On Tuesday night’s “In the Arena” on CNN, HBO host Bill Maher applied a different logic to push for change in the Middle East than many. While Maher said the revolutions in the Middle East are a defeat for al-Qaeda, he said it would take a sexual revolution to improve the standing of women in the Arab world.
“Yes, I do think it’s a defeat for al Qaeda,” Maher said. “But it’s not a complete defeat. There was a million woman march a couple of weeks ago in Cairo and about 1,000 women showed up, greatly outnumbered by men jeering them to get back into the house, as women should be. So, you know, I said this on our show a few weeks ago and people were upset. I often make my liberals in our audience mad when I talk about this subject, but I said, ‘You know what, if there is not a sexual revolution that is going to accompany your revolution-revolution, forget it because, you know, that’s part of it, is becoming a somewhat secular society.’”
The “Real Time” host’s remarks calling for a so-called sexual revolution come on the same day the National Organization for Woman (NOW) condemned Maher for calling former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin a “dumb twat.”
Nonetheless, Maher crafted his vision for viewers on the direction the Middle East revolutions should proceed – away from theocracy and Shariah law.
“I mean, al Qaeda draws its strength from religion, and we know this is a religious culture, much more than the West is a religious culture,” he continued. “At some point, they are going to have to make a break. You cannot have a sort of semi-theocracy where year getting laws from the Quran and so forth, and I worry about that. We saw the polls that were coming out of Egypt at the time of the revolution when [Hosni] Mubarak was still in power and a majority of the people believe in things like Shariah law. It’s a religious conservative society and I don’t think it’s compatible with democracy. I know liberals don’t like to hear that, that some people aren’t ready for it. But you know what, if you’re too religious, you can’t also be a democracy.”