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Salon : Bill Maher ‘2014 Villian’ for His Views on Islam

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This article was originally posted by Salon:

Background: Bill Maher has forged his reputation on an outspoken brand of progressive views that blurs the lines between comedy and outright prejudice. He speaks often about freedom of speech, to the point where he even defended Donald Sterling’s right to privacy after his racist remarks were publicized. But that’s why he’s featured here.

The controversy: This October, Maher had Ben Affleck on his show to discuss the release of “Gone Girl.” Instead, Maher’s panel, which also featured Sam Harris, Nicholas Kristof and Michael Steele, devolved into a yelling match. Referencing the emergence of ISIS, Maher claimed that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book.” Affleck denounced his comments as “gross and racist.”

The response: Muslim journalist Rula Jebreal later spoke out on the show. “When you talk about Islam in a certain way, I have to tell you, it’s offensive sometimes,” she said. “And some people feel threatened.” She said that it seems Maher thinks all Muslims are “jihadists.”

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