HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher stated that while Ahmed Mohamed “deserves an apology,” the incident is overblown on Friday.
Maher said Mohamed’s clock “looks exactly like a f*cking bomb.” He added, “this kid deserves an apology, no doubt about it. They were wrong. But, could we have a little perspective about this? Did the teacher really do the wrong thing?” Maher also said that Mohamed is “a great kid.”
Later, after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated what he had learned from conversations with Mohamed and people he knew in the area, Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos “this wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t Muslim.” Republican presidential candidate former New York Governor George Pataki disagreed, citing zero tolerance policies.
Maher stated, in response to Ramos, “Somebody look me in the eye right here, and tell me, over the last 30 years, if so many Muslim — young Muslim men, and he is young, 14. But that’s not, nothing [that] never happened before, haven’t blown a lot of shit up around the world.”
Maher continued that Mohamed “deserves an apology, because he wasn’t one of them.” Maher began to read from a Daily Beast article by Dean Obeidallah that asked why Mohamed would be arrested for a homemade clock, which he answered, “Because for the last 30 years, it’s been one culture that has been blowing shit up over and over again.”
Ramos responded by pointing to Mohamed’s age, Maher countered, “lots of teenagers around the world have — go to join ISIS. Just a couple in Mississippi, a few weeks were doing to do it. And everytime somebody goes to join ISIS, everybody around there says, ‘I cannot believe it. We didn’t see it coming. We didn’t know.’
Ramos responded, “We cannot blame all Muslims around the world for what somebody else did.” Cuban responded, “But all the kid had to do was engage with the teacher and he didn’t. That’s the part that was missing, it’s not — I agree with you, right? We’re making an issue because if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck.”
Cuban stated that while the arrest was wrong, “all he had to do was talk to the teacher, but he didn’t.”
Maher continued reading from Obeidallah’s piece, where he said the proximity of Irving to Garland, TX, where a Draw Mohammed cartoon contest was held shows, “If you are a Muslim, anything you do might be a plot to destroy America.”
Maher then responded to the piece with, “No, the message is, you can see why they would err on the side of caution, because only 25 miles away, somebody did try to kill people.”
Pataki said he agreed and pointed to zero tolerance policies, and that “maybe that doesn’t look like a bomb, but it doesn’t look like a clock.” After Maher asked, “What if it had been a bomb?” Pataki agreed again.
Maher added, “so, the teacher is supposed to see something that looks like a bomb and go, ‘Oh, wait. This just might be my white privilege talking. I sure don’t want to be politically incorrect, so, I’ll just let it go.”
MSNBC host Chris Matthews then stated that it was a problem that people were willing to take sides without knowing what happened, and “everybody goes right to their battle stations. I’m with the minority. The minority’s right. Those teachers are wrong. How do you know? I wasn’t there. You weren’t there. I don’t know. How do you know?”
Ramos countered, “A 14-year-old was arrested for doing a science project.”
Cuban responded, “He should not have been arrested, but he should have opened his mouth and had a conversation about it.”
Maher then cut in, “He was arrested, and they took him off in cuffs, and then put him in a cage and burned him. Oh, no, that’s ISIS who does that. You know what, we arrest — we put a kid after school for a couple of hours. This is not the end of the world. But you know what, the end of the world does happen all over the world, for millions of Muslims, who are victims of other Muslims, of their religion. Where are the liberals on this?”
Matthews then stated it was “credible,” as the teachers said, that Mohamed wasn’t “forthcoming.”
Maher concluded the discussion by stating that it would be nice if an adult told Mohamed that what happened to him was “wrong,” but that one of the reasons might have happened is, “in our religion, we were responsible for 9/11, the Madrid bombings, the London bombings, the Bali discotheque bombings, the Kenya mall bombings –.” Ramos cut in that Mohamed isn’t responsible for those.
Clearly frustrated, Maher ended the discussion with, “He’s not, of course not. We’re not saying he — okay, we’ve had this discussion long enough.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett