A group of students at the University of California, Berkeley, is demanding that the administration rescind an invitation to comedian Bill Maher to deliver the keynote commencement speech in protest of his remarks against Islam.
According to the Politico news site, Berkeley students signed a petition against Maher, who recently made headlines after he engaged actor Ben Affleck in a heated debate about Muslims.
On Maher’s HBO talk program Real Time, the comedian, Affleck, and noted atheist Sam Harris debated whether Islam was “a religion of peace,” with Maher and Harris offering a dissenting view. An incensed Affleck replied that their sentiments were “gross and racist.”
Students at Berkeley, long regarded as a bastion of liberalism, appear to side with Affleck.
“Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for,” the petition reads. “Bill Maher’s public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities.”
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