On Wednesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC, Bill Maher reacted to the Islamist attack in Paris by beseeching his ideological fellow travelers to "turn toward the truth" about the Muslim world's opposition to "liberal principles." Maher underlined that "hundreds of millions of [Muslims] support an attack like this. They applaud an attack like this. What they say is – oh, we don't approve of violence, but you know what? When you make fun of the prophet, all bets are off."
Host Jimmy Kimmel pushed back a bit against the HBO personality's view: "Do you really think hundreds of millions of Muslims support this?" Maher replied, "Absolutely. That is mainstream in the Muslim world – that when you make fun of the prophet, all bets are off. You get what's coming to you. It's also mainstream that if you leave the religion, you get what's coming to you – which is death – not in every Muslim country, in majority numbers – but this is a problem in the world that we have to stand up to."
The atheist guest repeated many of his blunt points that sparked a controversy after an October 2014 confrontation with actor Ben Affleck. Kimmel led his first segment with Maher by asking for his take on the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in the French capital. The HBO host replied by setting up his critique of Islam: "We have to not avoid who did this. Who did this, Jimmy?" The ABC comedian hesitated to answer. Maher interjected his emphasis that the attackers were Muslims, and continued by singing the praises of the victims:
JIMMY KIMMEL: Well, we presume, and I think it's safe-
BILL MAHER: No, it's not a presume!
MAHER: No, no. It's Muslim terrorists.
KIMMEL: Yes – Muslim terrorists most likely-
MAHER: Right. This happens way too frequently. It's like 'Groundhog Day', except if the groundhog kept getting his head cut off. (audience laughs) And let's – let's also give some credit to this newspaper. This was a satirical newspaper in Paris. These guys have the balls – of the Eiffel Tower-
KIMMEL. Yeah. Their office was bombed-
MAHER: Their balls were bigger than Gerard Depardieu, (audience laughs) because they kept doing it.
The left-leaning guest then launched his warning to his fellow liberals:
KIMMEL: ...The editor said he'd rather die than – than change – his right to free expression-
MAHER: Right – for the – for the crime of being satirists; for the crime of drawing cartoons. This has to stop, and unfortunately, a lot of the liberals, who are my tribe – I am a proud liberal- (audience applauds)
KIMMEL: He's about to turn on you, so- (audience laughs)
MAHER: No, I'm not turning on them. I'm asking them to turn toward the truth, as I have been for quite a while. I'm the liberal in this debate – okay? I'm for free speech. To be a liberal, you have to stand up for liberal principles. It's not my fault that the part of the world that is most against liberal principles is the Muslim part of the world.
There have been studies. We have facts on this. Treatment of women – they studied 130 different countries. Seventeen of the bottom 20 were Muslim countries. In ten Muslim countries, you can get the death penalty just for being gay. They chop heads off in the square in Mecca. Well, Mecca is their Vatican City. If they were chopping the heads off of Catholic gay people, wouldn't there be a bigger outcry among liberals? I ask you. (audience applauds)
MAHER: So – you know, to bring it home to us – because we are satirists, and I'm a satirist who deals with this subject particularly – it's kind of scary – that some people say, you cannot make a joke. That's off-limits. We saw this with Kim Jong Un.
KIMMEL: Yes, we did, and – and-
MAHER: In 'Interview'
Moments later, Kimmel actually disclosed that he was let down by some liberal's reaction to the controversial movie that poked fun of the North Korean dictator: "I was disappointed in the response that I saw from some people who said – whoa, you shouldn't – maybe we shouldn't make movies like this. We shouldn't do this kind of thing – people who don't really seem to understand how big this is – the big picture and how important something like that actually is."
Maher responded to the ABC host's point by taking a shot at religion in general before going back to his main point about the threat from the Islamic world:
MAHER: ...We have to stop saying – when something like this that happened in Paris today – we have to stop saying, well, we should not insult a great religion. First of all, there are no great religions. They're all stupid and dangerous. (Kimmel laughs) (audience applauds) And we should insult them, and we should be able to insult whatever we want-
MAHER: That is what free speech is like. There are certain people in the world who want wavers on free speech. Kim Jong Un in [North] Korea says you cannot make jokes about our country. And there's a lot of Muslim people in the world – I know most Muslim people would not have carried out an attack like this-
MAHER: But here's the important point: hundreds of millions of them support an attack like this. They applaud an attack like this. What they say is – oh, we don't approve of violence, but you know what? When you make fun of the prophet, all bets are off. Well then-
KIMMEL: Do you really think hundreds of millions of Muslims support this?
MAHER: Absolutely. That is mainstream in the Muslim world – that when you make fun of the prophet, all bets are off. You get what's coming to you. It's also mainstream that if you leave the religion, you get what's coming to you – which is death – not in every Muslim country, in majority numbers – but this is a problem in the world that we have to stand up to. And, again, I'm the liberal in this debate. I was brought up in a liberal family. The reason we were liberals is because we were against oppression.