Making the Conversation Public: Sam Harris and Bill Maher Debate Ben Affleck About Orthodox Islam


Check out the ten minute video below. It will probably remind you of many conversations you've had with your friends and family — the frustration, the drama, the intense exasperation felt by both sides — but it's so refreshing to see this discussion take place on mainstream television.

Bill Maher and Sam Harris insist that what they're criticizing are the IDEAS — the ideas in Islamic doctrine, and the people who uphold and express those ideas.

And, of course, Ben Affleck says it's racist. It's like criticizing all black people.

I thought Maher missed an opportunity. He could have said, "Are black people an IDEA? No. Do they all hold the same IDEOLOGY? No. You're talking about people and we're talking about ideas. We're criticizing an ideology, and that is a perfectly legitimate (and even necessary) thing to do in a free society."

We'd love to hear what YOU would say to Affleck. Please leave it as a comment below.

During this conversation when Michael Steele makes the point that there are, in fact, some very brave Muslims opposing the fundamentalists, I wanted to pipe up and say, "You're making my point FOR me! The reason you call them 'very brave' is that they risk their LIVES opposing the fundamentalist Muslims. A Buddhist who criticizes Buddhist fundamentalists does not risk his life in the same way. Why? Because the Islamic IDEOLOGY is dangerous to everyone except an Islamic fundamentalist."

How would YOU respond? Please leave your comment below. Let's help each other respond well in our conversations with friends and family when the same objections come up.

Read what Raymond Ibrahim has to say about this conversation: Ben Affleck: Portrait of Islam’s Clueless Apologetics. He had a great response to Affleck's comment, “We’ve killed more Muslims than they’ve killed us by an awful lot. We’ve invaded more countries than they’ve invaded us by an awful lot.”

Here's Ibrahim's reply:

Aside from essentially suggesting that “two wrongs make a right,” his assertions reflect an appalling acquaintance with true history — thanks of course to the ingrained lies emanating from academia, followed by Hollywood and the media.

Reality records a much different story. From its inception, Islam has been a religion hostile to all others. Jihad was its primary tool of expansion.

Consider: A mere decade after the birth of Islam in the seventh century, the jihad burst out of Arabia. Leaving aside all the thousands of miles of ancient lands and civilizations that were permanently conquered, today casually called the “Islamic world” — including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and parts of India and China — much of Europe was also, at one time or another, conquered by the sword of Islam.

Among other nations and territories that were attacked and/or came under Muslim domination are (to give them their modern names in no particular order): Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Sicily, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Albania, Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Belarus, Malta, Sardinia, Moldova, Slovakia, and Montenegro.

In 846 Rome was sacked and the Vatican defiled by Muslim Arab raiders; some 600 years later, in 1453, Christendom’s other great basilica, Holy Wisdom (or Hagia Sophia) was conquered by Muslim Turks.

The few European regions that escaped direct Islamic occupation due to their northwest remoteness include Great Britain, Scandinavia, and Germany. That, of course, does not mean that they were not attacked by Islam. Indeed, in the furthest northwest of Europe, in Iceland, Christians used to pray that God save them from the “terror of the Turk.” These fears were not unfounded since as late as 1627 Muslim corsairs raided the Christian island seizing four hundred captives, selling them in the slave markets of Algiers.

Nor did America escape. A few years after the formation of the United States, in 1800, American trading ships in the Mediterranean were plundered and their sailors enslaved by Muslim corsairs. The ambassador of Tripoli explained to Thomas Jefferson that it was a Muslim’s right and duty to make war upon non-Muslims wherever they could be found, and to enslave as many as they could take as prisoners.

In short, for roughly one millennium — punctuated by a Crusader-rebuttal that people like Affleck are obsessed with demonizing — Islam daily posed an existential threat to Christian Europe and by extension Western civilization.

Here's an article published in Pakistan: An open letter to Ben Affleck from a woman born and raised in Islam.


Walter Sieruk 11:30 AM  

A claim by Islamic scholars as well as jihadists is that no one can produce something as beautiful as the Quran in the way the words are arranged and thus it can only be of God. This claim should be answered.
First, all someone has to do is examine some of the great works of literature to fine much written beauty. Such as the Greek epic poet Homer with his Iliad and Odyssey and then Virgil who produced the Aeneid has beauty. Even one of the non-Bible books in the Apocrypha called The Song of Three Children is also very beautiful. Thus just because someone sees a work that is written in great beauty doesn’t mean it’s inspired by God.
Second, the scholar Edward Gibbon wrote after an examination of the Quran that it is an “incoherent jumble of fable and precept and declamation which seldom excites a sentiment or an idea, sometimes craws in the dust and is sometimes lost in the clouds…” The writer Thomas Carlyle wrote the Quran is “A wearisome jumble, crude, incondite [with] endless iterations [and] longwindedness…” Likewise, the philosopher David Hume was NOT favorably impressed after reading the Quran.
[Source of the three scholars mentioned – Secrets of The Koran: Revealing Insight Into Islam’s Holy Book .56,66, by Don Richardson]

Furthermore, the following should be taken into consideration.

Of course the Muslim who reads the Quran will see great beauty in the way the words are arranged. This is, in part, because of the power of suggestion after being told so many times that the Quran is so beautifully written. That’s an old brainwashing method, repeating and being told that same thing again and again. Since he or she is always being told the same lie will end up believing that lie. In addition to that, the Imams try to discourage their people from reading other works, such as the Bible, so then they don’t have much or anything to compare or contrast the Quran with. Of course there are some Muslim’s that do read other works, but they are exceptions and they read other things only after they were already brainwashed by the Imams. In short, the Muslims can’t read the Quran objectively because their Imams have programmed them to have a strong bias towards it.

tim p 9:22 PM  

A question for the liberal is 'do you know the difference between Islam and Muslim?'. Once (and if) they can demonstrate an understanding of the difference, then ask 'when I talk about Islam, why do you change the topic to some fringe, non-observant Muslim?'

Citizen Warrior 12:19 AM  

Good one, Tim.

That's the point I think Maher and Harris didn't cover well: The fact that it is the doctrine itself. A non-observant Buddhist would be violent. I non-observant Muslim would be peaceful.

Most people who are unacquainted with Islam would assume the violent Muslim is the non-observant one.

Anonymous 5:32 AM  

The problems we have with Islam ARE "the ideas in Islamic doctrine"! The violence we have seen isn't just something perpetrated by the radical fringe. It's dictated in the Quran! If true follower's of Islam want to be faithful to their doctrine they will radicalize.

luchadora41 7:13 AM  

I would have pointedly asked Ben, "Ben, what race is Islam?" I would have held him to an answer before the conversation got off track, and he would have had to concede that Islam is not a race. Then I would have asked him, "Is it accurate to call people racists for opposing an ideology?"

Life Worth Living 7:50 AM  

Thanks, Citizen Warrior!

I heard about this program, but didn't follow up finding the YouTube.

Interesting to see both sides fighting it out. Each has a point, but as was said, it is the fundamental beliefs that are the problem, even among so-called moderate Muslims.

I was in a multicultural group not too long ago, and a Sikh woman covered her hair with a scarf out of deference to the men. I found that offensive, but I am a modern North American.

Why do people come to North America if they don't agree with our foundational belief system? Why are they allowed to become citizens? That is what I would like to ask Ben Afflick.

royG 8:05 AM  

Affleck is a liberal sheep spewing the hypocracy he truly believes is the only way... when somebody cnt see the facts they resort to name calling therefor anybody who dissagree with them are either raciest, predijuce or just plain stupid... fox's Hannity made a good point last night on his show about Afflect.. Affleck should go to the middle east with a Jew, a Gay person and a vocal Christian and hang out there and SEE for himself what Islam is really about..

Kathleen 6:13 PM  

Why does it take so long for moderation?

Unknown 8:55 AM  

i'd tell Affleck to calm the fudge down an for a moment open your mind an drop your preconception and listen, also not get steamed by the prospect that your ill informed or wrong about a subject an shut out what other have to say.

Citizen Warrior 12:15 PM  

Kathleen, sometimes I go on vacation.

Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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