A Fox News host became visibly angry on Monday while trying to defend comedian Bill Maher’s comments about Islam. On Friday, the “Real Time” host argued that Islam “is the only religion that acts like the mafia” as he expanded on his claim that the “vast numbers of Muslims want humans to die for holding a different idea.”
In a segment about those remarks, Fox News host Bill Hemmer battled with two guests who took issue with Maher’s broad characterization. As they condemned the HBO host for painting the world’s one billion Muslims with too broad a brush, Hemmer insisted that Maher was accurate in his characterization.
“How do you define what’s bigotry and what’s just reality?” he asked, defending Maher’s position. After both guests criticized Maher’s comments, Hemmer interjected, telling them that they were “missing the point here.” “[Maher] is arguing about 2014,” he explained, implying that the religion is currently overflowing with terrorists.
As guest Bernard Whitman pointed out that “[Maher] indicted a billion Muslims with that comment,” Hemmer interrupted in frustration. “I can’t believe I’m defending Bill Maher!” he exclaimed, before insisting that the comedian was only referring to “radical Islam.”
Watch the exchange:
“The issue is not the religion of Islam, the issue is the politicization in the Islamic organizations that are using Islam as a crutch and as a shield to hide their true terrorist nature,” Whitman told Hemmer. Indeed, nearly every American Muslim organization and Muslim leaders around the world have condemned the ideology and actions of terrorists and ISIS, with some petitioning the name of the terrorist group be changed to “Unislamic State.”
Fox News has a lot history of trying to conflate terrorists with Islam. Fox host Steve Doocy has claimed that President Obama went to a “madrassa” and was possibly a Muslim extremist, Brian Kilmeade suggested “special screenings” for Muslim American soldiers after the Fort Hood shootings in 2009 and linked a commonly-used Arabic phrase to terrorism. Most recently, Bill O’Reilly criticized Bowe Bergdahl’s dad for looking too much like a Muslim.