I agree with Sam Harris and Bill Maher

Published: October 16, 2014

The hosts, Sam Harris (L) and Bill Maher (R), were spot on when they talked about issues like apostasy and blasphemy.

A few days ago, social media went rife with people praising Ben Affleck. “Batman comes to the rescue” was the general sentiment tweeted by everyone and my friends happily posted the link to the clip from Bill Maher’s show. People were ecstatic that an American, a prominent actor at that, finally stood up for Islam on a highly rated TV show.

The clip did not just cause a sensation in Pakistan; it opened a debate online with prominent analysts like Reza Aslan and Fareed Zakaria taking up sides and expressing their opinions.

As I thought over what Maher and Sam Harris had said, I found myself more and more in agreement with them. Admittedly, the two hosts had used some pretty harsh words, and what they termed as ‘problems in Islam’ are mostly ‘problems with Muslims’, but the core facts they shared were irrefutable. Something even Affleck realised after his passion filled emotional response.

While their views regarding treatment towards women in the Muslim world can be argued against, the hosts were spot on when they talked about issues like apostasy and blasphemy.

Harris is correct when he says that the majority of Muslims are conservatives who might not identify with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) but will agree to death for apostates and blasphemers. These are the same people who support what he terms as “bad apples” by remaining silent and thus agreeing with those extremist acts. Relying upon liberal principles of justice, equality and freedom of speech, Maher said,

“It is the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will %^&$*[email protected] kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book.”

We can disagree on the semantics, but how many can deny what he says is not true?

Muslims are sensitive about their religion, even when that criticism comes from within their circles; Salman Taseer, Rashid Rehman and Dr Shakil Auj are just a few examples in recent history that give credence to his view. And it is not just individuals that can be held accountable, even a major entertainment channel was taken off the airwaves due to blasphemy allegation. Islam will not kill you, but a fanatic zealot surely will.

While most of us would identify themselves as moderate Muslims who could never think of killing someone, one cannot argue that emotions run wild even in our own country when sensitive topics like blasphemy and apostasy are discussed.

According to the PEW Research’s survey conducted in 2013, 75% of Pakistani Muslims say blasphemy laws are necessary to protect Islam in their country. Blasphemy law may have its roots in colonial times, but it finds its proponents in religious scholars who back these laws often calling them a part of one’s faith in Islam and therefore cause the larger masses to believe in them. Now it might not be that 75% of the people would actually kill a person who is accused of blasphemy, but by silently agreeing to it, they provide the latent support to extremists who will eventually do the deed. These are the people who turn out in support of Mumtaz Qadri and denounce his death sentence for killing Taseer.

We, Muslims, love to comfortably deny any criticism thrown towards us regarding extremist elements by simply saying that it is an insignificant minority, and what that extremist minority does neither represents the true picture of Islam, nor do they have popular support for their actions. This brushing of issues under the carpet, which make us uncomfortable, neither helps us nor the image of Islam in the world. Thus, the moderate majority (if that exists), does very little to collectively counter the extremist narrative and therein lies our problem.

As Muslims, we need to stop brushing aside every criticism as Islamophobia, we need to listen to opposing voices, and deal with the rising intolerance in our societies.

Sameen Qazi

Sameen Qazi

A business graduate trying to find meaning in books and coffee. She tweets @sameenqazi (twitter.com/sameenqazi)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Think harder

    “-You can never explain a variable phenomenon with a fixed cause. So, if you are asserting that Islam is inherently violent and intolerant — “the mother lode of bad ideas” — then, since Islam has been around for 14 centuries, we should have seen 14 centuries of this behavior”

    Fareed Zakarias response makes far more sense. We have a problem with the Muslims today. And we need to tackle it. Hacks like Bill Maher and Sam Harris do nothing but grossly exaggerate.Recommend

  • raw is war

    @ Ms.Qazi

    Finally I found somebody who supports Bill Maher’s view. I am a big fan of his programmes. He is very tough on Christian fundamentals. He virtually ravages them on his show. No-body bothers or protests. He speaks on Islam once and hell breaks loose.

    FYI he is atheist not a christian.Recommend

  • Muhammad Waqar

    and you can get jail sentence when you deny the holucast…….Recommend

  • Hasan

    What you said is correct but there are two points I would like to add.

    1. Nobody said that the 1.6 billion Muslims are perfect. What we as Muslims first have to realise is that we are not inherently ‘better’ than non-Muslims just because we believe in Islam. Yes, Islam is perfect, but right now the overwhelming majority (me included) of it’s followers are the most misguided, uneducated and idiotic people to be found anywhere on Earth. That is the harsh reality that we first need to understand before we can make any meaningful progress.

    2. Reading and understanding the Quran is not like reading a bestseller off the bookshelf. We need to look at the example of the Prophet as well. In his time, he had knowledge of the people who were hypocrites/apostates and he did nothing against them, so the belief of death to apostates is ergo false. Secondly, the second most popular pastime of Pakistanis, accusing people of blasphemy. The Prophet (SAW) and the Companions were ridiculed countless times but they never retaliated, so much so that when one old woman who used to pelt the Prophet (SAW) everyday with stones without failure, was taken ill and missed stoning him, the Prophet (SAW) visited her to inquire if everything was in order since she missed pelting stones at him and he became concerned. Hence what right do we have to say that acts of blasphemy should be avenged? Are we above the Prophet (SAW) in authority or are we smarter than him that we can make that call? The belief of killing someone because he committed blasphemy is BS!

    We have to realise that Islam says that certain parts of the religion need to be updated and matched to the future times when man is at a higher state of enlightenment. This does not mean that we should stop praying or start praying in English or ignore fasting. No it simply means that the justice system for example needs to be updated so that it’s judgments fit the world we are living in right now.Recommend

  • Felix Grey

    Sameen your argument rests on examples drawn from Pakistan…. You use these examples to make generalized comments about 1.6 billion Muslims which is a grandiose judgement on your part……. Secondly, I’m not sure how much you’ve researched Maher and Harris, but they strongly advocate the use of violent methods to silence (read: kill) Muslims who, in their opinion, disagree with the “liberal” principles of the west…. Please do elaborate on the two points raised and please do not cherry pick examples from Saudi Arabia/Iran or Pakistan…. Some examples from Malaysia, Turkey , even India would help…. You have clearly thought very provincially about it and your argument is solely based on your stereotypes and your viewing of that one show….. There is a problem, yes; but the way to solve problem is not the one envisaged by Maher/HarrisRecommend

  • hare

    and you may lose your facebook account if you use Hitler’s pic as dp.. he was wrong but in contrast Obama and Yitzhak did the same thing against Muslims but they both got Nobel Peace Prize.. Hitler got bashed just because he killed jews not Muslims. if he had killed Muslims, I am sure he would have won a Nobel Peace PrizeRecommend

  • TGYU

    Ad here is the problem where problems with muslims are being associated with problem in Islam to spread hate.

    Admittedly, the two hosts had used some pretty harsh words, and what
    they termed as ‘problems in Islam’ are mostly ‘problems with Muslims’,Recommend

  • Qureshi

    Muslim extremists and pseudo intellectuals like bill maher both are wrong. They both lack tolerance towards opposing opinions.Recommend

  • MrRollsRoyce

    Finally a sane voice in the blogosphere! Thank you Sameen for having the guts to write what needs to be stated.

    Eventually logic and critical thinking and basic human decency will take over the dogma of religions, but for now, we have to keep raising our voice (within the bounds of safety in a country filled with violent nuts who believe the answer to words is bullets).Recommend

  • Kartikeya Agnihotri

    Really good one… reformist views…Recommend

  • L.

    Examples in justice system which need to be updated? Recommend

  • Imran Jattala

    Sameen Qazi, like the most people who usually miss this particular tactic by Islamophobes, seems to think Maher and Harris were complaining about Muslims. No, they weren’t. They were attacking the religion of Islam. Once and for all, let’s understand the real claim of these bigots — that ‘poor’ Muslims masses are stuck with a ‘bad’ religion and, therefore, their faith need reformation. As Harris said that ‘Islam is a mother load of bad Ideas,’ we should be clear they are after Islam, not Muslims per se.

    The irony is that Affleck wasn’t defending Islam either. He was appalled because he too thought that 1.6 billion Muslims were being bad-mouthed in one stroke and that’s whom he was defending. In reality he wasn’t really helping Islam.

    In the end, we need Islam defenders, not Muslim defenders necessarily.Recommend

  • Jor El

    ” but they strongly advocate the use of violent methods to silence (read:
    kill) Muslims who, in their opinion, disagree with the “liberal”
    principles of the west”
    How do u come to this conclusion ?Recommend

  • Waqas

    There is nothing wrong with Islam inherently as a religion. However, many Muslims have their own interpretations, often lacking in understanding, which creates problems. Many scholars have completely different interpretations of the principles. Hence, people like Maher can use this to paint a bad picture of the religion.Recommend

  • 2Paisa (Khi)

    It seems to me that wherever USA meddles, terrorism ripens there. For example, before the Soviet war, Pakistan was a competitively more peaceful..USA’s meddling in Iran resulted in the theocracy in Iran. USA micromanaging the affairs and propping up puppets in Egypt, SA, Yemen, Iraq, etc. has led to rise in terrorism in that region. Now, if we consider countries where USA didn’t meddle, such as, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Morocco etc…terrorism situation is MUCH better there. Coincidence? I don’t think so…

    Maybe this anchor should notice that the correlation between terrorism and USA’s foreign policy is much more highly correlated than Islam and terrorism, both historically and also geographically…Recommend

  • Not really

    Hitler was ‘bashed’ because he systematically tried to wipe out an entire race. People easily toss around words like genocide & ethnic cleansing,incorrectly,esp. when they get emotional about muslims dying-but these terms have very specific meanings- & thats what hitler was doing. (& like what the isis is doing to the yazidis )Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    8/10 for the argument.
    10/10 for boldness.

    We are an emotional people. We like it when people like Affleck raise their voices, and we mistake table-banging for good argumentation, at times.

    I don’t know about Maher, but Harris’s logic was nearly impeccable. And he’s not a hypocrite; he applies the same logic to all religions.Recommend

  • tanoli

    yes but one sided look of a braoder issueRecommend

  • Sad

    This article just makes me sad..but I agree with it 100%.Recommend

  • marik

    Turkey: The Armenian Genocide & also gives support for ISIS and other Al Qaida factions
    Malaysia: Being a Shia is outlawed, non-muslims are banned from saying the word Allah
    What were you saying again?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Well done……that was a loud and strong opinion and I would agree with just about all that you said.Recommend

  • Rightway14

    Love it…and stay safeRecommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    Today Lahore High Court rejected appeal of a poor Christian mother of five and lawyers present there not only applauded LHC decision but shouted slogans in front of cameras. Bill Maher and Sam Harris are not that wrong.Recommend

  • abid

    What an immaturely written article. Ms Qazi you just need to read Mr grey’s comments atleast.Recommend

  • Faulitics

    Blurring the authors picture is a very good move for safety but the nutcases are very resourceful.Recommend

  • kdp

    75% of Egyptians (pew research) believes that Muslims leaving their religions should be killed. They voted Muslim brotherhood to power and most Coptic Christians are now in danger of their life until Military took overRecommend

  • vinsin

    For Bangladeshi genocide who got the Noble Prize?Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Impeccable? Seriously. Think about them for some time and you’ll realize that it’s all the same old stuff. He speaks from a very one-sided, narrow view on Islam.Recommend

  • http://kashifmd.com/ Kashif Chaudhry

    Except that their argument is not that many Muslims support apostasy laws, but that Islam does. There is a huge difference. What Islam says is pretty clear: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kashif-n-chaudhry/does-the-koran-endorse-ap_b_5539236.html As for many Muslims espousing bigotry, I agree on that.Recommend

  • Jamor

    Instead of blaming the US,the fault would be more with the ruling Govt of the day.People of those countries thought that by bringing Islamic rules everything would be perfect.US can only be blamed for Iraq.Recommend

  • isapien

    Terrorism in South Sudan have become worse without any involvement of the US. You will never be able to solve these problems if you perpetually try to excuse the Muslim world by pointing your finger at America or “the Jews” and assigning blame at someone else. Also, terrorism has been very much on the rise in Bangladesh as well.Recommend

  • Critical

    Most importantly,he has read the Quran and I would love to see Zakir Naik arguing with him….. Sam Harris is too subtle…If he had the brutality of Christopher Hitchens…He might have received plenty of fatwas by nowRecommend

  • isapien

    Unfortunately it’s become very difficult to defend Islam. That is why Reza Aslan has to quickly jump to accusing his rivals as being “bigoted” or “unqualified”. It is not bigotry to disagree with an ideology. Islamophobia shouldn’t be a word at all.Recommend

  • Lance

    Thank you Ms. Qazi. You are courageous.Recommend

  • Sid

    Right words Ms. Qazi. You give hope to many tolerant muslims. While people see any negative comment on religion as attack on the entire mass of follower they lose the perspective that there is some fact in those comments. If our religion is seen in bad light than there is something wrong among it’s follower which needs to be fixed. Usually that onus lies on the preacher’s of religion to correct the perspective of the followers. Unfortunately, may be it any religion, we will find a certain set of preachers who claim their belief as supreme and other beliefs as abhorrence. Most of the people in society are deeply emotional and they find solace in their religious following. So any remote sense of threat to their beliefs brings out animal in them. They seldom realize their action is insult to the very thing they are trying to protect. And their actions also harm the image of the emotionally stable few.
    This will change when people starts valuing human life more than religion.Recommend

  • Tim

    “…strongly advocate the use of violent methods to silence (read: kill) Muslims…” – I can’t speak about Maher (he’s an entertainer, in my opinion, not a scholar) but that is completely false about Harris. He out-of-context quotes circulated by Reza Aslan and others may have led you down that false path, but if you would take the time to actually read what Harris writes, you’d see that you are incorrect.Recommend

  • Lance

    Maher and Harris do not advocate what you say they do. You are lying or mistaken.Recommend

  • Lance

    News flash: Sam Harris thinks religion is harmful to society.Recommend

  • DLove

    The quote is “RIGHT NOW Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas.” Religions change and evolve over time. If the year were 1450 and you took “Islam” and replaced it with the word “Christianity” in that sentence, I imagine you already see my point.. It was perhaps in-artful phrasing, but I think what he was trying to say was Christianity (at the moment) isn’t as violent as it has been in even its very recent past. Islam unfortunately seems to be. And simply because of the size and growth of the Muslim community, the potential for movements within a religion (however illegitimate) to affect large numbers of people has to be taken seriously.Recommend

  • Kempion

    Maher and Harris aren’t addressing the full issue. Doctrine and its practice are only issues with the rank and file of any organization. The real issue at the top is power and the lust for power. As with almost any kind of organization, not just religion, the leaders want power and more of it. They will lie, cheat and steal to get it too. They will mislead the rank and file, deny others rights and take whatever they want until someone stops them. This is as much to do with religious groups as it is with Wall Street.

    In the end, Maher, Harris, Affleck and all of the rest are shamelessly self-promoting. This kind of attention is good for views. clicks, ratings, book sales and ticket sales. It’s marketing at its worst.Recommend

  • Apparently we also mistake anonymity for boldness and cherry-picking for good argumentation. And don’t care about something called cultural relativism.Recommend

  • LardMasterFlashForReal

    You’ve just presented a contradiction: You correctly cite that the fellows are criticizing Islam (ideas, doctrines) and then call them bigots for doing so. You cannot be a bigot for correctly criticizing bad ideas. That’s not what the word means.Recommend

  • defghi

    How do you recognize all this and then come to the conclusion that we need to DEFEND ideas like death for apostasy and blasphemy?Recommend

  • hare

    thats what Israel is doing in Palestine.. and btw speaking against west doesn’t mean i am supporting ISIS or TTP
    but there should be equal reaction for the actions of ISIS and TTP as well as Israel and AmrikaRecommend

  • Freeman

    I am sure you are wrong about Maher advocating killing of Muslims. I have watched his shows and interviews on TV for over 14 years and he has never said that. He criticizes all religions including his parents. Sam Harris is an atheist and a scholar. I doubt that he will advocate this either. Felix just made this up to incite readers.Recommend

  • Chikkipop

    Look forward to seeing your examples of where Maher and Harris propose killing Muslims.Recommend

  • hare

    honestly speaking I don’t know who got Nobel prize for Bangladeshi genocide.Recommend

  • Freeman

    While I respect Fareed Zakaria and have watch his show on CNN, but he is wrong about his history. The author of this response needs to check his definition of “hacks” as it may fit him, too.Recommend

  • Freeman

    You didn’t defend Islam either in this post when you had a chance.Recommend

  • Zee

    Very true! Actually the problem of pseudo liberals is that they all love to believe what western media feeds to them! Starting from Iraq’s WMDs to Malala.

    They will happily discuss the blasphemy etc but can’t just discuss on the holucast. These are all those who before Afghan war were adovcating on the socialism and now on Islamophobia. Period!Recommend

  • http://www.unmexicoposible.com/ JoseAngel

    Felix, where did you learn that Maher and Harris “advocate the use of violent methods”. Clearly you have not read and have not heard what they have said.Recommend

  • Freeman

    But Bill Maher was only offering his opinion and not taking part in heinous acts Why do you conflate the two?Recommend

  • http://www.unmexicoposible.com/ JoseAngel

    Ms.Qazi, what a courageous stand you take. I encourage you and wish you will always be well. I am sure your religion principles are solid. I am a christian myself, but I´ve never been offended by what Harris or Maher had said about Christian faith, and believe me, they have said many, many things and repeatedly blast and make fun of christians. And I still love Maher´s show, and read Harris´s blog, why? because I believe in freedom of ideas, I believe in discussing ideas freely and openly without calling anyone racist or christianophobic, in fact none has ever called anyone Christianophobic. I am for humanity, I know billions of people believe in Islam, I know the sheer size and diversity of these people enriches our world everyday, creates better opportunities for mankind, and I hope more people will open for discussion of ideas.Recommend

  • NotSoCommon

    Please do read Tarek Fatah’s book – Chasing a Mirage. You will get your answer there.Recommend

  • Dylan

    Felix, you are wrong about Sam Harris. He has never advocated killing anyone except the most extreme people who are intent on killing others and are beyond any hope of having their minds changed through dialogue and reason. You are the one who is cherry-picking phrases instead of considering what Harris has said in its full context.Recommend

  • chebob69

    I’ve read pretty much everything Harris has ever written. Not once has he ever suggested using violent methods to silence anyone who disagrees with liberal principles. He even makes it clear in his first book that he wouldn’t want laws to stop religious rights either. He reiterates again and again that all he’s calling for is for people to criticise bad ideas.
    Please stop getting your opinion via someone else who’s reporting Harris’ opinion. Actually read it yourself. Because you’re spreading misinformation. You need to take intellectual responsibility in these issues.Recommend

  • Dylan

    Rather than relying on Felix’s misrepresentation of what Sam Harris says, why not read it directly and judge for yourself whether Harris is the monster that Felix says he is:

  • chebob69

    We HAVE seen 14 centuries of this behaviour. The only difference is that in the last 200 years, the western world has advanced quite considerably. So the islamic world looks barbaric by comparison. But it’s not. It’s exactly the same as christendom was 200 years ago.Recommend

  • chebob69

    You’ve taken the word “islamophobe” to mean something entirely different to what western liberals mean by it.
    Being ‘phobic’ about a belief system is absolutely fine. And probably a good thing. That’s how we advance, by disliking belief systems we think are bad and then seeing which beliefs survive. Whereas islam largely survives by silencing criticism. Almost as if it knows it’s not really true.Recommend

  • Mike Hunt

    I think it is hard to hold a conversation about theology when one side believes in it. How can Sam Harris and Bill Maher understand religious motivations when they are outside its realm. Similarly it is very hard for a practicing muslim to step out of religious boundaries and view Islam from outside specially since he believes that his religion is the only path to salvation and thus expects the world to be against him.Recommend

  • chebob69

    What is tolerance towards an opposing opinion?
    Just keeping quiet when you think someone is wrong? That’s a terrible idea. Bill Maher IS tolerant because he’s not actually trying to stop people hold a view. He’s tolerating it. He’s just criticising it. That’s very different than intolerance. Intolerance is when you actually stop people holding a view or doing something.Recommend

  • Reddy

    Questioning bad things / voicing opinion (like you just did) isn’t intolerance but attacking someone is!!Recommend

  • Josh Bishop

    So, we know what the problem is…what’s the solution. I’ve read a few articles that state the problem very clearly and effectively, but the they ignore another, automatic problem. Dealing with this huge issue would mean wide scale war. Maybe civil war, if the ‘moderates’ will take a stand, but that is unrealistic. To actually take on this problem would mean all out world war, and that’s a solution no one is ready to accept.Recommend

  • tungi

    totally agree!muslims need to calm down and introduce secularism! the only way for their progress or they will die themselves!Recommend

  • tungi

    bill maher can be a little harsh but i totally agree with sam harris’ point of viewRecommend

  • Scott White

    You’ve just made yourself a new fan. Love your work SameenRecommend

  • Crackity Jones

    Terrorism ripens Yes? There are historical and geographical correlations. Yes? All the places you mention have one thing in common:Yes? The US “meddled” in Japan and Germany – they are both now successful and functioning economies and societies. Yes? Also, the situation in Indonesia and Bangladesh is not particularly any better than the other places you mentions. Yes?


  • Ijaz

    Blasphemy laws that promote persecution of Ahmadis, Shia, Christians, Hindus, etc. Places of worship are destroyed while authorities just stand and watch. Recommend

  • Sahar Raza

    Shabash. Proud.Recommend

  • eshma

    Excellent Sameen. Yes we brush things under the carpet and our typical responseRecommend

  • MyTurn

    Tactic that most people miss ? Like it is somehow hidden ? You must be newly introduced to Sam Harris. He is always very clear/explicit that he is attacking Islam (the religion itself, the ideas, not the people). He in no way tries to hide this. Exactly the opposite. His entire rational argument is based on the folly of the nonsensical religious doctrine itself (in fact, all religious doctrines). It’s puzzling that any modern, thinking adult would disagree with this argument.Recommend

  • cuvested

    Counting the minutes until Ms. Qazi is called an Islamaphobe for daring to say anything critical about Muslims.Recommend

  • allaisaxuver

    India is not a Muslim country nor a Hindu country. Its Constitution gives right to practice any religion.Recommend

  • dfr

    You are so strong and courageous! Bravo!Recommend

  • Gul Bahadar

    Read Glenn Greenwald’s criticism of Mr. Harris’s arguments, please. It’s a much better response than Affleck’s. There’s nothing wrong with atheism, it’s the phenomenon known as “new atheism” that’s the real issue. They see religion as the root cause of all evil, and that’s just plain wrong.Recommend

  • sfarooq
  • Spider-Man

    Very well said.

    As a Muslim and Pakistani and living abroad for more than 20 years I have come to a realization that we (the Muslim nations, especially southeast Asian countries) cannot differentiate between our religion and culture. It’s all mixed in together which confuse “westerners,” because no one has explained to them. In my limited knowledge of Islam, killing is harm period.

    I do like Bill Maher and watch his programs time to time. Both Sam Harris and Bill Maher are atheist. I don’t think either one of them has enough knowledge and/or understanding about Islam. , we as Muslims don’t know about our own religion, and that’s why we are what we are. Recommend

  • siesmann

    Also yesterday an Ahamadi was killed in Attock- a retired air force officer.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Or it could be the other way round too.USA intervenes where there is terrorism/communist aggression.You presume that PAKISTAN WAS happy having the red army at their gates and had no interest in defeating them.How would you say USA brought theocracy into IRan?And the 4 peaceful Muslim countries you mention have decided to come out of 7th century thinking,and develop economically.USA also levelled Japan and Germany,but those countries learnt the lessons and decided to live in peace,See where they are.So Muslims have to portray the Islam that they wan’t others to believe.You can’t twist Islam and yet wants others to believe the other version.Recommend

  • siesmann

    As long as TPP-Al Qaeda-ISIS et all. are portrayed as the defenders of Islam,and have wide sympathies amongst Muslims-overt or covert,people will keep believing that version of Islam.Islam will defend itself when Muslims decide to live and let live peacefully,and start rejecting the wrong portrayal of Islam,and stand up to the people that have hijacked their religion.The false sense of superiority and bravado have done much damage to Islam,and needs to be tempered down.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Admittedly, the two hosts had used some pretty harsh words, and what they termed as ‘problems in Islam’ are mostly ‘problems with Muslims’

    That is what the author said,if you missed that.Recommend

  • raj

    so how do you deal with Maher’s claims and questions? Lets see how a liberal like you can take his comments and do something to change the world (if not, just Islam)Recommend

  • siesmann

    and read again.This is what the author said:

    Admittedly, the two hosts had used some pretty harsh words, and what they termed as ‘problems in Islam’ are mostly ‘problems with Muslims’Recommend

  • Noah

    Denying the Holocaust, a historical fact and act of genocide, is not the same as denying a tenet of Islam or denying the perfection of Islam. Though I do oppose the laws you mention, I object to any equivalence you attempt to draw.Recommend

  • Gary

    what a comment, very intelligent !!Recommend

  • moaz

    This is a big problem with most Muslims who try to make I sense of it all after reading to idiots like Maher! I watch all his shows except related to religions as can’t use a word for him here. Recommend

  • Azar

    I have been following Bill Maher on twitter since a long time. He’s not irrational at all. At times he nails US Government for bombing countries (including Islamic States/Middle East), check out his program videos. He probably would have said something in a different context. And whatever he said wouldn’t bother me as a Muslim. He might have said in general but for sure he wouldn’t have said as a final judgment.
    As for Muslims yes they are conservative and very sensitive about the only asset they own: their religion. Thanks to the US for reminding us (back in 80’s) how important our religion was. But the good news is that probably US spell casting, done in the wake of Russian invasion of Afghanistan, is weakening and people are getting aware of the suffocated environment, insult and humiliation receiving from the west. Perhaps this humiliation is the last installment of USAID before cows come home.Recommend

  • Umer Fayyaz

    i fully endorse this article yet also fully agree with above person’s counter argument. and point is ben didn’t just defend islam for its sake, it was mocking behavior and religious bigotry of maher and harris which emotionally charged him to respond. which i think is an issue to be criticised and every sane person will do. christians are not happy with maher or they are not that open minded either as you think, you will find it unbeliveable but in some european countries i was unable to see any of his video online. Recommend

  • Umer Fayyaz
  • Umer Fayyaz

    you did what maher did in his show, took out example of one third world muslim country’s last 30 years history, used it as your model to project whole muslim world. on one side one can’t deny these facts they are bitter truth for Pakistan in real time for 3 decades but on the other hand do these facts depict islam as mafia? or can you call 1.6billions as ‘they’ can kill like thy killed salman taseer? Recommend

  • نائلہ

    He said “parts of the religion” needs to be updated, not Pakistan. There are no blasphemy laws in Islam that promote the persecution of anyone. Problems with pak do not equate to problems with Islam.

    And ofcourse, I haven’t been answered. Easy to make big statements @hasan, but harder to come with proof. Recommend

  • Gurion

    Glenn Greenwald’s response roots mostly on ad hominem. Can’t see how it rationally constitutes a “better response”.Recommend

  • Hammurabi

    Excelleny Bravo.Keep it up.Recommend

  • Parvez

    That had more to do with the abject failure of the judicial and law enforcement system in the face of a coercive element in society that is ‘ using religion ‘ for self / political reasons……..and less to do with religion per se.Recommend

  • naive

    Henry Kissinger got the noble prize Bengali genocide ofcourse in the garb of something else.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    “New Atheism” is the phenomenon of atheists actually having tongues, and believing they have a right to be critical of religion.Recommend

  • Hasan

    I am really sorry that I could not deliver my answer to you. I had written a detailed reply and I tried posting it here multiple times but somehow the person at ET approving the comments has taken a particular dislike to me.

    I have lost the text I typed now, but I can tell you it concerned the blasphemy law, death penalty and the infamous law which requires four witnesses to support a woman who claims to have been raped. These were just off the top of my head.

    You said, “He said “parts of the religion” needs to be updated” and I concede that I was wrong there. It is not that religion needs to be updated, rather our interpretation of it.

    Sad that I could not deliver my ‘real’ answer to you but I am limited by factors outside of my control.

    @ET: Please kindly approve this comment, not doing so simply makes me look out to be a really rude person.Recommend

  • Muhammad Waqar

    My point is that you can say what ever you want in respect of believes of muslims, islam and any personality of the Islam but you can not say that there was no holucast…..is not it hypocrisy…….Also the writer has miss the point that persons she is agreeing have a problem with the religion not with the people…..You can not blame the Islam for the acts of individuals……and this is my believe that problem lie with the interpretation of Islam not with the Islam…..Recommend

  • Rajender Razdan

    Great article. Hope you don’t mind my pointing out a minor error (at least I think it is an error). I think what you meant to say was “We can disagree on the semantics, but how many can deny what he says is true?” instead of “We can disagree on the semantics, but how many can deny what he says is not true?”, i.e. you shouldn’t be using the word “not” in front of true.

    Having got that out of the way here are my two cents on this topic. I find it amazing that the vast majority of muslims seem more upset by the supposedly ‘racist’ view of non-muslims towards them than by the horrific crimes that are committed on a daily basis by other muslims who proudly claim to do this in the name of Islam. It is not we non-muslims who need to be convinced of the sincerity of muslims, it is the fellow jihadist muslims that the so-called peaceful muslims need to argue with and lambast on a regular basis.Recommend

  • L.

    Dont worry man, ET does that to ppl, its nothing personal :) Yes, of course, it is the interpretation which is incorrect. I was ready to fire my rebuttals on the teachings of Islam vs the actions of Muslims!

    If it were to me, Pakistan would be secular. But its not, hence the problems. And I am not saying that an Islamic Republic will always have problems, its just that in a country as big and as diverse as pakistan, not everyone comes under the roof of one religion and should not be forced to live by it’s laws. And when each and every citizen’s rights are not protected then it’s not fair is it?

    And yes, the 4 witnesses for rape thing is sheer stupidity. This law was made in Islam to PROTECT women if they were accused of adulterating, not to put them in a further dilemma! -.-

    The blasphemy one is again just to ostracise the non Muslims further just for past-time, disgusting really. But what aspect of death penalty do you speak of? Its mostly for murder, correct? Well then theyre essentially killing people to tell people that killing people is wrong.Recommend