Of boys born in England in 2009, Mohammed was the most popular name. Bill Maher thought that maybe that was one of those things that secretly concerns all of us, but it isn’t. On his show last night, Maher explained:
Am I a racist to feel alarmed [that Mohammed is the most popular name for babies in England]? Because I am [alarmed]. And it’s not because of the race, it’s because of the religion. I don’t have to apologize, do I, for not wanting the Western world to be taken over by Islam in 300 years? I should be alarmed. And I don’t apologize for it.
Uncomfortable, his panelists were then basically like, “Um, yeah, no, Bill. You’re just racist.”
His normally boisterous crowd fell silent as the panel responded to Maher’s admission. “If you’re with NPR,” the conservative Margaret Hoover chimed, “You’d be fired. I think England has way bigger problems.”
“It’s worse,” Lawrence O’Donnell told Maher. “It’s way worse than what Juan Williams said.” Hoover seemed to agree with this sentiment. Reihan Salam, a conservative analyst with a Muslim name, also seemed irked by Maher’s comments, noting that he “has some uncles named Mohammed” that are “pretty decent guys.”
And then the table fell into an awkward silence and tried to change the subject.