Bill Maher called Islamic beliefs dangerous after Salman attack

Bill Maher took time out on his latest episode of HBO’s Real Time to honor close friend Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed before giving a talk in western New York on Friday. During a meeting with guests Piers Morgan and writer Rikki Schlott at the start of the segment, Maher said his spirit was on the attack.

Rushdie, whose 1988 novel satanic verses was considered blasphemous by many Muslims, was on a ventilator and likely to lose an eye as a result of the attack, according to a Friday night statement from his agent, Andrew Wylie. “First I have to say something – this is a bit personal but also national news,” Maher said. “A dear friend of mine, a good friend on this show, was stabbed today, Salman Rushdie. I’m sure people have seen this news.

Maher went on to discuss his feelings regarding the Islamic faith. “Islam is still a far more fundamentalist religion than any of the other religions in the world, and that means they take what’s in the holy book seriously,” the host said. “And it was dangerous for a long time – it’s still dangerous. It was in 1989 when he was first threatened.

Morgan responded by saying free speech in the United States was in danger, as he linked the attack on Rushdie to comedians Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock being accosted on stage earlier this year.

“Ask Dave Chappelle – attacked on stage for having an opinion, for cracking jokes,” Morgan said. “Ask Chris Rock, hit on stage at the Oscars for cracking a joke. Once that strays into violence, you end up with Salman Rushdie stabbed by a madman on a stage in New York.

Police have named Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, as a suspect in Rushdie’s stabbing. Matar was arrested at the scene and police have yet to determine a motive.

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Valerie E. Frazier