Last night’s Real Time with Bill Maher examined the vexing problem so many Americans wrestle with: How many Muslim refugees are a comfortable amount and if they bring their laws, fundamentalist aspects of their religion and customs with them, will there be an all out war over this?
The guests were neuroscientist and author Sam Harris, former Army intelligence officer Jason Kander, GOP vlogger Tomi Lahren, GOP strategist-turned-journalist Rick Wilson and Michael Eric Dyson.
Sam Harris opened the show and talked about the tricky issues of navigating president Donald Trump’s bellicose handling of the issue and how we as a nation need to support moderate and progressive Muslim people.
But that’s not an easy thing to accomplish in the current toxic climate stoked by an atypical president who is alienating world leaders left and right.
Bill Maher’s interview with Sam Harris opened with Harris jokingly referring to Trump as “Chauncey Gardiner’s evil twin” — in reference to Peter Sellers’ character in 1979 comedy Being There.
Harris talked about the complexities of winning the war of ideas with Muslims the world over and said Trump’s blanket ban was working against our better interests. He said: “We should be desperate to have moderate Muslims”
Maher then dove into the issues of the controversial burqa — which unnerves many Americans — and countries like France which have banned it.
Harris said: “Muslims, who we know do not have alliance with jihadists, they still have attitudes around the world about [restricting] free speech and the rights of women and the rights of gays that are deeply at odds with our own, and we have to win a war of ideas with these people. This is not…we don’t fly drones to solve this problem.”
He also said that a civil war within Islam and the Muslim faith must be fought among themselves, citing moderate and progressive Muslims who are leading the fight for progression.
“There’s a double-standard about this,” he said, using the example that if Mormons bombed or beheaded Matt Stone and Trey Parker for the Book of Mormon “we would lose our patience with Mormons” pretty quickly.
Harris said: “You can’t say that jihadism has no relation to Islam.”
Maher then insisted that liberals “must stop saying that the burqa is normal”, adding: “There’s a human being in there.”
He said: “You couldn’t create an idea that should be more opposed by liberals than [if] we covered the women and [then] blame them if men get horny.”
Citing the disturbingly large percentages of British Muslims who support Sharia Law and punishment for cartoonists who poke fun in drawings of the prophet Mohammed, Harris said: “You don’t have to be a fascist or racist or even a Trumpian to not want to import [Muslim] people into your society who think cartoonists should be killed for drawing the prophet Muhammed right?
“That is a totally rational thing not to want, and the left has been demonizing anyone who will talk about this.”
Bonus Real Time moments include the monologue:
Trump did something impossible, he made going to the airport sh***ier than it was:
New Rules, F*** you, Tom Brady! Maher lays out why he hates the Patriots (hint: Donald Trump)
Overtime, examining liberal masochism:
Real Time with Bill Maher airs on HBO Friday nights at 10pm.