Bill Maher has had no shortage of criticism for the Middle East and, more specifically, Islamic beliefs over the last few months.
On Friday night’s edition of Real Time with Bill Maher, his HBO talk show, he redirected some of that anger toward President Obama for his recent trip to Saudi Arabia.
Maher found it “odd” that the president would cut short his visit to India in order to visit Saudi Arabia and make nice with its new leader.
Along with other panelists, he criticized the president for not addressing the Saudis’ history with persecuting women and religious intolerance.
He wondered why Obama would show that much respect to a culture that “wouldn’t shake hands” with his wife.
While Maher seemed disappointed with the president’s behavior, he did have some good things to say about the First Lady, in particular, her decision not to wear a headdress.
“I thought when she wouldn’t wear the head scarf, that she was kind of making the kind of statement that I’ve been trying to get across here for a long time, which is stop respecting their medieval bulls*** under the guise of ‘It’s their culture.’
“Cultural relativism is nonsense. It’s the 21st Century. You won’t shake hands with a woman? You’re the ones who should be embarrassed. And if that’s judgmental, good, I’m judging. Yes, I’m judging that that’s f***ed up, and that you’re the bigot. I’m not the bigot. You’re the bigot.”
For this last part — the “bigot” comment — Maher was referring back to criticisms he received for being intolerant and “Islamophobic” for comments he made on previous episodes of his show.
The most famous of which involved him and actor Ben Affleck. The two engaged in a skirmish where Affleck accused Maher of condemning an entire group of people based on the actions of a few.
Bill Maher in turn pointed out that polls had shown close to three-quarters of Muslims believed women should always be subject to their husbands and that anyone who commits apostasy should be killed.
He’s also been highly critical of Saudi Arabia for beheading prisoners and for treating homosexuality like a crime.
In Friday’s criticisms, he was sure to point out that President Obama did not address any of these issues when visiting with the Saudis during his latest trip.
What do you think, readers? Is Bill Maher right to criticize the president, and is cultural relativism really “nonsense”? Should we not respect cultures that we view as abusive toward human rights? Sound off in our comments section.