Bill Maher has been one of Islam’s biggest critics in the last couple of months, and for many Left-leaning individuals and groups, it’s getting uncomfortable.
So uncomfortable, in fact, that the University of California-Berkeley, which had invited him to give a commencement speech in December, tried to un-invite on the grounds that Maher is a bigot and racist for his views against the religion.
How did Maher respond? About like you would expect.
“And, in a country where the Democratic party has sold out to the center, and even the right, this is what is needed — this is why I wanted to accept this invitation. And invited ME because it was 50th anniversary of something that is legendary on that campus: the Berkley free speech movement. I guess they don’t teach irony in college any more.”
Maher reminded the students that “my reputation isn’t on the line. Yours is.”
Bill Maher has no plans to abandon the speaking engagement, and it doesn’t look like the school itself will tolerate the un-invite, which stemmed from a Change.org petition that reached 4,000 signatures.
“The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech,” the school said in a statement, adding that “the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context.”
So just what did Maher say to cause so much turmoil. On the October 3 edition of his HBO series Real Time, he said Islam “is the only religion that acts like the mafia that will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”
Maher’s guest, actor Ben Affleck, took exception and the argument made national news.
The debate continued on the latest edition of Real Time, with guest Rula Jebreal taking aim at Maher’s views.
Bill Maher stumped Jebreal in the video above with three key points that he believes draw the stark contrast between Islam and other religions.
Firstly, the issue of writer Salman Rushdie having to stay in hiding because of his Islam-critical writings.
Secondly, the fact that “there are no gay bars” in Muslim countries due to the probability that one would be executed for being gay.
Finally, the fact most Muslims believe apostasy, or renouncing the Islam faith, is a decision that should be punishable by death.
Do you think Bill Maher is right to criticize Islam as strongly as he has, and should UC-Berkeley still invite him to give the commencement speech?