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Maher: ‘Orwellian’ Not to Say ‘Islamic Terrorism’

HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher declared “this idea we cannot call it ‘Islamic terrorism’ seems Orwellian to me” on Friday.

Maher began by stating that President Obama’s argument that “no religion is responsible for terrorism, people are responsible for violence and terrorism” “sounds a lot the NRA slogan [Guns Don’t Kill People, People Do].” Maher further questioned why, if the president doesn’t believe the West is at war with Islam, “he’s dropping bombs on them all the time.”

Rob Reiner then argued that, “basically it is a religious war, but it’s a religious sectarian war, and to paint it all as Islamic, I think it is a big mistake.”

Washington Post National General Assignment Reporter Elahe Izadi said that both Presidents Bush and Obama had struggled with defining Islamic terrorism, before Bill Nye said “if you say everybody who’s Islamic is a terrorist, you’re headed for trouble,” to which Maher quickly rebutted “no one is saying that.”

Maher later continued, “this idea we cannot even call it ‘Islamic terrorism’ seems Orwellian to me. It seems like we’re paying a very high price for this. Which is, we can’t discuss it even rationally — can’t we at least say that there are a number of factors that are that involved and the religion is certainly one of them?” And “he [Obama] presented this idea that well, it’s poverty and education. It is poverty and education, also, but why are they impoverished and uneducated? It’s mostly because of their religion. That’s mostly why. The UN did a study in 2002, they found out that only 300 books had been translated into Arabic that year. In madrassas, they only teach one book, I don’t have to tell you which one,” He also pointed out that women are denied access to work in much of the Arab world.

The discussion then turned to larger terrorism strategy, wherein Maher remarked that the Iraq War “might be the biggest blunder in American history. Because there would not be an ISIS without it,” a point that Reiner agreed with. Maher also mocked Jeb Bush for misstating the number of ISIS fighters during an earlier speech.

Maher concluded by criticizing other countries in the Middle East for not fighting ISIS, declaring “they’re always expecting us to bail them out. This would be a great moment for moderate Muslims, who I hear so much about, why don’t you go to the Middle East and fight ISIS? ISIS is always attracting other people from other countries to come to the Middle East. Where are the moderates who want to go fight ISIS, if they’re so bad, if they hate ISIS so much? During the Spanish Civil War, Americans went to Spain. Americans had no immediate fight there, but to stand up for liberalism. Where’s that? Crickets. But, by the way, I also want to say that there is a precedent for Arab armies getting together, Israel. When the State of Israel started, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon. They all banded together. They were willing to work for that. So, why not this?”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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