In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one on Earth, some students at the University of California, Berkeley aren't very welcoming to people who spout anti-Islamic bullshit on a daily basis.
This fact seemed to slip the minds of organizers at UC Berkeley who OK'd plans for Bill Maher to speak at an upcoming graduation. Uhhhh, no fucking thanks and also are you fucking kidding me, said a bunch of students at the campus this week, according to the Daily Californian. A group of students recently launched a petition to get the school to cancel plans for Maher to speak there.
The objections stem largely from a segment featured on Maher's show, Real Time With Bill Maher, during which the comedian called Islam "the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book." (But really there are so many other reasons why students don't want him there, too.) The comments drew ire from guest Ben Affleck, who called his remarks "gross" and "racist." Seems like a popular sentiment about Maher lately.
The Change.org petition was authored by ASUC Senator Marium Navid, who is backed by the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition, or MEMSA, and Khwaja Ahmed, an active MEMSA member.
"It's not an issue of freedom of speech, it's a matter of campus climate," Navid said. "The First Amendment gives him the right to speak his mind, but it doesn't give him the right to speak at such an elevated platform as the commencement. That's a privilege his racist and bigoted remarks don't give him."
The petition calls Maher a "a blatant bigot and racist" who has no business offering advice to young people as they make their way out into the "real world" (as opposed to the one filled with jelly and Unicorns that all college students live in until they graduate). From the Change.org petition:
In a time where climate is a priority for all on campus, we cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment. Bill Maher's public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities. Too many students are marginalized by his remarks and if the University were to bring this individual as a commencement speaker they would not be supporting these historically marginalized communities. It is the responsibility of the University of California to protect all students and uphold a standard of civility.
The petition included several examples of Maher's comments about Islam, among other things:
'Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who's trying to kill u - u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her"
"Talk to women who've ever dated an Arab man. The results are not good."
'The Muslim world has too much in common with Isis'
"You have to understand, you have to embrace the values of Western civilization. They're not just different, they are better."
"For a lack of a better term I would say the feminine values are now the values of America, sensitivity is more important than truth, feelings are more important that facts"
On Monday evening, the petition had more than 1900 signatures. According to the Daily Californian, Maher was the one who approached UC Berkeley about giving the commencement speech. So far, officials at the school have not responded to the petition.
Barring a reversal in the school's decision, Maher is set to address students at the commencement ceremony on Dec. 20.
Image via Getty.