“Look who's back,” proclaimed Bill Maher.
The outspoken satirist hosted the 13th season premiere of his HBO talk show Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night and doubled down on the comments he made on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live where, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre that saw 9 fellow satirists, two policemen, and a maintenance worker be murdered by gun and RPG-wielding jihadists, the comedian said, “hundreds of millions of [Muslims] support an attack like [Charlie Hebdo].”
Following two more shootings in France by Islamic terrorists, including a hostage situation at a kosher grocery that left four civilians dead, Maher, flanked by political commentator Paul Begala, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and author and activist Salman Rushdie, went on the offensive.
“We’re Americans so we don’t want to single out people, but when you look at that list just since 9/11, then we had the Madrid bombings in ’04, London in ’05, Mumbai, the Kenyan mall, Benghazi, which was one of 20 cities that erupted when that movie Innocence of Muslims was on the Internet, ISIS, Boko Haram who killed an entire village this week, Pakistan last year killing all those kids at the school, Canada parliament, Australia,” said Maher. “What we’ve said all along, and have been called bigots for it, is when there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard.”
Then Rushdie, The Satanic Verses author who is, of course, no stranger to death threats from Muslims, reiterated that the fight was “within Islam” and that the U.S. was just a “sideshow.”
“I said earlier this week that there’d been a deadly mutation in the middle of Islam,” said Rushdie. “This is not a random mutation… This has been a mutation that a lot of work has been put into. 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, and in building and developing schools in which a whole generation is being educated in extremism—and trying to prevent other forms of education.”
He added, “I want to express my grief for our fallen comrades. These are people who died doing what we do—being rude about people. But, in a way, we’re the sideshow. This is a project to seize power within the Islamic world. And whether it’s the Taliban, or ISIS, or Boko Haram, or al-Shabaab, or any of these groups, what they’re trying to do is to create a mindset which allows them to conquer the world of Islam.”
Maher then addressed the Ben Affleck on-air fracas that went viral, where the Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Sam Harris got into a tussle over Harris saying, “Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas.” Affleck lost his cool, claiming that such criticisms of Islam were “gross” and “racist,” and likening them to someone calling Maher “a shifty Jew.”
“Obviously, the vast majority of Muslims would never do anything like this,” said Maher. “But they share bad ideas. This is the thing that caused the big ruckus when Ben Affleck was here. Sam Harris said, ‘Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas,’ and everyone went fuckin’ nuts on this side of the panel. But it is. These two guys who shot up the cartoonists the other day, they were avenging the prophet, they said? A bad idea. Martyrdom? A bad idea. Women as second-class citizens? A bad idea. And unfortunately, the terrorists and the mainstream share a lot of these bad ideas.”
He also had some harsh words for the Financial Times, who were critical of Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten’s anti-Islam cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad. “It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo, and Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid,” printed the paper.
“To a coward, courage always looks like stupidity,” said Maher. “What assholes. Who are these Financial Times people? You know what, it’s wrong to kill cartoonists. It’s galling to be asked to respect that… Doesn’t it say at all how insecure religion is? It’s such a house of cards where if anyone says anything or draws a cartoon, they get worried.”
Maher, of course, has sounded off on Muslims before—even to this very publication.
And News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch, who runs Fox News and various other conservative publications, seems to be in agreement with Maher, tweeting the following message late Friday: