HBO host Bill Maher excoriated his fellow liberals for downplaying the role Islam played in the horrific Orlando jihadist attack and ignoring the reality of the persecution of gays in the Muslim world.
In a Real Time panel discussion (video below) with reporter Emily Miller, Business Insider's Josh Barro, activist Ravi Patel, and Ret. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Maher said it was time to "be real" about fundamentalist Islam's threat to the gay community.
"Anytime somebody shoots up a gay nightclub the question is not whether religion is involved, it's what religion was involved?" said Maher.
When Miller interjected, "There's only one religion that is bombing and terrorizing," Maher agreed and expanded on her point.
"I'm just about to get to that," said Maher to his responsive crowd. "I'm sorry folks, that's the truth too. We have to be real on both counts. Yes, the 'God Hates Fags' people show up with placards and posters, and it's despicable, but they don't show up with guns and bombs."
Maher added that despite the reality of the threat of radical Islam, the answer is "not to ban Muslims," but, rather, "to ask more of Muslims."
When the conversation turned to whether gun control is the answer, Maher once again insisted that we be "real," arguing that the Left is living in a "fantasy" if they think we're going to confiscate 300 million weapons from Americans.
"Can we get real here?"
"Can we get real here?" he said. "If [the Orlando shooter] didn't use the AR-15, there's plenty of other guns in America. Maybe he wouldn't have been as effective, but we are not going to have the cops go around and confiscate more than 300 million guns -- anymore than we're going to deport 11 million illegals. This is like saying I want more Great Lakes. America lives in a total fantasy."
But Maher's strongest criticism of his fellow liberals came when he talked about the persecution of gays and women in Islamist countries, an issue he has hit repeatedly in the past.
When Barro tried to downplay the threat of radical Islam in America, Maher torched him.
"Islamist violence in the United States is extremely rare," said Barro.
"9/11, 2000 people killed, and now we just had 49 people slaughtered by radicals. We had how many in San Bernardino?" responded Milller. (The number killed in 9/11 is actually closer to 3,000 people.)
That's when Maher unloaded on America's "myopia" and called out liberals, asking, "Where are the liberals to stand up" for gays suffering persecution under Islam?
"Where are the liberals to stand up for them?"
"But this is the American myopia," said Maher. They think of the three million Muslims in America -- who are by the way the lucky ones because they can come out of the closet or they can elope with someone whose not of their faith. Or they can leave the religion. Or they can draw a cartoon without getting killed. This is not the case for so many millions of Muslims around the world. Where are the liberals to stand up for them? The people who could not abide by Apartheid for one second, somehow when it comes to gender Apartheid which is in so many countries around the world they are not to be heard. It is a liberal cause, or it should be."
"There are millions and millions of Muslims who are gay around the world who have no one to stand up for and I didn't hear it this week," he continued. "In ten Muslim countries you get the death penalty for just being gay. Could be have a little perspective on this issue? Size matters."
The rant earned strong applause from the audience.
Patel tried to remove Islam from the discussion by vaguely blaming "social conservatism," which Maher's audience also liked, but Maher wouldn't let the tactic stand, noting that Christian oppression of the LGBT community in America was verbal, not violent, as it was in Islamist countries.
Watch an excerpt from the discussion below:
Partial transcript via RealClearPolitics.