HBO's Bill Maher clashed with Charlie Rose on the veteran host's PBS show on Tuesday over the atheist's outspoken views on Islam. Maher underlined the "illiberal beliefs that are held by vast numbers of Muslim people." Rose interjected with a left-wing talking point: "Vast number of Christians, too." The comedian shot back, "No, 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."
Rose later cited another regularly-used, politically-correct claim in defense of Islam: "What we see with ISIS is not representative of the Islamic religion. I don't think the Koran teach them to do these kinds of things." Maher wasn't buying this argument:
BILL MAHER, COMEDIAN: Well, you are 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 we should, that they should perform genital mutilation on all women 11 to 46. Would most Muslims agree with that? No. Or carry it out? No, but as I and Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out...can we really say that....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.
The PBS host first noted that his guest was "very strong in terms of the threat of radical fundamentalist jihadism." Maher's initial reply: "I think liberals should stop booing me for pointing out that Islam is not like other religions – that it's a unique threat." Rose then made the first of many interruptions/objections: "But it's not Islam you're against." The atheist retorted with his sole shot at Christianity and its Jewish roots, and religion in general:
MAHER: All religions are stupid. They are. I mean, I doubt if you are really religious, it's very – it'd be very hard for me to believe that you actually believe in these intellectually-embarrassing anachronisms from the Bronze Age. Do you really believe in the Bible – that the Bible, which supports slavery, which is pro-polygamy, which believes the guy lived inside of a whale?
Maher continued by rebuking liberal former Governor Howard Dean for his recent political correctness regarding ISIS and its Muslim credentials. Rose continued interrupting the comedian as he furiously defended Dean and his contention:
MAHER: So, Howard Dean, on TV the other day – and he said...the people in ISIS...I'm about as Islamic as they are – you know, distancing the vast numbers of Islamic people around the world. That's just not true.
ROSE: It is true.
MAHER: It is not true, Charlie. There is a connecting tissue between-
ROSE: You know, you behind every Muslim is a future member of some radical?...
MAHER: There are illiberal beliefs that are held by vast numbers of Muslim people. But I don't think Howard-
ROSE: Vast number of Christians, too-
MAHER: No, 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....do not believe that 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. 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 from the-
ROSE: The vast majorities of Muslims say that?
MAHER: Absolutely. There's a Pew poll of Egypt done a few years ago. Eight-two percent – I think it was – said stoning is the appropriate punishment for adultery. Over 80 percent thought death was the appropriate punishment for leaving the Muslim religion. I'm sure you know these things.
ROSE: I know – well, I do. But I don't believe-
MAHER: It's not religion – it's like other religions – it's just naive and plain wrong. It is not like other religions. The New York Times....pointed out, in an op-ed a couple of weeks ago, that in Saudi Arabia – just since August 4, I think it was – they have beheaded 19 people – most for non-violent crimes, including homosexuality.
ROSE: Cut the hands of the thieves.
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.
MAHER: Okay. But they do it too. This is the center of the religion.
Later in the segment, the PBS host spotlighted the apparent opposition to ISIS across the Islamic world. Maher replied to this by again hammering his point about the widespread violence against other faiths in the Muslim world. Rose insisted that this was not characteristic of Islam, but his guest kept up his attack:
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. Okay, 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 expectation, and that we have – with Muslim people. When they do crazy things and believe crazy things, somehow it's just not talked about nearly as much....
ROSE: I do believe that – that what we see with ISIS is not representative of-
MAHER: As I said, connecting tissue – no – not-
ROSE: Isn't representative of the Islamic religion-
MAHER: Right. Again-
ROSE: I don't think the Koran teach them to do these kinds of things.
MAHER: Well, you are 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 we should, that they should perform genital mutilation on all women 11 to 46. Would most Muslims agree with that? No. Or carry it out? No, but as I and Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out, she says-
ROSE: Respect for her, too-
MAHER: And she would know better than-
MAHER: She said, can we really say that-
ROSE: She's been a victim-
MAHER: That 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, moderate Muslims would say in fact one of the things that we need to modernize is the idea of the way we treat women – lots of them.
MAHER: But in this country, if you just use the wrong word about women, they go nuts – and all of these other countries-
ROSE: As they should-
MAHER: They're doing things like making them wear burqas, and I hear liberals say things like well, they want to – they want to. They've been brainwashed. You know, they don't want – it's like saying a street walker wants to do that.
Earlier: PBS host Tavis Smiley looked even more ridiculous trying to insist Christianity was just as savage as Islam to Ayaan Hirsi Ali in 2010.