Sunday, February 22, 2009

Beheading Wives: NOT an Islamic Practice

I like Bill Maher. I think he's very funny and I agree with many of his views. In his first episode of the season, however, he said two things in his monologue that are not quite true. In praising President Obama, Maher claimed that Obama "closed Guantanamo" and "ordered the planning of our withdrawing from Iraq" without elaborating. The President has not closed Gitmo and will begin withdrawing troops from Iraq only because violence in Iraq is a fraction of what it was a year ago, thankfully, and we want to see violence and crime in Iraq disappear completely so that ALL US troops can be withdrawn.

Then Maher spoke with Ron Paul, who believes that America's war on drugs must end, but he also believes that American government should not be allowed to bail out any company, and that the Federal Reserve is the real cause of the economic crisis. I don't want to see bank executives who receive bailout money buy themselves $50 million private jets after they receive government stimulus funds, but I don't want to see Bank of America go belly up either. Maher did hit the nail on its head with his jokes about Dick Fuld and Bernard Madoff.

One of Maher's guests was Brigitte Gabriel, who was invited to speak about the Pakistani American man, Muzzammil Hassan, who recently beheaded his wife in Buffalo. Maher wanted to point out the irony of a man who starts "Bridges TV" to reach out to non-Muslim Americans and show how moderate Muslims are and then ends up beheading his wife, so he invited Gabriel, the author of "They Must Be Stopped". I had never heard of Gabriel before seeing her on Bill Maher tonight, and I was expecting her to explain that beheading one's wife is not a popular Islamic practice and that honor killing (if this was in fact an "honor" killing) has more to do with culture than religion. I was expecting her to warn about the dangers of Wahhabism and the Saudi Wahhabi influence in Pakistan. Instead she said that "this is strictly an Islamic practice". An Islamic practice?? Is this what Muslims do in her native Lebanon? Maher had to point out to her that American men have also killed their wives, and that OJ Simpson nearly beheaded his ex wife with a big knife. Maher asked her what she thinks of Obama's interview with Al Arabiya. She said she believes that Obama should not have "kind of apologized to the Arab world for America's ills in the last 30 years." Maher had to point out that President Obama did not apologize, and that in his inaugural speech he said that America should not apologize for our way of life. I was embarrassed by Gabriel's remarks, and overall I think his first episode of the season was more depressing than funny. I think Bill Maher could do better.

P.S.: Somebody should tell Brigitte that "exemplatory" is not a word.

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