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Bill Maher: Is It Really Xenophobia If There’s Something To Fear?

The UK referendum is over—and the British voters decided to give the European Union the boot. That was a topic of discussion on Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. The panel, which included Democratic strategist Paul Begala, The Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff, and former RNC chair Michael Steele, discussed the role of immigration in the vote. Of course, xenophobia playing a role in the referendum campaign was discussed at length, which Maher said isn’t so black and white. Steele brought up a poll in which a majority of Americans feel that Islam and American constitutional republican values are incompatible.

“Is it really a phobia if there’s something to be afraid of?” asked Maher, noting that 52 percent of British Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal. Begala asked how many Republicans feel the same way and can we deport them? Maher, Steele, and Woodruff rejected that false narrative, with the liberal host saying that Begala’s remarks were “bulls**t.”

“Stop it, just stop it,” said Maher.

Now, Maher did say that he doesn’t support a Muslim ban, but added that the Islamic world needs a reformation similar to what occurred in Christendom. What’s stopping that is the moderate Muslims are keeping their mouths shut due to threats of violence and intimidation from fundamentalists.

Woodruff also noted that there is something remarkable in the sense that Muslims who come to America have more success assimilating more than anywhere else. And it’s not just Muslims—it’s scores of various ethnic and racial groups.

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