Bill Maher on Brexit: Is It Really Xenophobia if You Have Something to Be Afraid Of?

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Credit: RealClearPolitics


MICHAEL STEELE: What are you seeing and hearing from him that makes you think and understand him in that way?

BILL MAHER: But that's a different issue than voting for someone who wants to deport 11 million people, who wants to ban all Muslims, who is for torture, who is for birtherism. 

STEELE: So how do you answer the poll that came out during the middle of the primary. The question was asked: Is Islam compatible with the values of America? How many Americans answered that question in the negative?

MAHER: I'm the one who answers that question honestly. 

STEELE: And it was 56% of Americans that [said] Islam is not compatible with America. It is the same person who is looking at Donald Trump and saying "he's one of us." So you have got to figure out ---

MAHER: But the answer isn't to ban all Muslims.

PAUL BEGALA: But these are the same people who honored Muhammad Ali when he passed away as an American icon. And he was an American icon and an American Muslim.

MAHER: What does that have to do with 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, Paul?

BEGALA: Because it's bizarre and stupid to try to ban every Muslim from America.

MAHER: I agree.

BEGALA: It's insane.

MAHER: But his point was also not wrong.

I mean I hear a lot of talk today about xenophobia. Is it really phobia if you have something to be afraid of? Fifty-two percent of British Muslims think being gay should be illegal.

BEGALA: What percentage of American Republicans believe that? Can we deport them?

STEELE: Not just American Republicans.

MAHER: How many?


STEELE: Not many.

MAHER: They think it should be illegal?


MAHER: No. That's bullshit, Paul. 

STEELE: Stop it.

MAHER: Just stop it.

There certainly is a hard right wing in this country. But they have no power. It's a lot different. Do you really think if America had radicalized ghettos of Muslims like London and Brussels and Paris where a woman who would walk down the street in a short skirt would be hassled because it was anti-Islamic? What would Americans do if that happened in this country?

BEGALA: We would not put up with it. We're a pluralistic society. We have Muslims here -- I don't really know Britain, I don't know France -- but they're integrated here very wonderfully. They really are...

MAHER: Can we all agree on this because even the people who fight me on this issue usually agree that Islam needs a reformation. Do we all agree on that?...

Every time somebody says 'Islamophobia' it gives the people who are intimidating cover.

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