Will Media Attack Maher for Calling Koran 'A Hate-filled Book' and Saying Muslim Extremists are America's Greatest Threat?

As NewsBusters has been reporting for over a week, America's media have been widely attacking House Homeland Security chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) for conducting hearings about the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorists.

On Friday's "Real Time," host Bill Maher, in an interview with Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), called the Koran a "hate-filled book" while claiming "the threat potentially from radicalized Muslims is a unique and greater threat" than from "right-wing militias and Timothy McVeigh types" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

BILL MAHER, HOST: So let me get to the part where I think you may not agree with me which is I do agree that there are other groups that pose a terrorist threat to this country. There are right-wing militias who are nutty and the Ku Klux Klan and abortion bombers and Timothy McVeigh types. I would say that the threat potentially from radicalized Muslims is a unique and greater threat. It is the greatest threat.

Let me give you the reasons why I jotted down why. One, it's been going on a thousand years this problem between Islam and the west. We are dealing with a culture that is in its medieval era. It comes from a hate-filled holy book, the Koran, which is taken very literally by its people. They are trying to get nuclear weapons. I don't think Tim McVeigh would ever have tried to get a nuclear weapon because I think right-wing nuts they think they love this country and they are not trying to destroy this country. They want to get it away from the people they see as hijacking it. That’s different than Muslim extremists who want to destroy it. And also, it's a culture of suicide bombing, which is hard to deter from people who want to kill themselves.

REPRESENTATIVE KEITH ELLISON (D-MINNESOTA): Well, I’ll tell you, Bill, I think you should investigate this issue a little more because I think that you're lumping together things that shouldn't be lumped together and you're casting a very wide net and therefore coming to the wrong conclusions. First of all, when you talk about they're trying to get nuclear weapons, are you referring to Iran? Who are you talking about? Al Qaeda?

MAHER: I think anyone who is influenced by al Qaeda and the statements of Osama bin Laden, and that’s…

ELLISON: Yeah, but Muslims aren't. I mean, there is 1.4 billion Muslims in the world.

MAHER: Of course. No one is disputing that the vast, vast, giant majority of Muslims are not the problem. We're talking about a very small percentage, but it just takes one. That's what we're talking about when we're talking about terrorism, and obviously there is something that is going on that they're getting from the Koran.

Maher here was almost sounding like a conservative. Shouldn't he be attacked for it?

MAHER: Have you read Sam Harris’s book “The End of Faith?” He says…

ELLISON: They’re not getting it from the Koran. You know Bill, I’m glad, let’s use this point for a moment, because as you know, as a student of religion, you know, you could there, books are complex, they’re compiled, and taking them out of context is a very easy thing to do.

MAHER: I've heard this many times and I don't buy it. I’m sorry. Sam Harris says, “On almost every page the Koran instructs observant Muslims to despise non-believers.”

ELLISON: That’s absurd. Ridiculous.

MAHER: And he quotes it. Am I getting the wrong translation? Because that’s what every Muslim always tells me.

ELLISON: No, you must be.

MAHER: A lot of bad translations then.

ELLISON: Well, why don't you read the part where it says that anyone who takes a life it’s as if he killed the whole world, and anyone who saves a life it's as if he saves the whole world? What about the one where it says let there be no compulsion in religion, and that it’s literally wrong to impose…

MAHER: So then where are terrorists getting their instructions from? They’re getting it from something else.

ELLISON: Like any ideologue, they will take things out of context to do what they want to do. If you listen to terrorist rhetoric, Bill, what they do is they cite politics, they cite political grievances. They don’t really use too much religion. As a matter of fact, when you find Muslims who reject terrorism as I do and almost everyone does, it often is for spiritual and religious reason and moral reasons, but when people want to justify it they justify it on political reasons. This is well-documented. Check out the Gallup poll, check out people who have studied this stuff. One of the things I think we can do to undermine terrorist ideology is actually to use people who know the Koran and to go after people like Anwar al-Awlaki who misquote it, misuse it, and don't really understand it.

MAHER: Okay, I hope that happens. Alright, thank you for joining us, Congressman. I appreciate your time. Okay, let's join our panel. Oh, there I am getting in trouble with the liberals again.

Notice at the end Maher said, "Oh, there I am getting in trouble with the liberals again."

But will he?

When you consider the universal excoriation Rep. King has gotten in the past couple of weeks for holding hearings about basically this same issue, or what happens whenever any conservative makes similar points as to those Maher did Friday evening, shouldn't media members go after Maher's obvious "Islamophobia?"

Or will this be another instance of liberals not caring when one of their own exhibits what certainly would be considered "hate-speech" if it came from a conservative?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.