WATCH: Bill Maher And Ben Affleck Tear Into Each Other Over Islam

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Bill Maher’s HBO show “Real Time” devolved into a shouting match on Friday night as he sparred with his guest Ben Affleck over Islam.

Alongside panelists Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times and author Sam Harris, Maher began one of his signature diatribes on what he called the anti-liberal character of Islam.

Harris, a prominent critic of organized religion, lamented the backlash against his and Maher’s remarks on the influence of the Muslim religion.

“We have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people. It’s intellectually ridiculous,” Harris said.

Affleck, appearing on the show to promote his new film Gone Girl, couldn’t contain himself.

“It’s gross, it’s racist,” Affleck said of Maher’s point.

Next came a kind of tag team match as the movie star and the comic ranted at each other, with Kristof chiming in for Affleck and Harris continuing to back up Maher.

Watch the clip below:

h/t Mediaite.

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Notable Replies

  1. Love Affleck, but he was entirely out of line here, talking over people, continually interrupting Harris who, if you’ve ever read his “The End of Faith” book, knows what of he speaks concerning Islam.

  2. I have to say I backed Maher on this one. I understand where Affleck is coming from, but criticizing a religion doesn’t make you bigoted. I frequently criticize catholicism - doesn’t mean I’m anti-catholic.

  3. I agree, totally. Affleck’s heart is in the right place, but Harris was speaking about facts based on actual research and data. It’s hard to ignore what he says.

  4. Avatar for Mitch Mitch says:

    Sam Harris is a noble man. It’s a shame that in today’s America, you have to go to the circus to try to talk to people.

  5. I totally get what Affleck is saying, though his argument wasn’t well expressed. The bottom line is that some people are just criticizing the beliefs of Islam - something we should all be able to do. However, the slippery slope here is that these criticisms can be mixed up / co-opted by bigots so easily. Did anybody watch that video with Reza Aslan and the CNN hosts?

    That is how you make Ben’s argument.

    That being said…Harris’ argument was sound. To note, his concentric circles can also be made for christianity - it’s just that Christianity is 500 years ahead of Islam in it’s cultural development and we live in a country where separation of church and state and freedom of religion were foundational…hence, it gives free reign for ideas to be exchanged and the cream rises to the top, so to speak.

    One thing that isn’t mentioned in the Real Time video is that, in many muslim nations, you can’t separate the religion from the country / government. Read Reza’s book No God But God. He explains it pretty well.

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