One of the leading experts on culture, politics and religion in the Muslim world is University of Michigan Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, Juan Cole. Prof. Cole led off an article Sunday at his blog, Informed Comment, with a scathing takedown of late night entertainer Bill Maher’s latest anti-Muslim tirade. Although Maher directly attacked Muslim men (for being bad dating material), his lies about the status of women in most Muslim countries were this slimeball’s real message.
Here’s Ryan Witt’s description of Maher’s tirade:
Maher brought up the issue of women’s rights in the Muslim world while discussing the Egyptian Revolution. Maher argued that democracy cannot work in the Middle East until a “sexual revolution” accompanies the current political revolutions. Maher received some pushback from one of his panel members, who argued that women are also not always treated fairly in America. Maher argued that this was a “false equivalency” as Muslim women are often not even allowed to vote or drive in many countries in the Middle East. In addition, many women face a huge legal burden if they want to divorce their husband, whereas men have the option of divorcing their wives simply by saying literally saying they want a divorce.
Maher went even further in describing the treatment of Arab women by saying,
“Talk to women who’ve ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good.”
At certain points in the discussion Maher actually sounded like he could fit in quite well in a Fox News panel discussing the same issue. He argued against the cultural relativist argument to defend the practices of Arab men. Maher went on to describe a gruesome beheading of one Muslim woman by her husband.
Prof. Cole’s take on Maher’s lies is this:
Dear right wing blogosphere and also Bill Maher: You can’t generalize about women’s position in Muslim countries based on a reprehensible mob attack on CBS reporter Lara Logan. Generalizing about a whole group of people based on a single incident is called “bigotry.” It is also a logical fallacy (for wingnuts challenged by six syllables in a row, that means, ‘when your brain doesn’t work right’) known as the ‘Hasty Generalization.’ Nobody seems to note that allegedly helpless Egyptian women were the ones who saved Logan, or that Anderson Cooper was also attacked.
Some other examples of reporters or celebrities being assaulted by crowds are here and here. Wingnuts, and also Bill Maher, who do not immediately make generalizations on these bases about large groups of Westerners are wusses.
Note to Muslim-hater Bill Maher, who should know better: It is not true that women cannot vote in 20 Muslim countries, and please stop generalizing about 1.5 billion Muslims based on the 22 million people in Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, the only place where women cannot drive and where men can vote (in municipal elections) but women cannot. It would be like generalizing from the Amish in Pennsylvania to all people of Christian heritage and wondering what is with Christianity and its fascination with horses and buggies. [emphases added]
Here’s the Youtube clip of the entire episode of lies on Maher’s entertainment program:
And here’s an episode of his entertainment program from last June 10th. It was Maher’s response to public reaction to the cold-blooded murder of eight Turks and an American on the high seas by uniformed Israeli thugs. Note how Rachel Maddow blandly and uncomfortably sits through the entire routine:
“Let’s not shit a shitter,” eh, Bill? Lets see if you have the balls to invite Prof. Cole onto your entertainment program.