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Maher: Obama’s Pulling His Numbers on Islam ‘Right Out of His A**,’ ‘It’s Not One Small Slice’ That Are Dangerous


HBO host Bill Maher argued that “it’s not one small slice” of Muslims who hold extremist beliefs, and President Obama’s claims to the contrary are pulled “right out of his a**” on Friday’s “Real Time.”


Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) said, “ISIS is a narrow, and far extreme sect of the wide band of the Muslim religion, the Islamic religion, to — and this gets back probably to your previous conversation, and the point you’ve been making a lot, I think, on this show, is, why not say ‘Islamic terrorism?’ However, we’ve got a huge number of moderate Muslims, not just in this country, but elsewhere, who don’t like that term, and words matter. And so why not call it, if we want to ally ourselves with moderate Muslims, why not use the language they’re suggesting we use, which is jihadism, and not broad brush an entire religion?”

Maher responded, “But think of what you’re saying. You’re that somehow these folks are so combustible, that if we use the wrong word, we’re going to nudge over them into strapping on a suicide vest? Then what does that say about the culture?” Granholm disagreed with this characterization, and wondered, “But what does it say about us, that we refuse to listen to the terms that they would like to be referred by?”

Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer then stated, “Islamic terrorism is a problem, and a unique problem, and there are aspects of the religion that make it a unique problem, willing to say that. But I also am very sympathetic and empathetic to President Obama, when he knows that’s true as well, and he refuses to use it, because he understands that the overwhelming pull of the United States is to get us more sucked into wars we don’t have answers for, and the more sucked in we get, the more problematic, the more painful, the more cost in resources, and in human lives.” Maher agreed with this point, and with Obama’s stance on the issue.

Granholm re-iterated her point that tagging all Muslims with the actions of a “small slice” is wrong. Maher countered, “But it’s not one small slice. You know, everybody talks about this, like there are no numbers. Obama said it’s very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9% of  Muslims who are looking for the same thing we’re looking for, order, peace, prosperity. I love the president, but he just pulled that number right out of his a**. There are numbers. We had a guest on a couple of weeks ago, Raheel Raza. … She goes by the numbers. That’s what her video was called. 53% of the population of 39 Muslim countries that were surveyed want, Sharia Law. sharia law, death for leaving Islam, death for insulting the prophet, or the Koran, stoning a woman to death for adultery, amputation for theft, whipping for missing Friday prayers ,or drinking alcohol. The numbers vary from country to country, but this idea that it’s just this small problem, the reason why this is a unique problem, why I was imploring [Sen.] Cory Booker (D-NJ) to say that, is because it is distinct a threat based on the size. The New York Times says there are 5,000 militant Islamic groups in the world, armies, like Boko Haram, and ISIS, and the Taliban, and al Qaeda, intent — they want to get nuclear weapons, support from the local population. I’m not saying most people want to commit terrorist acts, I’m saying they have illiberal ideas, that are sometimes in line with what the terrorists believe, and recent events.”

Slate columnist Reihan Salam responded that denying this is “very foolish and dangerous,” “when you polarize, when you say that being a Muslim is this, it means these things, you make it more significant for people who are on the fence.”

Granholm again stated that Maher using a broad brush would offend moderate Muslims, to which Maher said he was simply citing facts. Bremmer remarked, “I think they should be more offended by the incompetence of their leaders than they should by the fact that US says Islam or not. I really do. You can’t bomb these guys into submission.”

Maher concluded, “This would get them more on our side. You know, we don’t want to alienate the people who believe in our values. We seem to be always getting out of our way to defend the people who don’t believe in our values.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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