We’ve all seen this by now, either the first or second installment. It’s Bill Maher using his show to say something that many conservatives and jihad watchers have been saying for years now — that there is a widespread, fundamental illiberalism in Islamic society and culture itself.
Ben Affleck takes what amounts to the other side, which is that any criticism of any Islamic practice or belief is “Islamophobia.” Affleck would never see progressive aversion to traditional Christian beliefs as “Christophobia,” but that’s a debate for another post.
Sam Stein of the Huffington Post takes the Maher point of view, while Nick Confessore of the New York Times unsurprisingly takes Affleck’s side. The paper of record cannot tolerate truth.
Maher and Stein are not saying anything that many others, here and elsewhere, haven’t been saying and writing (and being shunned by the mainstream media for) for years.
The fact is, while the vast majority of Muslims are not and will never be terrorists, the majority do hold views that are in direct conflict with western notions regarding individual rights and freedoms. Those views are incompatible with our beliefs — not just the Christian beliefs that most Americans claim, but with our basic political beliefs too. Too many Muslims to want to impose sharia law on the west, or at least live by it here.
Stein points out, for instance, that 78% of British Muslims believe that the Danish cartoon artists should have been prosecuted. Maher points out that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a feminist shunned and dismissed by the vast majority of so-called feminists in America because she criticizes Islam, has to have 24/7 body guards and security. She had to leave Europe because Muslims there make it unsafe, their threats made credible by the near beheading of her filmmaking partner Theo Van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam.
Maher points out that the majority of Egyptian Muslims believe that anyone who leaves Islam ought to be killed. Had the liberal world been awake, it would already be aware of the threat to so-called apostates when the majority of Afghanis, even after years of contact with Americans who fought to free them from the Taliban, wanted to kill a man because he converted from Islam to Christianity. He had to flee to Italy.
As I said, none of this is new, our ought to be. America has had the opportunity to learn an awful lot about Islam and the countries that it dominates over the last 30-odd years, and especially during the last 13 years.
But too many of us have squandered that opportunity. Those of us who have pointed these things out have either been ignored, or called racists — even though Islam is not a race — or “Islamophobes.”
Then along comes Bill Maher, of all people, to tell liberals what they should have already learned about the illiberalism of large numbers of practicing Muslims.
The likes of Ben Affleck may be too arrogant to ever learn a thing, but many liberals will listen to Bill Maher even though he is saying the same things that many conservatives have been saying for years. Some may even find themselves changing their minds because of him. They will listen to him say things that others have said, simply because they have a bias toward Maher and against, well, us.
If they do listen and get a little education on these issues, that can only be a good thing. Overdue by many years, but good.