Two Muslim students at the University of California, Berkeley claim that liberal HBO talk show host Bill Maher is racist and bigoted, and they have started an online petition to demand that school officials rescind an offer to have him speak at their fall commencement in December.
“Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for,” reads the petition created by student senator Marium Navid and Khwaja Ahmed, a member of the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition.
The petition had garnered 2,000 signatures as of Monday night.
The stand-up comedian approached the school in August to speak at the commencement, which will be held on Dec. 20, according to The Daily Californian.
“In a time where climate is a priority for all on campus, we cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment,” the petition reads.
Maher came under fire earlier this month following an exchange on his show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” on the topic of Islam with actor Ben Affleck.
During their heated argument, Maher argued that liberals are too hesitant to criticize Islam for what he perceived as its opposition to liberal values, such as freedom of speech and equality for women and homosexuals.
“But then when you say in the Muslim world this is what’s lacking, then they get upset,” Maher said. Affleck became visibly upset by Maher’s remarks, and those of another guest, Sam Harris, and eventually called both bigots and racists.
In their petition, the students began by citing Maher’s critiques of organized religion in general as reason enough to disinvite him.
“[Religions are maintained by] people who can’t get laid, because sex is the first great earthly pleasure,” Maher once said.
But the petition focused mostly on Maher’s critiques of Islam. (RELATED: Bill Maher: ‘Islam Is The Problem’)
“Islam is the only religion that acts like the mafia that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing,” they quoted Maher.
“Talk to women who’ve ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good.”
While Maher also taunts conservatives on his show and in his stand-up routines, the president of Berkeley College Republicans is not opposed to his appearance at the prestigious school.
“He’s a very prominent public figure, and I’m certain that he’s not going to treat a commencement speech at a prestigious university the way he treats his talk show,” Claire Chiara told The Daily Californian.
[h/t The College Fix]