HBO’s “Real Time” host Bill Maher asked female Saudi Arabian filmmaker Haifaa al Mansour about the obstacles she encountered as a female filmmaker on Friday and spoke out against the nation’s governing religion of Islam.
Maher noted that some nations in the Middle East are becoming more conservative with regards to Islam after the Arab Spring, which, in his view, isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“The problem is, the Arab Spring kind of turned into the Arab Winter,” Maher said. “And Saudi Arabia, I mean, is the most conservative of all. As people criticize me for what I say about the Muslims. I love all people. And it’s funny because the people that come up to me privately say, ‘Bill, I’m with you about the Muslims.’ It’s the American Muslims. It’s the liberals here who don’t quite get it. We’re not criticizing people. We’re criticizing a belief system that turns people into something we wish they wouldn’t be.”
But he also observed that compared to other religions, Islam gets a pass on some of its practices.
“But, you know, Mecca is the capital of the country,” he continued. “And they routinely put people to death … the religious capital, but it’s equivalent to like the Vatican, right — with Catholicism. And, if at the Vatican, they were putting people to death for homosexuality and apostasy, and, you know, adultery — things like that, I feel that there would be a big outcry. I feel that liberals would be upset about that, and it is the center of the religion. It’s a ‘mecca.'”