is directly descended from the Moors. I couldn’t say whether he read it or it was a family story that was passed down. Perhaps he exagerated, but I see no reason to recant based on your one source. I’m in the process of doing further research and it is fascinating. Thank you for the stimulating discussion.

        • Irene
          April 10, 2017 at 12:01

          Barring installing plumbing and sewage treatment facilities, defacation in an open field is the most optimal way of dealing with human waste. Keep it away from drinking water sources and expose it to UV radiation to kill bacteria.

          • Sten
            April 10, 2017 at 12:18

            Even certain wild animals, such as pigs and badgers, establish latrine areas away from their living spaces.

            Ancient cultures thousands of years before Mohammed–the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, were meticulous about setting up toilet facilities.

            I’m not going to accept excuses for a man who had his 11 wives openly defecating where people could later walk by and step in it.

            Did you know that one reason they had to veil was that he believed people could see them out there doing it?

          • Irene
            April 12, 2017 at 14:11

            The veil preceded Islam and is not mandated anywhere in the Koran.

      • Abe
        April 10, 2017 at 15:44

        Cats have been venerated in the Near East since antiquity, a tradition adopted by Islam, albeit in a much modified form. According to many hadiths, Mohammad prohibited the persecution and killing of cats. In Islamic tradition, cats are appreciated for their cleanliness. Aside from protecting granaries and food stores from pests, cats were valued by the paper-based Arab-Islamic cultures for preying on mice that destroyed books. For that reason, cats are often depicted in paintings alongside Islamic scholars and bibliophiles.

        Irene’s inaccurate remark about cats and Grenada made Sten scatter off to the bookshelf.

        Not content with pointing out Irene’s inaccuracy, Sten quickly promoted that peculiar fetish of anti-Muslim racist propaganda: Coprophilia (from Greek kópros – excrement and philía – liking, fondness).

        In their zeal to defame Islamic ritual purity, racist rats love to fantasize about “open defecation” by women.

        Sten displays this paraphilia for scat. Obviously he and his buds are really into talking shit.

        • Sten
          April 10, 2017 at 17:26

          “Irene’s inaccurate remark about cats and Grenada made Sten scatter off to the bookshelf.”

          Which was the worst part? Pointing out inaccuracy? Using truth to defend my position? Indulging in a bit of research?

          “In their zeal to defame Islamic ritual purity, racist rats love to fantasize about “open defecation” by women.”

          Well, I was really trying to defuse a myth. The myth is that Europeans of the Middle Ages were filthy barbarians who routinely killed cats, while Muslims held some sort of gold standard for humane animal husbandry and sanitation. And then, of course, the ancillary theory, now debunked, that Muslims did not suffer from the plague.

          The truth is that Muslims engaged in all sorts of unsanitary practices, and so did Europeans/Christians/non-Muslims.

          Additionally, while Muslims liked cats, they tended to despise and abuse dogs. The superstitions Europeans held about cats are paralleled by the widespread belief among Muslims that a black dog is a manifestation of Satan.

          Mohammed said (according to Islamic scripture): “It is your duty to kill the jet-black (dog) having two spots (on the eyes) for it is a devil.” (Sahih Muslim, which are reliable hadiths tantamount to holy scripture)

          If Christians went around calling black dogs manifestations of the devil, we would certainly hear them accused of racism, animal cruelty and superstitious fanaticism. But you and Irene will probably be strangely quiet about this discovery.

        • Abe
          April 10, 2017 at 18:58

          Superstitious fanaticism: The Talmud (Baba Kama 15b) cites Rabbi Natan who asserts that one who raises an “evil dog” in his home violates the biblical prohibition “Do not place blood in your home” (Deuteronomy 22:8). The implication is that it is permissible to raise a dog in one’s home provided that the creature is not an “evil dog”.

          Indulging in a bit of research is fine, Sten, but your evil dog research is highly selective.

          Using poop to defend your position appears to be your forté.

        • Bjdeed
          April 11, 2017 at 08:58

          Hey Abe… can you get any further up yourself?

    • April 10, 2017 at 19:12

      Having lived among muslims I know your rant is nonsense. Almost all cultures enslaved one another throughout history. The Euporeans are superceded by none in ther barbarit. Think 100 years war, prosents slaughtering each othe and catholics visa versa. Europeans were murdered for merely contemplateing changing there faith. Muslim haters fuel Salafists.

    • Abe
      April 11, 2017 at 17:06

      Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all hosted slavery enthusiasts.

      Jews were the chief traders in the segment of Christian slaves at some epochs and played a significant role in the slave trade in some regions. During the Middle Ages, Jews acted as slave-traders in Slavonia, North Africa, Baltic States, Central and Eastern Europe, Spain and Portugal, and Mallorca[. The most significant Jewish involvement in the slave-trade was in Spain and Portugal during the 10th to 15th centuries. Jews continued to own slaves during the 16th through 18th centuries, and ownership practices were still governed by Biblical and Talmudic laws. Myriad Hebrew and other sources indicate that owning slaves—particularly women of Slavic origin—was uniquely prevalent during this period among the Jewish households of the urban centres of the Ottoman Empire.

      Jewish participation in the Atlantic slave trade increased through the 17th century because Spain and Portugal maintained a dominant role in the Atlantic trade and peaked in the early 18th century, but started to decline after the Peace of Utrecht in 1713 when Britain obtained the right to sell slaves in Spanish colonies, and Britain and France started to compete with Spain and Portugal. By the time the worldwide slave trade and European sugar-growing reached its peak in the 18th century, Jewish participation was dwarfed by the enterprise of British and French planters who did not allow Jews among their number.

      The New World location where Jews played the largest role in the slave-trade was in the Caribbean and Suriname, most notably in possessions of the Netherlands, that were serviced by the Dutch West India Company. The slave trade was one of the most important occupations of Jews living in Suriname and the Caribbean. The Jews of Suriname were the largest slave-holders in the region.

      During the 19th century, some Jews owned some cotton plantations in the southern United States. In January 1861, on the eve of the American Civil War, Rabbi Dr. M.J. Raphall of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City delivered a sermon that defended the institution of slavery based on the authority of the Torah”

      “Noah did not bestow any blessing on his son Ham, but uttered a bitter curse against his descendants, and to this day it remains a fact which cannot be gainsaid that in his own native home, and generally throughout the world, the unfortunate negro is indeed the meanest of slaves. Much has been said respecting the inferiority of his intellectual powers, and that no man of his race has ever inscribed his name on the Pantheon of human excellence, either mental or moral. But this is a subject I will not discuss. I do not attempt to build up a theory, not yet to defend the moral government of Providence. state facts; and having done so, I remind you that our own fathers were slaves in Egypt, and afflicted four hundred years; and then I bid you reflect on the words of inspired Isaiah (lv. 8.), “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the L-rd.”

      • Abe
        April 11, 2017 at 17:17

        Like religious racists who defend their creed from the pulpit, today’s secular racists (like Bill Maher and Sam Harris) claim “I state facts”.

  60. April 9, 2017 at 11:36

    Maher is a great comedy writer but on the subject of religion and spirituality his level of understanding is, at best, at a sixth-grade level. To put it another way, he only sees the surface and that very vaguely. My wife forced me to watch part of his movie *Religulous* which alerted me to the fact he was as fundamentalist in his thinking as the religions he attacks and his arguments are shockingly simple-minded. Sadly, he as well as the fundamentalists on all sides speak the same language but from opposite poles. Religion needs to be criticized and since Americans cannot, in general, understand anything beyond a middle school level it all comes down to cultural flag-waving.

    • Druid
      April 9, 2017 at 15:18

      And if you noticed, he gave the Ziosa fee pass in that movie. He modestly attacked Christianity but chose an extremist as his shill. Muslims got the worst of it with blatant lies. That’s when I realized what he was. He claims to be an atheist but he is an entrenched member of the tribe. His religion is zio-fascism!

      • Andrew
        April 9, 2017 at 18:10

        If you go to Youtube and watch Bill interviewing Netenyaju, it is almost creepy.

  61. Bjdeed
    April 9, 2017 at 11:36

    Oh please, Let’s not over complicate this. His concerns stem from verses like:
    Koran 8.12 “Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes.”

    And numerous other verses that the “terrorists who don’t represent Islam” use to justify their acts.The problem is that it seems their justification is plausible based on the Koran ( unlike say, the crusades or the Spanish Inquisition that can find no succour in the NT)

    Ignore these arguments if you like but the mainstream isn’t and you simply become irrelevant and ineffectual.

    • mike k
      April 9, 2017 at 12:24

      The old testament was used to justify the inquisition and the crusades. A bloody, vengeful and unforgiving scripture that old testament was. It’s still used by modern criminals who seek Christian excuses for their evil deeds.

      What inspires you Bjdeed to bring your support for Maher’s bigotry to this site? What kind of axe are you grinding, brother?

      • Bjdeed
        April 9, 2017 at 15:19

        Firstly about the the bible versus the Koran
        1) violence is described in the OT and even endorsed supposedly by Yahweh but only in the historical context of the event (e.g a battle) being recounted in the OT. You see the OT. Is in many an historical chronicle of the Israelites rather than a “manual” of laws and edicts like the Koran. So violence in this context is not an edict to be applied without limitation.
        2)Notwithstanding this historical context there are certain statements that”slip through” as unlimited edicts. The most infamous being “eye for an eye” etc these are specifiacally overturned by Jesus (e.g Matthew 5.38-
        38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

        So you see the bible isn’t the manifesto of hate that the Koran is.

        Now about bigotry:
        To all those who are so sure we are bigots that express misgivings about Islam: a “bigot” is someonewho holds prejudices based on, what they consider to be, inarguable truths. Therefore they cannot justify and neither see the need to justify their beliefs.
        When I express my concerns about Islam I give my justification based on the verses of the Koran. No one challenges me on this rather they avoid the issue by equivocating about the bible; I answer these claims about the bible. The next response is to be dismissed as a bigot. Notice none have actually addressed the reasons I give for my concerns.
        Who are the bigots?

        Does that answer your question brother.

        Let me offer my impressions on you …. I think you are so cock sure of your polically correct stance that you have become delusionally smug and no longer evaluate logically. You seem to come to opinions that are based on a set of political correctness filters rather than sound argument. Have ever studied any mathematics? Bro,

        • kntlt
          April 14, 2017 at 09:25

          Bjdeed … you are entitled to make your opinions about Islam and the Quraan, however you are not entitled to make your own facts about Isla and the Quran.
          Ignorance and fear is what makes bigotry. You are a well versed in the OT and the Babylonian Thalmud but you are ignorant of thr Quran. That makes you a bigot. Yes it does

      • Bjdeed
        April 9, 2017 at 15:24

        Oh I omitted answer one of your points bro…
        Theses a difference between Christian acting outside of and contrary to the bible (in particular the gospels – you know the Christian bit)and Muslims committing atrocities asINSTRUCTED BY THE KORAN..

        You see that bro?

        • mike k
          April 9, 2017 at 22:19

          Thanks for you response Bjdeed. I have a couple of questions for you:

          1. Are you a religious believer? If so, what faith?

          2. When MLK said that the USA was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, do you agree?

          3. Would you agree that “Islamic terrorism” was a small, almost insignificant factor in world affairs before the USA funded Bin Laden to fight the Russians in Afghanistan? And that the USA and Saudis and other Gulf states continue to create and fund the major
          terror organizations that are active in the world today?

          • George
            April 10, 2017 at 10:12

            As someone who lived in India for many years, I can assure you that “Islamic terrorism” was never a small, almost insignificant factor in their affairs. Nether was it for the Israelis.

          • Bjdeed
            April 10, 2017 at 12:41

            1) no but I was brought up being drilled in such stuff and can smell BS a mile off . Islam is a manifesto of hate.

            2) no the greatest purveyor of violence in the world is the Bilderberg group that holds western governments in the palm of their hands and manipulates states like the US to carry out violence on its behalf for the eventual goal of world domination and a return to the feudal system. Perversely they’ve also gained control of the left who have been lulled into an acquiescent insensibility of “politically correctness” – they (you) have lost the ability to process inputs and think independently.

            3) Islamic terrorism is a device intended to trigger widespread unrest and wars … maybe you’d call it a world war but that is semantics. The idea is to exploit the instability and destroy the freedoms of the middle class.

            Trump (for all his flaws) was not meant to happen neither was Brexit so I like them .

      • George
        April 10, 2017 at 10:11

        OK, fine. Bible and the Quran are both violent, hate-filled books. Happy?

      • Bjdeed
        April 11, 2017 at 07:22

        You haven’ t replied!? Out of bullets?

        • kntlt
          April 14, 2017 at 09:56

          Israel will end as fast as it began to exist. Zionists are pushing for a war against Islam to further the greater Israel plan. If WW3 starts the first thing to be wiped out will be Israel. Because that will make America realise it is free to think it has no real teason to fight anyone anymore. The zionist world domination plan has gone up in smoke and the planet can love itself again. The plague will be over.

    • LarcoMarco
      April 9, 2017 at 17:08

      Wasn’t Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, based on Koran citations similar to that quoted by Bjdeed?

    • MA
      April 10, 2017 at 14:53

      All Quranic verses that appear violent are related to war and war-like situations. Quoting these verses without reference to context often leads to misinterpretation of Quranic message. Same is the case with quoted verse 8:12. The context here is battle of Badr where Muslims had to defend themselves against 1000-men strong army of Quresh of Mekka who came to eliminate Islam and Muslims in Madina. Muslim army had only 313 men and were worried about the disproportionately bigger adversary. Quresh were defeated in the battle. It is believed that God sent angels to help Muslim army and that is the subject of this Ayah.
      In this 8:12, God is reminding Mohammad how He inspired angels that He (God) was with them (Angels), and that they provide support to believers and that He would fill the hearts of enemy soldiers (unbelievers) with terror, and that they smite above their necks and smite all their finger tips off them. Meaning, in spite of such a large army God will instil fear in their soldiers’ hearts and punish them in such a way that they would never dare to attack peaceful Muslims again.
      Verse 8:12 DOES NOT instruct Muslims to randomly attack and harm innocent civilians. Those Muslims who know their religion and those scholars who researched Islamic and Middle Eastern history have entirely different opinion about Islam and its people. I refer one of such scholars below:

      you must have heard the name Bernard Lewis, a Zionist neoconservative scholar on Islamic and Middle Eastern history, and not particularly a friend of Muslims, certainly not a Muslim apologist, concludes as follows in his book ISLAM: THE RELIGION AND THE PEOPLE referenced in Wikipedia under the heading “views on Islam” :

      “Muslim fighters are commanded not to kill women, children, or the aged unless they attack first; not to torture or otherwise ill-treat prisoners; to give fair warning of the opening of hostilities or their resumption after a truce; and to honor agreements. ….. At no time did the classical jurists offer any approval or legitimacy to what we nowadays call terrorism. Nor indeed is there any evidence of the use of terrorism as it is practiced nowadays.”
      In Lewis’ view, the “by now widespread terrorism practice of suicide bombing is a development of the 20th century” with “no antecedents in Islamic history, and no justification in terms of Islamic theology, law, or tradition.” He further comments that “the fanatical warrior offering his victims the choice of the Koran or the sword is not only untrue, it is impossible” and that “generally speaking, Muslim tolerance of unbelievers was far better than anything available in Christendom, until the rise of secularism in the 17th century.”

      • S.O'Hara
        April 11, 2017 at 10:08

        The problem is that in Islam, the ideal man is Mohammad. Compare to other religions – in Christianity, we have Jesus. In Buddhism, the Buddha. In Hinduism there are various gods and goddesses but they are not necessarily considered ideals to emulate… at any rate, how does Mohammad compare to, say, Jesus?

        Jesus never killed anyone. Jesus never raped the widow of a man he killed. Jesus never married a 9 year old girl when he was in his 50s. Jesus never razed a village that mocked him or plundered people who refused to believe in Him. Mohammad did all these things. Jesus did heal the sick, feed the hungry, advocate for the poor and talk about turning the other cheek. Mohammad did not do any of these things.

        Now, if someone was going to fanatically follow the teachings of a great person, I’d rather they follow the teachings of Jesus than Mohammad because then I would be more likely to be fed, healed and so on and less likely to be raped, murdered, etc.

        All that being said – Christians have done some horrible things. That is because the religion of Christianity became a huge power hungry organization and followers began to obey their religious leaders instead of actually trying to emulate the example of Jesus. Human beings are often evil. And unfortunately the more powerful someone becomes the more arrogant they tend to get and the more they can justify their bad behavior, etc. So we have Popes who were horribly abusive and so called Christian leaders who committed genocide.

        I will never deny that much evil has been done in the name of Christ. However Christ Himself was not evil. And the same can be said for many other religions – while evil has been done in the name of the Buddha, the Buddha was not evil. If Christians actually followed the example of Christ, if Buddhists followed the example of the Buddha, etc., think of what a better place the world would be. Whereas if all Muslims emulated Mohammad…

        • Bjdeed
          April 12, 2017 at 03:02


        • Irene
          April 12, 2017 at 13:09

          Unfortunately all too many self proclaimed Christians do not follow the example of Christ. Very few willingly lead a life of poverty to help humanity. Quite a few are perfectly ok with their government attacking another country with no provocation. And some are unabashadly pro-war and will spread any lie they hear and make up a few of their own to help bring on a war.

        • MA
          April 12, 2017 at 18:02

          Slandering respectable personalities is in your genes. There are those among you who declare Jesus an illegitimate child. And here you are who with sheer ignorance is declaring Mohammad all those things he was not. Muslims are different; their belief doesn’t complete unless they declare Jesus as true prophet and messenger of God. Why do they do that? Because Mohammad told them to do so.
          True scholars and researchers of Islam and Islamic history do not agree with your description of Mohammad. I have referenced one such scholar above who is a nonMuslim. You tell me who should I believe? A lifelong scholar in the relevant field or you – a habitual slanderer and mudslinger?

    • April 10, 2017 at 19:06

      The Salafists Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia greatest alliy and arms supplier is an extremely ignorant so called christian nation.

    • kntlt
      April 14, 2017 at 09:08

      The Arabic language has 14 synonyms to the word sword. Not one is used in the Quraan. The old testament uses the word sword over 200 times.

  62. Jacques Barbouze
    April 9, 2017 at 11:29

    Well, they do hate our liberal values :-p

    Seriously, Maher is more right than Sottile, who is just rehashing the usual stale leftist dogma’s about why people go to war on the US. But here’s the thing: radical islam isn’t just at war with the Americans, it’s at war with evryone else, and has been since its warlord-prophet first took up a sword.

    • April 9, 2017 at 11:51

      This is exhibits utter ignorance of the history of the world and of the history of Muslim civilization. I suggest you do some reading on the subject. To put it simply, Islamic culture, like Chinese culture and South Asian culture achieved a kind of stability that worked for most people. None of these culture ever had the level of warfare that the Europeans engaged in which Europe used to eventually conquer most of the world with the abilities achieved as a warrior culture. Islamic radicalism was a kind of natural reaction to the post-Ottoman world and its oppressive French and British domination. But, understand this, western intel services, starting before WWII encouraged and nurtured Islamic fundamentalism and after WWII the CIA and others worked closely with the Saudis to spread their brand of fundamentalism as a counter to both communism/socialism and Arab secular nationalism of Nasser and others that followed. The U.S., in particular, wanted a chaotic Middle East that was easy to manipulate and dominate. Also, terror had the ability to supplant the Soviet threat and the CIA and other intel agencies cooperated to keep enabling and funding terror groups like Al-qaeda and ISIS in order to ensure that there was always an “enemy” to guarantee a state of permanent war and control the Western public.

      • Bill Bodden
        April 9, 2017 at 12:59

        Well said, Chris. There has been no more barbaric religion than that of various Christian sects who have been waging war all over the world since The Crusades.

        • Realist
          April 9, 2017 at 16:47

          Maher does repeatedly make the point that all religion, including Christianity, is ultimately dysfunctional and the wellspring of much violence in the world. He basically misses the “vicious cycle” nature of Christianity’s and Islam’s opposition. There is a cause-and-effect relationship going both ways. He’s allowed the last 70 years of conflict between Judeo-Christianity and Islam, perhaps starting with the theft of Palastine to solve the “Jewish problem” after WWII and soon thereafter the overthrow of Iranian democracy at the behest of Big Oil, to cloud his judgement and focus on only the belligerent actions of one side. He’s like a ref who only throws a flag after pushback against a cheap shot rather than punishing the original infraction.

      • Sten
        April 9, 2017 at 21:41

        “To put it simply, Islamic culture, like Chinese culture and South Asian culture achieved a kind of stability that worked for most people. None of these culture ever had the level of warfare that the Europeans engaged in which Europe used to eventually conquer most of the world with the abilities achieved as a warrior culture.”

        Mohammed was a warlord and Islamic culture has been waging war for 1,400 years. Within 500 years of Mohammed’s death, Muslim imperialism had led to the conquest of Byzantium, Persia, Egypt, southern Spain, North Africa and parts of Central Asia. From the 1100s to the 1400s, Muslims set their sights on the Indian subcontinent and killed and enslaved tens of millions of Hindus in their war to dominate India.

        Within 100 years of Mohammed’s death, Muslims had invaded France and were repelled by Charles Martel at Tours. Muslims continued to attack Europe until European military technology stopped them, and controlled parts of eastern Europe, the Balkans, Spain and Italy at various points over a period of hundreds of years.

        Muslims do not advance without annexing more innovative cultures, and when the Ottoman were no longer able to succeed in Europe, they began stagnating militarily. They also practiced the Muslim tradition of using slave armies. In the case of the Ottoman empire, they enslaved Balkan Christian children and raised them to fight for the empire, which was not sustainable.

        Europeans had their age of empire, but that came after the Muslims built one of the largest empires known to the world.

        “Islamic radicalism was a kind of natural reaction to the post-Ottoman world and its oppressive French and British domination.”

        I hear this all the time. How long were the French actually in control in Syria? 25 years? And yet you would think that Syria was a long-time French colony.

        There is no reason to think that Islamic radicalism has anything to do with such a brief time period. Islam has had periods of radicalism over its entire history. Mohammed would have been perfectly compatible with ISIS. Wahhabism was developed from medieval Islamic thinkers and was fully fledged before the US became a nation. Freethinkers in Abbasid Iraq were suppressed by fundamentalists nearly 1,000 years ago.

        Once Islam stops blaming the West for all its problems, maybe they can start coming up with real solutions to religious rigidity, sectarianism and tribalism that are the true causes of many of their problems.

        • April 10, 2017 at 19:03

          The Ottoman practiced much less slaughter than Crusaders in the warfare. Ottomans accepted all creeds and merely taxed non-muslims at a higher rate and intergrated the best of all cultures. Europeans most commonly practiced total anhilation of their opponents excluding no one. During the Byzantine Empire Arabs had a hughly more sophisticated culture and science than the greatly ignorant Europeans. European monarchs rarely used christian doctors.

          • Sten
            April 10, 2017 at 21:39

            “The Ottoman practiced much less slaughter than Crusaders in the warfare. Ottomans accepted all creeds and merely taxed non-muslims at a higher rate and intergrated the best of all cultures. ”

            Between 1913-1922, a period of less than ten years, the Ottoman empire wiped out some 1.9 million members of minority groups such as the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. This does not include the death toll of the many historical battles fought as the Ottoman invaded Constantinople, a large part of the Balkans, North Africa, Europe, the Middle East and so forth.

            The death toll of all the Crusades is equal to or less than the people the Ottoman killed in a single ten year period of the 20th century.

            The Ottoman were exceptionally cruel. They took slaves in large numbers where ever they went. They practiced the torture of impalement. Vlad Tepes (Dracula) likely saw impalement first as a hostage of the Ottoman sultan as a child.

            Conquered people were punitively taxed by the Ottoman. The most painful tax was the devshirme, or child tax. Ottoman officials would periodically visit villages in the Balkans and take the healthiest and brightest Christian children as slaves.

            Boys would be trained to serve the empire, particularly as slave soldiers. Girls were used as sex slaves and household labor. This impoverished the Christians of the Balkans by taking the healthiest youth from the labor pool, as well as devastating families who would never see their children again.

        • Abe
          April 10, 2017 at 21:02

          Following the First World War, the Franco-Syrian War took place during 1920 between the newly established Arab Kingdom of Syria and France. French forces defeated the forces of the Hashemite monarch King Faisal, and his supporters, entering Damascus in July 1920. A new pro-French government was declared in Syria and eventually Syria was divided into several client states under the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon (1923?1946).

          So we don’t have to look all the way back to the Crusades to identify military encounters between the Syrians and the French.

          In 1798, the Ottomans in Constantinople received news of the French fleet’s destruction at Aboukir and believed this spelled the end for Bonaparte and his expedition, trapped in Egypt. Sultan Selim III decided to wage war against France, and sent two armies to Egypt.

          In January 1799, during the canal expedition, the French learned of the hostile Ottoman movements and that Jezzar had seized the desert fort of El-Arich ten miles (16 km) from Syria’s frontier with Egypt, which he was in charge of guarding. Certain that war with the Ottoman sultan was imminent and that he would be unable to defend against the Ottoman army, Bonaparte decided that his best defence would be to attack them first in Syria, where a victory would give him more time to prepare against the Ottoman forces on Rhodes.

          Bonaparte’s expedition captured Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth and Tyre. The siege of Acre began on 18 March but the French were unable to take it and it was here that the Syrian campaign came to an abrupt halt. After four months away from Egypt, the French arrived back at Cairo with 1800 wounded, after losing 600 men to the plague and 1200 killed in action.

          In any event, “Mohammed would have been perfectly compatible with ISIS” is just another steaming pile from Sten’s never-ending supply of poop.

          • Sten
            April 10, 2017 at 21:50

            All right, Abe. I don’t know what your point is. The Ottoman were an aggressive invading force that threatened Europe repeatedly. If Bonaparte pushed back at some point, that seems fair.

            As I said, and you confirm in your long informational comment, the French never colonized Syria and had little to do with it besides the period directly after the war when the Ottoman empire was dismantled because they were on the losing side in WWI.

            Mohammed and ISIS have lots of things in common. Sex slavery. A penchant for beheading. Confiscation of the goods and property of non-Muslims. Warfare. Hadd punishments like amputation and whipping. The practice of polygamy. The practice of having sex with children. The killing and assassination of “blasphemers” and “apostates”.

            Why don’t you explain the differences, rather than having me rattle off the endless list of similarities?

          • Abe
            April 11, 2017 at 01:33

            Sex slavery. A penchant for beheading. Confiscation of the goods and property of non-Muslims. Warfare. Hard punishments like amputation and whipping. The practice of polygamy. The practice of having sex with children. The killing and assassination of “blasphemers” and “apostates”.

            A neat description of most of European history.

            You are the one who said the phrase “Syria was a long-time French colony”. So you can’t even properly attack your own straw man. Truly pathetic.

            In fact, the last major French colonial gains were League of Nations mandates over the former territories of the Ottoman Empire that make up what is now Syria and Lebanon, as well as most of the former German colonies of Togo and Cameroon. Bled white by the World War One, the French struggled to maintain their colonial possessions.

            In 1925, Sultan al-Atrash led a revolt that broke out in the Druze Mountain and spread to engulf the whole of Syria and parts of Lebanon. Al-Atrash won several battles against the French, notably the Battle of al-Kafr on 21 July 1925, the Battle of al-Mazraa on 2–3 August 1925, and the battles of Salkhad, al-Musayfirah and Suwayda. France sent thousands of troops from Morocco and Senegal, leading the French to regain many cities, although resistance lasted until the spring of 1927. The French sentenced Sultan al-Atrash to death, but he had escaped with the rebels to Transjordan and was eventually pardoned. He returned to Syria in 1937 after the signing of the Syrian-French Treaty.

            Syria and France negotiated a treaty of independence in September 1936, and Hashim al-Atassi was the first president to be elected under the first incarnation of the modern republic of Syria. However, the treaty never came into force because the French Legislature refused to ratify it. With the fall of France in 1940 during World War II, Syria came under the control of Vichy France until the British and Free French occupied the country in the Syria-Lebanon campaign in July 1941. Continuing pressure from Syrian nationalists and the British forced the French to evacuate their troops in April 1946.

            No need to rattle of any more of your endless lists of nonsense. You’ve already amply demonstrated your ignorance and ineptitude.

          • Sten
            April 11, 2017 at 10:27

            “You are the one who said the phrase “Syria was a long-time French colony”. So you can’t even properly attack your own straw man. Truly pathetic.”

            I said that, based on the histrionics of various leftists, “YOU WOULD THINK” that Syria was a long-time French colony.

            Meaning that, in truth, it wasn’t.

            And because France never colonized and only briefly controlled Syria, the Syrians/Arabs/Muslims should stop claiming that France’s colonialism is what causes their seemingly endless political and social dysfunction.

            Tribalism, religious sectarianism and ethnic animosity are the problems. Fixing those will be the solution.

          • Abe
            April 11, 2017 at 12:51

            Sten keeps trying to stand up a “straw man:
            “Syrians/Arabs/Muslims should stop claiming that France’s colonialism is what causes their seemingly endless political and social dysfunction”

            Sten employs a common logical fallacy.

            A “straw man argument” is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”.

            One common folk etymology of the term “straw man” is is that it refers to men who stood outside courthouses with a straw in their shoe in order to indicate their willingness to be a false witness.

            In 2006, Robert Talisse and Scott Aikin expanded the application and use of the straw man fallacy beyond that of previous rhetorical scholars, arguing that the straw man fallacy can take two forms, the original form in which the opponent’s position is misrepresented, which they call the representative form and a new form which they call the selection form.

            The selection form focuses on a partial and weaker (and easier to refute) representation of the opponent’s position. Then the easier refutation of this weaker position is claimed to refute the opponent’s complete position. They point out the similarity of the selection form to the fallacy of hasty generalization, in which the refutation of an opposing position that is weaker than the opponent’s is claimed as a refutation of all opposing arguments. Because they have found significantly increased use of the selection form in modern political argumentation, they view its identification as an important new tool for the improvement of public discourse.

            Aikin and Casey expanded on this model in 2010, introducing a third form. Referring to the “representative form” as the classic straw man, and the “selection form” as the weak man, a third form is called the “hollow man”. A hollow man argument is one that is a complete fabrication, where both the viewpoint and the opponent expressing it do not in fact exist, or at the very least the arguer has never encountered them. Such arguments frequently take the form of vague phrasing such as “some say,” “someone out there thinks” or similar weasel words, or it might attribute a non-existent argument to a broad movement in general, rather than an individual or organization.

            A variation on the selection form, or “weak man” argument, that combines with an ad hominem is nut picking, a neologism coined by Kevin Drum. A combination of “nut” (i.e., insane person) and “cherry picking”, nut picking refers to intentionally seeking out extremely fringe, non-representative statements and/or individuals from members of an opposing group and parading these as evidence of that entire group’s incompetence or irrationality.

            Straw man argumentation is widespread in racist discourse.

        • MA
          April 11, 2017 at 07:38

          “They (Ottomans)also practiced the Muslim tradition of using slave armies. In the case of the Ottoman empire, they enslaved Balkan Christian children and raised them to fight for the empire, which was not sustainable.”

          They (Zionist Jews) also practiced the Jewish tradition of using slave armies. In the case of the Zionist Jews, they enslaved American ruling class by pouring money in to their elections and raised American soldiers to fight and die in the Middle East for the benefit of Israel. It is yet to be seen if this is sustainable or not.

        • April 12, 2017 at 09:14

          I was relating the crusader period. Basically there is no horror in the history of the world that europeans did not equal or surpass,

      • George
        April 10, 2017 at 10:10

        What kind of joke is this? Islam was spread by the same violence and mass murder that Christians perpetrated. In fact, these two cults spent a lot of time fighting each other.

        • S.O'Hara
          April 11, 2017 at 09:57

          Here is a key difference between Christianity and Islam (or Buddhism and Islam, or Judaism, etc.)

          In Christianity, the ideal man is Jesus Christ. Read about Him and what do we find? He healed the sick, fed the poor and told people to turn the other cheek. He never killed anyone, raped anyone or stole from anyone and was crucified. Now, read about the life of Mohammad, who is Islam’s perfect man, the great Prophet who Muslims should emulate. What is his life like? Well, he killed many people, he raped women, he pillaged places that would not convert to Islam, he married a 9 year old girl when he was in his 50s…

          Make the same comparison with other religions. Who is Buddhism’s ideal man? What was he like? How about the Hindu gods and goddesses? And so on.

          The reality is that of course Christians have committed atrocities in the name of their religion. That is because Christians are human beings and all human beings are capable of great evil. BUT at least the ideal Christian person was a man who never murdered anyone, who healed people, etc. Same with other religions – the ideal Buddhist person, the Buddha, was merciful and enlightened. The Hindu gods did participate in warfare but it was a “just” warfare and sometimes their actions were not represented as ideal but as lessons in what NOT to do. Even if you go back to stories of Zeus raping women – which is pretty horrible – the Greeks never claimed their gods represented an ideal that you were supposed to emulate and Zeus didn’t commit mass murder to get people to worship him.

          Philosophically I don’t really care what religion anyone is, or if they are an atheist, as long as they are willing to tolerate people who disagree with them and to respect free market solutions to problems instead of violence. In other words, if you don’t like your neighbor, build a wall or move or negotiate, but don’t beat him up. Unfortunately there are always people whose only solution to a problem is violence and sometimes the only way to defend yourself is to be violent back.

          That is actually what happened with the Crusades in a sense – the Holy Land was a Christian place that was conquered by the Muslims so the Christians decided they would take it back. If the Muslims had not first conquered those areas, there would have been no Crusades. And it wasn’t a peaceful Muslim conquest – it was violent. (I have no problems with peaceful conversions to Islam, or Christianity, or atheism or anything – it’s the violence I have an issue with.)

          Of course many Christians committed all sorts of atrocities, such as to the Native Americans. BUT… did they do it in the name of Christianity? Did they do it to emulate their supposed ideal, Jesus? In general, the more a person tries to be a good Christian and tries to emulate Jesus, the less violent they become. I think the same is true with Buddhists. But the more a Muslim tries to emulate Mohammad… the more devout a Muslim is the more likely he or she is to be violent, I think.
          So if you look at the relations between Christians and Native Americans you find that it was the more secular and less religious people committing the atrocities – many times religious Americans protested or tried to help the Native Americans.

          Also, there is pure human greed, the thirst for power, to be superior, etc. Christianity might be a slight governor for these things but it can’t stop them unless each person actually wants to give up greed, power, etc. Same with Buddhism, etc. Even atheists can be very moral people, but they have to be committed to it, and not allow greed, etc., to rule them. It is much easier to do this if your ideal is a figure like Jesus or the Buddha or (if you’re an atheist) high moral principles, etc. If your ideal is a man who routinely murdered, raped, stole, etc., then how much harder to be a good person? The fact that there are so many good and decent Muslims is a credit to them even more, given what their ideal man was.

          • Bjdeed
            April 12, 2017 at 02:59

            Notice how no one replies to dissent. They ignore devastating arguments only to go on and dibble their sewage somewhere else. NOW STOP TELLING THE TRUTH YOU FASCIST BIGOTTED ISLAMOPHOBE!!!

          • Irene
            April 12, 2017 at 13:02

            If you total all the victims if white Christian genocide: slaughter of Native Americans, North Atlantic slave trade, the many, many intra-European wars, the American Civil war, colonial slaughters in Africa and Southeast Asia, the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, French and American attacks on Vietnam and Cambodia, American support of vicious rightwing dictators in South and Central America and the Middle East, you will find that ideal role model or not, many people who claim to be Christian are pure evil. Not sure why this is. Perhaps it is the verse “whosoever believeth in him shall have life everlasting”. Perhaps all too many take that they can commit any sin and still go to heaven.

          • MA
            April 12, 2017 at 13:27

            The evil in your nature first forces you to falsely attribute to Mohammad murder, rape and stealing, and then same evil prevents you from considering the possibility that majority of Muslims’ good nature might be reflecting the good nature of their leader.

    • kntlt
      April 14, 2017 at 09:02

      That is such zionist flatulence, you should be ashamed.

  63. Tom Welsh
    April 9, 2017 at 11:18

    I do very much like “meddling with benefits”. That’s really good and succinct.

    In similar contexts, I often think of Tom Lehrer’s song “The Old Dope Peddler”:

    “When the shades of night are falling,
    Comes a fellow ev’ryone knows,
    It’s the old dope peddler,
    Spreading joy wherever he goes.
    Ev’ry evening you will find him,
    Around our neighborhood.
    It’s the old dope peddler
    Doing well by doing good”.

    The last line seems to describe American foreign policy so well. Consider, for instance, this passage from Stephen Kinzer’s excellent but stomach-turning book “The Brothers”:

    “One of the most striking aspects of the Dulles brothers’ careers in the period between the wars was the ease with which they moved between service to government and private clients. Sometimes they served both at once. In a later age, their conflicts of interest would have been considered not just unethical but illegal. Yet no one asked them for financial disclosures, and few eyebrows were raised when they found ways to profit from their diplomatic assignments”.

  64. Tom Welsh
    April 9, 2017 at 11:12

    ‘They hate us because Islam is the enemy of the “liberal” values and, by extension, of the entire civilized world’.

    I really do wish someone would stand up and tell us, once and for all, what those blessed “Western values” are. I have a hunch they refrain from doing that because merely to recite them would evoke hysterical laughter as it becomes obvious how they are all contradicted, every single minute of every day, by our governments and other institutions.

    I searched for “Western values” and this is what Google gave me first of all:

    “Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society or European civilization is a term used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, and specific artifacts and …”

    Well, that’s helpful. A nice bunch of high abstractions with no denotations.

    Another hit was an 8-minute talk by Ibn Warraq in which he mentioned, early on, “rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom of conscience and expression, human rights, liberal democracy”.

    I could sit here and write a long book about how every single one of those is insulted, ignored, and trampled underfoot in the West. (My personal favourites are rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth… No,, actually, they are ALL my favourites).

    As a tiny start on rationalism, self-criticism, and the disinterested search for truth, I might cite Bill Maher’s very remarks discussed in this article. In my opinion, he shows utter contempt for all three.

    As for “liberal democracy” as currently practiced in the West, it amounts to a poisonous plutocracy sustained by militarism and financial tyranny. Show Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, or any other of the Founding Fathers the hideous mess that Americans have made of their high principles, and I warrant they would beg to be returned to their own time immediately. Read George Washington’s Farewell Address, then contemplate modern American foreign policy and weep.

    • Tom Welsh
      April 9, 2017 at 11:20

      Please, moderator or site owner, delete this duplicate of my previous comment. I am sorry I double posted – it was because I got a message telling me my post had not been accepted. (Actually, it seems it had).

      • Marko
        April 9, 2017 at 20:23

        The duplicate-delete bot has examined your post and determined that it was worth repeating.

        This is an automated message.

    • Bill Bodden
      April 9, 2017 at 15:06

      After 9/11 and Dubya’s bullshit about “them” hating us for our freedom Gore Vidal wrote “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” explaining why “they” really hate us.

      • kntlt
        April 14, 2017 at 08:54

        They don’t hate Us, they just want to be left alone. That is all.

    • Sunset
      April 9, 2017 at 22:19

      If you don’t mind, a little religious slant here: Western values, touted so often, could be likened unto the (biblical) Rabbis standing in market places praying, … to be seen if men. Hmmm.

    • DannyWeil
      April 10, 2017 at 19:09

      Liberal values equal capitalist values. Liberalism is dead. It has no answers for history and has gotten us to the point we are now due to the fact liberals never question the economic system that controls them. And capitalism is hardly a progressive moral system

  65. Tom Welsh
    April 9, 2017 at 11:05

    ‘They hate us because Islam is the enemy of the “liberal” values and, by extension, of the entire civilized world’.

    I really do wish someone would stand up and tell us, once and for all, what those blessed “Western values” are. I have a hunch they refrain from doing that because merely to recite them would evoke hysterical laughter as it becomes obvious how they are all contradicted, every single minute of every day, by our governments and other institutions.

    I searched for “Western values” and this is what Google gave me first of all:

    “Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society or European civilization is a term used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, and specific artifacts and …”

    Well, that’s helpful.

    Another hit was an 8-minute talk by Ibna Warraq in which he mentioned, early on, “rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom of conscience and expression, human rights, liberal democracy”.

    I could sit here and write a long book about how every single one of those is insulted, ignored, and trampled underfoot in the West. (My personal favourites are rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth… No,, actually, they are ALL my favourites).

    As a tiny start on rationalism, self-criticism, and the disinterested search for truth, I might cite Bill Maher’s very remarks discussed in this article. In my opinion, he shows utter contempt for all three.

    As for “liberal democracy” as currently practiced in the West, it amounts to a poisonous plutocracy sustained by militarism and financial tyrrany. Show Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, or any other of the Founding Fathers the hideous mess that Americans have made of their high principles, and I warrant they would beg to be returned to their own time immediately.

    • April 9, 2017 at 11:43

      Western values result from cultural failure thus emerged the modern era which questioned traditions and broke with the past. This was a grand enterprise full of horrible results but also full of the most amazing and awe-inspiring culture ever devised. Since we are each part of this culture in its modernist and now post-modernist stage we are hard-pressed to see it clearly. This culture is all we and in its more global reach involves nearly everyone. We have to keep going and not look back and have the courage to open up and develop our culture as it emerges into utterly new ground

    • April 9, 2017 at 11:50

      The “blessed Western values” are numerous and some appeal to different people more than others. The values can still exist and be at the core of western civilization, even when individual Westerners perpetrate behaviour that is in contradiction to them.
      Here’s one way to find out which Western values are actually operational: ask people who apply to enter Western countries as immigrants, or those who break in illegally, what it is that appeals to them.

      • DannyWeil
        April 10, 2017 at 19:15

        The economic system of the West, as it is called, is capitalism. and capitalism has Ayn Rand values. Your on your own buddy, I got mine you get yours, it is all about me, I want stuff, I am happy with money, etc. These Western ‘values’ lad to a situation of a country and its people wanting more and more and thus imperialism,corruption and greed.

        Are Western values, the values of capitalism, really what we want? After all,look at the moral underpinnings of America and the filth, the corruption, the narcissm, the hate, the racism, the sexism, the homophobia, the violence and the urge for war. All capitalist values and all internalized values that most Americans hold.

    • Bill Bodden
      April 9, 2017 at 12:54

      I really do wish someone would stand up and tell us, once and for all, what those blessed “Western values” are.

      “Our values” are another of countless myths most Americans either believe or are used by the more cynical for propaganda purposes: No one is above the law, one nation, …, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, the United States is a democracy, etc. including all the religious shibboleths.

    • Andrew
      April 9, 2017 at 13:16

      Western value is mostly an illusion created by wealth and good fortune that makes our society run better than middle eastern countries who’s society we’ve destroyed over centuries.

      • April 10, 2017 at 09:33

        Lybia, Syria and Iraq had much better state social benefits for citizens than the USA ever had. All three were socialist nations.

        • George
          April 10, 2017 at 10:07

          So the life of the average Libyan, Syrian and Iraqi was better than the life of the average American?

          • April 10, 2017 at 18:27

            Subjective but possible. For example before the Western allies introduced terrorists , a Syrian could attend medical school for a total of $100.

          • DannyWeil
            April 10, 2017 at 19:18

            No,this is not what he said. They could never have had the technological dominance of America or the advancement due to their being raped by the British and the US. But the dictatorship of capital, which you live under, certainly is a failure and you can see it not only on the street, but in the eyes of the sharpies who live in hat is Gen Pop or the USA. And as to that standard of living,how is half the country in poverty working for you? Negative savings rate coupled with debt, stupidity and fewer and fewer job will only spell Dantes Infierno

          • Fred
            April 11, 2017 at 00:47

            What are you trying to say? That the US made their lives better? Are you insane?
            Their lives were far better before the US ever thought of bringing ‘Democracy’ to their countries. The life of the average American is average! Their IQ is average, instead of above average. Their capitalism has made mediocrity the standard of living. Not everyone on earth needs a refrigerator, a toaster, and all the other crap US is selling. Life was good before the US started to exploit the countries you mention for what they could get from them. I hope you do not really believe that anything the US does to these countries has anything to do with improving human values? Look around your own city and see how the social programs are improving the lives of thousands of people who are living in poverty! There is always money to shoot down something in another country costing millions, if not billions! To improve their lives?

    • April 9, 2017 at 13:38

      BRAVO!!!! TOM WELSH!!!!!

    • Realist
      April 9, 2017 at 16:29

      In short, we don’t practice what we preach. Never have. Are we capable? Don’t see the slightest inclination to try.

    • Kent Bott
      April 10, 2017 at 13:26

      “High principles” from the “Founding Fathers” … so, do you mean high principles like slavery, the slaughtering of indigenous natives and the exclusion of women from having the same rights as land-owning men? Yes, high principles indeed … sorry, but the US is no worse or better today than it has been at anytime in it’s bloody hypocritical history!

  66. Andrew
    April 9, 2017 at 10:52

    I am glad someone is writing about this. I love Bill Maher, but he is dead wrong on Islam.

    • Bill Bodden
      April 9, 2017 at 13:05

      Maher lost me a long time ago when he said something indicating he admired Colin Powell. That was long after Christopher Hitchens made a case for Powell being the most over-rated man in Washington, and, if I recall correctly, after Colin Powell’s utterly contemptible speech at the UN security council on February 5, 2003 promoting the war on Iraq.

      Talking of Powell’s speech, the Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations used that at the debate on Syria to remind listeners of the American capacity for lying at security council meetings.

      • Marko
        April 9, 2017 at 13:33

        It’s a meme now. Maria Zakharova used it too. She said the U.S. pulled a ” Colin Powell with a test tube , v2.0 “

      • April 9, 2017 at 19:17

        Right, Bill Bodden. The “great” Colin Powell, who was a fixture in government for years, tries now to say he was duped by Bush’s henchmen. Anyone with a spot of reason knows that somebody who spent so many years in government at high levels could have just picked up his phone and called any of a number of people he knew in the national security/intelligence agencies, and found out what the real story was. But he chose not to do that, and ‘went along to get along.’ After all, he probably envisioned himself as the first black President. Unfortunate for him, everything blew up in his and the others’ faces. Rightfully, he should be on trial along with Bush, Cheney, Tenet and all the neocons involved. I’ll probably die before that ever happens {I’m 72 years old and a veteran of the war against Viet Nam – something I’m not very proud of].

        • April 10, 2017 at 02:29

          Two thumbs up for this comment!

        • Kent Bott
          April 10, 2017 at 13:14

          I wish more Vietnam Vets would acknowledge that service in that “war” was nothing to be proud of.

        • DannyWeil
          April 10, 2017 at 19:11

          None of them were duped, they duped us. They are war criminals and if Nuremburg was enforced they would all be hanged.

    • Olds David
      April 9, 2017 at 19:28

      People who’ve never been committed to a religion or religious worldview simply cannot believe that anyone would take religion seriously, so they have to ascribe religious-based violence to other motives. People tend to think other people are like them.
      That’s the mistake Bush made when he went into Iraq. He thought the Iraqis would give him a parade and thank him. But not all cultures are the same. In fact some cultures are pretty close to being evil. But all cultures in all religions are not the same or equally valuable.
      Islam is evil at its roots and wherever it goes blood flows.

      • April 10, 2017 at 09:29

        Please study history of the world and comparative religions and tell us how your viewpoint evolved. Thank You.

        • George
          April 10, 2017 at 10:06

          Islam and Christianity are evil and violent. Eastern religions are not. Satisfied?

          • April 10, 2017 at 18:20

            For all religions violence varies over time and place. No religion has monoply on violence or peace. A full perspective today aknowledges that “christian” nations have since WW2 murdered millions more humans than Salafists have murdered in the same time period. Think IndoChina, Korea, central and South America and varies African Nations besides one million plus in the middle East.

      • Kent Bott
        April 10, 2017 at 13:18

        Where RELIGION goes … blood flows … in 2017 Islam just happens to be center stage for displaying religion’s evil ways.

        • Chris
          April 12, 2017 at 15:41

          2001,2001,2003,2004,2005……… and on and on and on.

      • Fred
        April 11, 2017 at 00:37

        Religions are not evil. People who believe that their religion is better than others and who tolerate no other religious beliefs are mostly stupid individuals. Stupidity leads to evil.
        (Don’t ask me about other evil people who use religion to profit by belonging to a particular cult and portraying themselves as victims while screwing everyone on the planet.)

    • Abe
      April 11, 2017 at 16:21

      Bill Mahler’s muddled attacks on Islam, suffused with racist rhetoric, recall the history anti-Asian racism in the United States.

      In the 19th century, America was undergoing rapid industrialization, leading to labor shortages in the mining and rail industries. Chinese immigrant labor was often used to fill this gap, most notably with the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad, leading to large-scale Chinese immigration. These Chinese immigrants were despised because they took the jobs of whites for cheaper pay, and the phrase Yellow Peril, which predicted the demise of Western Civilization as a result of Chinese immigrants, gained popularity. This discrimination apexed with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese immigration to the United States. This was the first time that a law was passed to exclude a major group from the nation that was based on ethnicity and class.

      In 1907, Japanese immigrants, which were unaffected by the Exclusion Act, began to enter the United States, filling labor shortages that were once filled by Chinese workers. This influx also led to discrimination and was stymied when President Theodore Roosevelt restricted Japanese immigration. Later, Japanese immigration was closed when Japan entered into the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907 to stop issuing passports to Japanese workers intending to move to the U.S.

      During World War II, the Republic of China was an ally of the United States, and the federal government praised the resistance of the Chinese against Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War, attempting to reduce anti-Chinese sentiment. In 1943, the Magnuson Act was passed by Congress, repealing the Chinese Exclusion Act and reopening Chinese immigration.

      At the time, the United States was actively fighting the Empire of Japan, which was a member of the Axis powers. Anti-Japanese racism, which spiked after the attack on Pearl Harbor, was tacitly encouraged by the government, which used slurs such as “Jap” in propaganda posters and even interned Japanese Americans, citing possible security threats.

      Soldiers in the Pacific theater seem often dehumanized their enemy leading to American mutilation of Japanese war dead. The racist nature of this dehumanization is apparent in the inconsistency of the treatment of corpses in the Pacific and the European theaters. Apparently some soldiers mailed home Japanese skulls as souvenirs, while German or Italian skulls were not treated in such a manner.

      This prejudice continued for some time after the war, and Asian racism affected U.S. policy in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, even though Asians were on both sides of those wars as well as World War II. Some historians have alleged that a climate of racism, with unofficial rules like the “mere gook rule”, allowed for a pattern in which South Vietnamese civilians were treated as less than human and war crimes became common.

      Racist rhetoric is widespread in propaganda to win public support for war.

    • Hank
      April 13, 2017 at 13:41

      What amazes me is how such a piece of crap gets so much attention. Maher may be funny, but he is just another Zio-stooge spreading lies and fear and hatred among the less mentally-gifted in the American population. People should cancel HBO just because Maher has his show on it. Maher acts like he is God’s gift to disclosure about things but try and talk about Israel or 911 on his show and you will be booted out of the studio!

      • kntlt
        April 14, 2017 at 08:40

        Hank… “you will be booted out of the studio..” or talk about the Jewish Bolshoviks who murdered at least 80 million Russian just because they were Christians. That might boot you out of the Holywood.

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