Maher vs. Charlie Rose: To Claim Islam Is Like Other Religions Is Naive And Plain Wrong
Bill Maher clashed with Charlie Rose over Islam during an appearance on Rose’s Bloomberg Television program this week. Maher, the host of Real Time on HBO, scoffed at Rose’s numerous attempts to link Islam to Christianity and to try to disavow radical Muslims as representatives of the religion. Rose contended numerous times that “moderate Muslims” do not approve of the actions of radical groups like ISIS. Maher noted Muslims when polled overwhelmingly agree with ideas like killing those who leave Islam and stoning adulters. Rose said the Koran does not teach Muslims to do “these kind of things.” Below is a transcript of their conversation:
BILL MAHER: I saw Howard Dean on TV the other day and he said something along the order, he said the people in ISIS — he said I’m about as Islamic as they are, you know, distancing the vast numbers of Islamic people around the world from them. That’s just not true.
CHARLIE ROSE: It is true.
MAHER: It is not true, Charlie. There is a connecting tissue between —
ROSE: Behind every Muslim is a future member of some radical?
MAHER: Let me finish.
ROSE: I was doing that.
MAHER: There are illiberal beliefs that are held by vast numbers of Muslim people that —
ROSE: A vast number of Christians too.
MAHER: No, that’s not true. Not true. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians —
ROSE: I agree with that —
MAHER: — do not believe if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it. So yes, does ISIS do Khmer Rouge-like activities where they just kill people indiscriminately who aren’t just like them? Yes. And would most Muslim people in the world do that or condone that? No.
MAHER: But most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think.
ROSE: How do you know that?
MAHER: They do. First of all they say it. They shout it.
ROSE: Vast majorities of Muslims say that?
MAHER: Absolutely. There was a Pew poll in Egypt done a few years ago — 82% said, I think, stoning is the appropriate punishment for adultery. Over 80% thought death was the appropriate punishment for leaving the Muslim religion. I’m sure you know these things.
ROSE: Well I do. But I don’t believe —
MAHER: So to claim that this religion is like other religions is just naive and plain wrong. It is not like other religious. The New York Times pointed out in an op-ed a couple weeks ago that in Saudi Arabia just since August 4th, they think it was, they have beheaded 19 people. Most for non-violent crimes including homosexuality.
ROSE: I know that they cut the hands off the thief.
MAHER: Right, okay, so we’re upset that ISIS is beheading people which we should be upset about but Saudi Arabia does it and they’re our good friends because they have oil. Okay. But they do it too. This is the center of the religion. I’m not saying –
ROSE: But they’re now fighting against ISIS too. They’re joining us in the fight. As is the Emirates. As is Jordan. They are all Muslim countries.
MAHER: Well, they are both fighting ISIS and they are for ISIS.
ROSE: Well, it’s not the government. I mean, some of them —
MAHER: Certainly the governments.
ROSE: It’s a bit like today about Qatar. The big story today in The New York Timesabout Qatar. And some guy there is supporting, who is a Muslim —
MAHER: But I mean in Mecca where infidels, non-Muslims, are not even allowed in the holy parts of the city. I mean, right there, we don’t have that example in other religions. They do behead people. Now if they were beheading people in Vatican City, which is the equivalent of Mecca, don’t you think there would be a bigger outcry about it? So this is the soft bigotry of low expectations with Muslim people. When they do crazy things and believe crazy things, somehow it’s not talked about nearly as much.
ROSE: Would you come to the table and debate this with a moderate Muslim?
MAHER: Find one, yes. Find one.
ROSE: I promise you I’ll find one.
MAHER: Find a Muslim —
ROSE: I do believe that what we see with ISIS is not representative of —
MAHER: As I said, connecting tissue.
ROSE: — not representative of the Islamic religion. I don’t think the Koran teaches them to do these kinds of things.
MAHER: Well you’re wrong about that. The Koran absolutely has on every page stuff that’s horrible about how the infidels should be treated. But for example again ISIS says that they should perform genital mutilation on all women 11-46. Would most Muslims agree with that? No. Or carry it out? No.
But as Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out, she says —
ROSE: I wouldn’t expect for her to —
MAHER: And she would know better than —
MAHER: But can we really say —
ROSE: She’s been a victim.
MAHER: — women are treated equally in the Muslim world? I mean, their testimony in court is very often counted as half. They need permission to leave the house in some places.
ROSE: But a lot of moderate Muslims would say in fact one of the things that we need to modernize is the idea of the way we treat women.
MAHER: But in this country, if you just use the wrong word about women, they go nuts. And all these other countries —
ROSE: As they should.
MAHER: — they’re doing things like making them wear burqas and I hear liberals say things like, ‘they want to.’ They want to. They’ve been brainwashed. It’s like saying a street walker wants to do that.