The Colorado Springs Independent has an interview with US talk show host Bill Maher. He is asked why he featured Geert Wilders in his religion-mocking film Religulous – “wouldn’t your hatred for racist xenophobes trump your hatred of religion?” Maher replies that he sees no contradiction:
That’s ridiculous. I am certainly not prejudiced against race, religion, whatever. I do think religion is stupid and dangerous, so, yes, I have disdain for religion. But I don’t have disdain for people who are religious. Nor are my eyes, you know, looking through rose-colored glasses about people who are influenced by religion to do horrible things. As many people are. And this is the point Geert Wilders is making.
Now, I mean, that was six years ago that we interviewed him. I know a lot has happened in the Netherlands since then. I’m not sure of everything he’s said. I don’t stand by everything he’s said, I’m sure. But he’s somebody who is saying: Don’t look at religions, and especially the Islamic religion, through rose-colored glasses. And I would totally agree with that.
We interviewed a lot of Muslim people for this movie and, you know, the liberal point of view here in America is, “Yes, all religions are the same. They all try to reach god through the same …” — Not true! All religions are not the same.
If you ask a lot of Muslim people, and I’m talking about people who are considered moderate Muslims, “Do you think it’s OK if violence comes to somebody who insults the prophet?” a lot of them will say: You know what? If you insult the prophet, you get what’s coming to you.
OK, that’s not how we roll here in the West. And I don’t just roll over when I hear that and go, “Well, you know what? That’s their religion.” Well, maybe that is their religion, but I don’t have to agree with it.
But then, what can you expect from a man who fears that Islam will conquer the West, worries that an “alarming” number of “baby Mohammeds” are being born in the UK, and condemns Islam as “a culture that is in its medieval era” and “comes from a hate-filled holy book, the Koran”?
He and Wilders have so much in common. They even offer the same excuse for their bigotry – that their hatred of Islam isn’t directed against the individuals and communities who follow that faith.