Bill Maher and Salman Rushdie Praise Muslims for Condemning Attacks, but Blame Islam’s ‘Bad Ideas’

Real Time host Bill Maher continued his criticism of Islam during Friday’s episode, saying the problems with the religion come from both establishment figures and extremists.


“To me the real fight is not Islam versus the West,” Democratic Party strategist Paul Begala said during the panel discussion. “It’s within Islam. Between the terrorists and the tolerant. Between al-Qaeda and Malala [Yousafzai].”

“And here’s the thing about making that distinction — and there should be a distinction, because obviously the vast majority of Muslims would never do anything like this,” Maher replied. “But they share bad ideas.”

Maher noted that a similar statement by guest Sam Harris last year touched off a maelstrom of debate after footage from their argument against actor Ben Affleck amassed massive attention.

“Everyone went f*cking nuts on this side of the panel, but it is,” Maher argued. “These two guys who shot up the cartoonists the other day, they were ‘avenging the prophet.’ A bad idea. Martyrdom, a bad idea.”

“The subjugation of women — a bad idea,” former Hewlett-Packard head Carly Fiorina chimed in.

“And unfortunately, the terrorists and the mainstream share a lot of these bad ideas,” Maher said.

However, author and former fatwa target Salman Rushdie — not a frequent defender of the religion, as he pointed out — pushed back against Maher’s claim, noting that Muslims have condemned the mass shooting against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in France.

“All over France, there were French Muslims standing up and saying, ‘We are French, this is not our team — not in our name,’” Rushdie said.

Rushdie also elaborated on his statement earlier this week that Islam has seen a“mutation” caused by religious extremism.

“This has been a mutation that a lot of work has been put into. A lot of governments — from the Sunni side, the Saudi government; on the Shia side, the Iranian government — have been putting fortunes of money into making sure that extremist mullahs are preaching in mosques around the world,” Rushdie said. “And in building and developing schools in which people of a whole generation is being educated in extremism, and trying to prevent other forms of education.”

Watch the discussion, as posted online on Friday, below.

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