A controversial belief that Islam is a destructive force has united strange bedfellows: conservative Bill O’Reilly and liberal Bill Maher. In a recent segment of “The O’Reilly Factor,” the conservative host responded to Ben Affleck’s claim that Maher’s point of view is racist, by insisting that “Mr. Maher is correct about the overall effect Islam is having on the world right now.”
“The truth is militant Islam continues to drive worldwide terrorism and have plenty of sanctuaries from which to commit their evil," said O'Reilly. "Ben Affleck should well understand that he himself would be beheaded in a heartbeat by these ISIS animals.”
In the episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher” that aired on Friday, Ben Affleck became impassioned in response to Maher's argument that liberals should be wary of Islam because, according to him, it is a religion that is against liberal principles -- including freedom of speech and religion and the belief that women and gay people should have rights.
Affleck was joined on the panel by author and atheist Sam Harris, who argued that “liberals fail at theocracy."
"We’ve been sold this meme of Islamaphobia where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry of Muslims against people,” Harris said. Maher added, “Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas,” to which Affleck responded, “Jesus. It’s gross, it’s racist, it’s disgusting.”
The panel also included former Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who interjected measured responses: “The great divide is not between Islam and the rest," he said, "but rather between the fundamentalists and the moderates in each faith.”