But there are lines. There are plenty of problems in Islam, but not all Muslims are the same. Their are friendly neighbors, obnoxious bores, pricks, shy thinkers, doting parents, etc. The same is true of Christianity, and its sects, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, etc. When you have large and spread out populaces, you have diversity. To blindly jump at any possible opening is fraught with great risk for any honest person looking to bolster secular society. We have stories arise of atheist being threatened with being fired from jobs, but going in half cocked to find the person exaggerated a more complicated trouble cannot help but make us look bad. It is bad enough, through works like Expelled, Creationist try to spread false claims about science. We need to be better.
Which takes us to Bill Maher. Not exactly a poster boy for any positive cause. He is loud arrogant and abrasive, and more contrarian than debater. Put works like Religulous can open the questioning of religion to a few more...perhaps (Though I did really enjoy the monologues on the DVD).
But with the opening episode of this season of Real Time, he had on one Brigitte Gabriel. Who apparently sees all Muslims as a threat, and can never be trusted. That is not someone you turn to have a sane discussion on an issue, like the recent murder and beheading that have caused quite a stir. Where a Muslim husband viciously murdered his wife. Some have jumped to the assumption that it is yet another honor killing. But it does not seem so clear yet. It seems more likely that a husband was being left by his wife, and he took on the role of complete an utter fucking bastard, murdering her. It doesn't take faith to do this...ask Scott Peterson. But Maher likes to do his thing and she was the perfect choice to lay into the story. This murderer deserves scorn and punishment. But let us be sure we actually understand what happen. Let's not become Brigitte Gabriel, that helps no one. We need to be better.
Crooks and Liars:
I was wondering if Maher even realized who he was bringing on his show to comment on the beheading of a Muslim woman. Talk to Action's Chris Rodda has more on that in his post Maher Season Premiere Includes Islamophobe Who Said Muslim-Americans Shouldn't Hold Public Office:But, while Maher was just exploiting the irony of the story, his via satellite guest for the segment, Brigitte Gabriel, was given a forum to further her fear-mongering cause. And, although as more of the facts emerge, the murder of Aasiya Hassan is looking less and less like an "honor killing," and more and more like just a horrible case of domestic violence in which the perpetrator happened to be a Muslim, this story is pure gold to someone like Gabriel, whose mission is to spread a message that no Muslim-American, no matter how "assimilated" they may appear, can be trusted. With her glee in proclaiming on Real Time that Muzzammil Hassan had called the police to "brag" that he had murdered his wife (something that is not true), Gabriel came across to the audience as a funny, personable guest joining Maher in a bit of sarcastic repartee about the story. To those of us familiar with Gabriel, however, her glee was taken as something quite different....
The real Brigitte Gabriel is a woman who has said that Muslim-Americans shouldn't be allowed to hold public office; instructs people to contact the F.B.I. if they see a mosque being built in their neighborhood; and has said that Muslim-Americans "are good at nothing but complaining about every single thing" and that "Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim."