Liberals of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s are not the liberals of the 21st century. Bill Maher’s guest, Sam Harris, makes the point that the motherload of bad ideas is Islam. Ben Affleck defended Islam by claiming that 1 billion people who believe in Islam are not radical. Meaning, Affleck argued that the radicals are the fringe in Islam. Is he right?
Well, Sam Harris explained that there are indeed maybe just a few Islamic people in each country who will blow themselves up on a bus. But the supporters of these people are not just the fringe. Actually, the larger group in Islam are probably supporters of the most illiberal ideas. But the voices of moderation within Islam do not speak out because if they speak out, they are scared of getting killed.
Ben Affleck argued that ISIS followers are not more than a few thousand people. Bill Maher argued back that it is mainstream belief of Islam that is the heart of the problem. All of this adds up to what has been pejoratively labeled as “islamophobia.”
Perhaps it is indeed a label that is accurate. People, justifiably, are indeed scared of militant Islam. And whether or not militant Islam is indeed the majority, or a significant minority is not the critical issue. What matters is who dominates whom within the world of Islam. So, for example, Iran is a country that probably does not have a majority of militant Islamists. But the militant Islamists are the ones that have been in power since 1979, and they are the ones who have been wreaking havoc in the Middle East for decades. So, despite being a minority, they have control over the weapons that a minority of militants are handling in Lebanon. But that minority in Lebanon is the issue – not the majority.
In a nutshell, Ben Affleck may have a point – but it simply doesn’t matter. Who is the majority and who is the minority is not what matters. It matters who is in charge.