It all started with this video of Hollywood actor, film director, screenwriter, and producer Ben Affleck – with help from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof – facing off against Bill Maher and author Sam Harris.
My initial reaction was while Maher and Harris attempt to explain their point – that a significant percentage of Muslims worldwide subscribe to views that true liberals should find problematic – Affleck’s response is pretty much “Islamophobia!”
But I decided to look deeper, rather than go with my gut reaction based on years of reading the news and current affairs.
Harris’ claim that 78% of British Muslims felt the Danish cartoonists should have been prosecuted is verifiable, albeit from a 2006 poll
But what about some of the other contentions?
So when Maher claims more than a few bad apples support apostasy (including 90% of Egyptians), is he correct?
That is over 300 million, or approximately 20% of the world’s Muslim population. And the percentage of Egyptians who hold this view is more like 63% (those in favor of Sharia being the law of land who support this view is close to 90%, which is probably what Maher was referring to).
What about Harris’ contention that well over 20% of the world’s Muslim’s (or hundreds of millions of people) hold views about human rights, women and homosexuals which are deeply troubling?
Well, between 394 and 418 million (or 26-28%) think honor killings may be justified.
And over 400 million (27%) do not think women should have the right to decide if they wear a veil or not.
So Harris would seem to have a point.
Granted, Maher and Harris were at times clumsy with their language (when they referred to “Islam” instead of the Islamic fundamentalists) , but this does not detract from their main point.
As for Affleck, he would seem to be suffering from Hollywood liberalitis (otherwise known as numbskullius), which seems to be brought on by addiction to fan adulation. Symptoms include subscribing to politically correct (and morally vapid) points of view.
It is ironic someone so reticent to identify real-life villains is set to play one of the most bad-ass comic book heroes of all time.