Elham Asaad Buaras
America’s right-wing slammed Hollywood A-lister Ben Affleck for his defence of Islam on a US talk show. Affleck accused TV host Bill Maher of and “racist” depictions of the religion during a televised debate.
Appearing on HBO talk show Real Time with Bill Maher, the Oscar-winning actor and director Affleck reacted furiously to claims by Maher that Islam manifested as “the only religion that acts like the mafia” and which would “f@#king kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book”.
Atheist author and philosopher Sam Harris also angered Affleck after suggesting: “We have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people. It’s intellectually ridiculous.”
Maher backed up the author, telling Affleck that he was wrong to state that fundamentalist beliefs were only held by “a few bad apples”.
Affleck responded: “Hold on – are you the person who officially understands the codified doctrine of Islam? It’s gross and racist. It’s like saying, ‘Oh, you shifty Jew!’ Your argument is, ‘You know, black people, they shoot each other.’”
He added: “How about more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punch women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day, and don’t do any of the things you’re saying of all Muslims. It’s stereotyping.”
The actor’s comments won him praise on Twitter, but conservative US radio and TV outlets have since made Affleck a target.
Rich Lowry, Editor of the conservative National Review magazine, laid into the actor for an alleged refusal to accept “frank truths about the Muslim world” in an article published on October 7.
“He kept on insisting it is just a few bad apples who think this way,” wrote Lowry. “At one point, he tried to wave Maher and Harris off with a condemnation of the Iraq war, positing an implicit moral equivalence between an overly idealistic war of liberation and the stoning of apostates.”
On Fox News, guest Dr Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy referred to the actor as “Imam Ben Affleck”.
On the Fox & Friends show on October 7 Jasser said Affleck was “defending the theocrats, the status quo.”
While America’s Newsroom contributor David Webb accused Affleck of living in a “unicorn-like world” and suggested Islam was “an intolerable religion”.
Meanwhile, presenter Greg Gutfield of the Fox show The Five described Affleck as a “Caliphate crusader”.
On October 6 regular Fox guest Laura Ingraham asked what it might take for liberals such as Affleck to “wake up” to Isis atrocities in Iraq and Syria.