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Bill Maher defends calling Islam 'violent'

By Andrew Moran     May 7, 2010 in World
New York - Bill Maher, comedian and host of HBO's “Real Time with Bill Maher,” sat down with CNN's Anderson Cooper to discuss his recent statement that "our culture" is superior than the Islamic culture because we're better at taking jokes.
Bill Maher, the writer of “Religulous,” is an outspoken person and was a harsh critic of the Bush administration but a recent jab at the religion of Islam and their culture may put the former host of “Politically Incorrect” in hot water.
On Wednesday, Maher shared his opinions with CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the Times Square attempted bombing incident, Islam and Faisal Shahzad.
At first, Cooper played a clip from his HBO show where he said the “South Park” show got threatened by Islamists over their depiction of Mohammad, which prompted Maher to say, “It served, or should serve, as a reminder to all of us that our culture isn't just different than one that makes death threats to cartoonists. It's better.”
Maher added that when he jokes about the Pope or rabbis they don’t threaten him or physically assault him. Cooper proceeded to ask him why a lot of people in the United States and other Western countries censor themselves from joking about Islam
“Because they're violent. Because they threaten us, and they are threatening. They bring that desert stuff to our world. I said the same thing Friday night. You know, we don't threaten each other; we sue each other. And, and they don’t.” responded Maher. “You know, yes, we do have religious nuts in this country. There was a cleric in Iran who recently said that earthquakes were caused by slutty women. Well, Pat Robertson once said that abortions caused hurricanes, I think. But the difference is Pat Robertson doesn't have the power to cut your arms off.”
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Cooper asked Maher if he believed it when people say majority of American Muslims frown upon terrorism and violence and that Islam is a religion of peace.
“Yes, they blow you up. There's a piece of you over there. There's a piece of you over there. There's a piece of you over there,” Maher said. Adding that he doesn’t know if it’s a religion of peace because he has not read the Koran in its original format but said when you read the translation there are “many, many, many passages that are not peaceful at all.”
He also said people who follow the Bible in the West do not want to kill their neighbor because they work on a Sunday but there are schools in Pakistan where children read one book and attempt to memorize it, "That's all they do. You know, that's not what we do in this country."
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