On this past weekend's episode of Real Time, HBO host Bill Maher — a longtime critic of Islam — debated Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison (who gave emotional testimony at last week's congressional hearings on Islamic radicalization) about the relationship between the religion and violence.
Maher ultimately called the Quran a "hate-filled holy book" and insisted that it advocated hatred of nonbelievers on every page (unless he had the wrong translation).
In response, Ellison cited anti-violence mandates in the Quran ("If anyone takes a life, it's as if he killed the whole world") and argued that those who justify terrorism normally do so for political reasons, while those who reject it do so for spiritual reasons.
Ellison earned a round of applause from the audience when he suggested that one of the most important things we can do to undermine terrorist ideology is to go after and correct people who "misquote, misuse and don't really understand the Quran." The good news is that Maher (who's never been one to be fake or hold back with his opinions) actually appeared to absorb this bit. At the end of the segment, while still somewhat skeptical, he said, with none of his typical fiery style, "I hope that happens." So do we.
Read more at Salon.
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