A variety of voices are responding to HBO host Bill Maher's recent controversial comments that hundreds of millions of Muslim people supported the terror attacks in Paris last week that killed 17 people, and some conservatives have backed his views.
Maher, who in the past few months has made a series of comments critical to Islam, said in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live that while he knows most Muslim people wouldn't have carried out an attack like the one in France, "hundreds of millions of them" supported the actions.
"They applaud an attack like this. What they say is, we don't approve of violence, but you know what, when you make fun of the prophet, all bets are off," Maher claimed.
The atheist comedian said he represents the liberal side of the debate, but that means that he needs to "stand up for liberal principles" like free speech.
"It's not my fault that the part of the world that is most against liberal principles is the Muslim part of the world," Maher said.
On his Friday "Real Time with Bill Maher," show, he added that while he thinks "the vast majority of Muslims would never do anything like this," referring to the Paris terror attacks, many Muslims "share bad ideas."
While some media headlines, such as one on SheKnows.com, said that Maher's comments about Muslims are in "poor taste," others, such as evangelical conservative David French, backed what Maher was saying.
Writing for the National Review Online on Monday, French said that polling numbers have shown that hundreds of millions of Muslims do support the death penalty for blasphemy against Muhammed, as well as for apostasy, or converting from Islam.
"I tend to think of the degrees of support for violent jihad in terms of a pyramid, with a broad base narrowing down to the sharp point. Hundreds of millions support shariah law's most bloodthirsty elements," French wrote.
"Hundreds of millions have supported al-Qaeda, at least tacitly. A percentage of those hundreds of millions go beyond mere tacit support and actively advocate for Islamic terror, support it on social media, or write checks."
He argued that "pointing out facts is not bigotry," and that there are hundreds of millions of Muslims who do not support terrorists, but similar numbers do offer such support through a variety of actions.
"If it takes a Bill Maher to wake up my liberal friends, well then God bless him in his work," he concluded.
Back in October, a group of students from the University of California at Berkeley started a petition seeking to prevent the HBO host from speaking at the fall commencement because of his statements about Islamic extremism and terrorism.
"Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for. 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," the petition read, though it was unsuccessful and Maher was allowed to deliver his address.