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Yes, Bill Maher Is Boorish. But We Shouldn't Be Afraid to Criticize Islam.

  

3 members have voted

  1. 1. Should American progressives be in the business of judging other cultures for their non-progressive values?

    • Yes.
      1
    • No.
      1
    • Yes, except when their non-progressive values are due to their faith.
      0
    • No, except when their non-progressive values result in death and/or dismemberment.
      1
  2. 2. Does the United States present to the non-progressive world a system worthy of emulation?

    • Yes. The American way is the best way.
      0
    • No. Our society is riddled with problems. Perhaps we should be the one's looking abroad for superior alternatives, instead of expecting others to look up to us?
      3


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"It's just as easy to say that Islam itself is the problem as it is to say that criticizing Islam is tantamount to bigotry. Neither are true, and neither advance the liberal cause in any way. If we're going to have the courage ... to demand that other cultures be more progressive, our domestic debates ought to reflect the best of our own progressive culture. We must show them something worthy of emulation."

By Eric Sasson

...

It's true that Maher's ... statements on Islam in particular are crude and overly simplistic, crafted to antagonize or get an easy laugh rather than enlighten. And yet, it seems a bit facile to dismiss his central points simply by claiming he's stereotyping or generalizing.

...

Maher's three main points, as I understood them, were:

1) Liberals who advocate equal rights for women and LGBT people at home are often too reluctant to condemn cultures that oppress those groups.

2) Criticism of Islam should be allowed, and should not be conflated with bigotry toward Muslims.

3) “Extremist” views are not held by a small minority of Muslims, but rather by a plurality of citizens in many, if not most, Muslim countries. (Likely Maher states this as “fact” based on studies such as this one from Pew Research.)

The question of a double standard on equal rights has much to do with the left's longstanding devotion to multiculturalism and cultural relativism: that we must respect the value systems of cultures different from our own, and that, since we are all morally compromised, we shouldn't cast stones.

...

But this doesn't negate the argument that there is a double standard ... Fears of cultural imperiousness cannot allow us to ignore or, worse, justify beliefs and behavior in other cultures that we would never accept here at home.

...

It is certainly true that ... Moderate Muslims exist the world over—Muslims who oppose extremism, who hate the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, who oppose sharia law.

...

But the fact is, Islam includes troubling teachings ... the Q'uran does refer to many regressive-sounding ideas, including a husband's right to discipline his wife by striking her, and, as Maher mentioned on his show, proscribing the death penalty for apostasy.

But if you make this point in America, knee-jerk liberals will call you Islamophobic. If you slight Allah, either unintentionally (Katy Perry) or for comedy (“South Park”), you'll be hounded until you remove the offending material. And if you're Somali-born writer and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali ... a university will refuse to confer an honorary degree to you.

...

Maher's final point—that many Muslims do hold extremist views—proved the most incendiary.

...

Recent reports from Human Rights Watch suggest a “significant rollback” of rights for women in Indonesia. Malaysia is proof that female genital mutilation is indeed a problem outside of Africa.

...

Polls show that the majority of people in Muslim nations think homosexuality is morally wrong, with the numbers hovering near 90 percent in most countries. The punishment for homosexual activity in the majority of these countries involve prison sentences, while some include hard labor, forced psychiatric treatment, whippings, and death by public stoning.

It should not be considered “generalizing” to cite these statistics. But neither should pointing them out ... convince us that we are somehow solving the problem ... if we are to approach a criticism of Islam in a thoughtful way, we must be judicious while remaining honest. It's just as easy to say that Islam itself is the problem as it is to say that criticizing Islam is tantamount to bigotry. Neither are true, and neither advance the liberal cause in any way. If we're going to have the courage ... to demand that other cultures be more progressive, our domestic debates ought to reflect the best of our own progressive culture. We must show them something worthy of emulation.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119762/bill-maher-ben-affleck-islam-debate-we-can-do-better

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