“Before we get to the hilarity, we hope, I just want to say one thing to the people of Paris,” Bill Maher said, during Friday night's live broadcast of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher. He then sang a few lines of the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” and added, “Now, I’m not a very good singer, but that’s my way of saying ‘We’re with you.’”
Maher, who has become known for controversial comments about terrorism and Islam — including his assertions on his former ABC show Politically Incorrect in the weeks after 9/11 that “we have been the cowards” and that America’s actions precipitated the terrorists’ response — took the time last night to double down on many of his causes over the course of the show.
In a later segment, Maher brought on his first guest journalist and author Asra Q. Nomani, who congratulated the host for having “dared to challenge liberals to stand by their values” and talk seriously about “Islamic extremists.” “How could [liberals] not stand up against Sharia Law, which is the law in so many Muslim countries, which is the law of oppression?” said Maher, who is often accused of Islamophobia for his statements linking the Muslim faith to extremism.
During the show’s panel discussion, Maher and his guests talked in depth about the events in France. After referencing the attacks on Charlie Hebdo earlier this year, Maher challenged his panel to discuss the roots of terrorism. “I’m going to ask you this question that people asked after 9/11, because I don’t think we still know the answer: Why do they hate us?” As the discussion shifted to ISIS later in the panel, Maher drew his own conclusion, arguing that bombings in Syria may have precipitated the attack, something ISIS has now officially claimed as well.
Watch Maher’s interview with Nomani and the panel discussion below: