Ben Affleck VS Bill Maher: Our Worlds at War

Bill Maher is a talk show host who is famous for hating organized religion. Ben Affleck is an actor who is pretty famous, period. Neither of those traits necessarily make these men experts on Islam, but you’ve got to put something on TV, so here we are. On last week’s Real Time With Bill Maher, the two got into a real shouting match about Islam. For his part, Maher said Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia” and will “kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book.” Affleck countered that such words were “gross” and “racist,” adding “How about more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punch women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day, and don’t do any of the things you’re saying of all Muslims? It’s stereotyping.”

It’s far from the first time Maher’s thoughts on religion devolved into one-dimensional stereotyping and, in any case, the issue is actually more complicated than either he or Affleck seem to acknowledge. Muslim support for the faith’s worst associations (like death for apostasy and honor killings) vary widely from country to country, ranging from strong support in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, to virtually no support in most Western countries …

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