HBO's Bill Maher clashed with his “Real Time” panel Friday in a heated debate over Islam’s role in this week’s London terror attack.
A man rammed a truck into people on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer outside the house of Parliament. The Wednesday attack killed four, including one American. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria called the attacker a “a soldier of the Islamic State.”
"This is another example where we take one group of people and we demonize them," said Louise Mensch, a Heat Street columnist and former Conservative member of the U.K. Parliament.
"The guy was British-born. His name was Adrian before his converted. And partisans of Russia were out in the streets saying it was an illegal immigrant who did it, trying to turn the London people against our Muslim friends and neighbors. And you're not going to do that."
Maher, who often clashes with guests on his program regarding radical Islamic terrorism, disagreed with Mensch’s take.
"Let's not pretend this has nothing to do with Islam, the religion," he said.
"It doesn't," Mensch responded. "It has nothing to do with Islam the same way Timothy McVeigh had nothing to do with Roman Catholicism."
McVeigh carried out the 1995 bombing of a government building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people.
"Every time some bomb goes off, before it goes off, somebody yells ‘Allahu Akbar!’” said Maher. "I never hear anybody go ‘Merry Christmas! This one’s for the flying nun!’ ”
"When Christians do anything like this, do we ever say, 'Christian terrorism’?” asked Yale professor and author Timothy Snyder.
"No. But is Christian terrorism as big a problem?" asked Maher in response.
"If you lived in Oklahoma City in the 90s," injected MSNBC host Chris Hayes. "We're talking about London here."
"That's a false equivalency," Maher shot back. "Are there Christian terrorist armies like ISIS?"
"The IRA that blew up London for 15 years!" Hayes exclaimed.
"Yes. But that's the past! We're living in the now. There was also the Inquisition," retorted Maher.
"Are there Christian terrorist armies now ... like ISIS, al Qaeda, al-Shaabab, Boko Haram? Are there armies like that in the world that aren't Muslim?" he asked. "Let's not f--k around anymore! Can we get real?"
"I literally don't agree with you," Mensch said. "Russia is sending Chechen militants into ISIS trying to leverage this against a billion people."
"Real Time" is enjoying its highest-rated season since 2003, with viewership up almost 40 percent compared to last season.
When including repeat telecasts and streaming views, the program registers an average of almost 5.5 million viewers each week.