In regards to the whole Bill Maher-Sam Harris-Ben Affleck "feud", I have this to say:
I'll cede that Affleck was rude and inappropriate -- and at very least deserves to be held in detention for a few periods by Emily Post. Speaking for myself, though, I personally disagree with Harris for the simple reason that he and Maher fell into parroting the same old Bush-era rhetoric that, were it not involving Muslims, they'd otherwise condemn as a FOX soundbyte. Yes, Islamophobia does in fact play a part in all this.
There's a bigger enemy to Liberalism in the world than the bogeyman of Saladin, and I think Harris and Maher are missing it.
From what I can see, trying to look at the world as a whole, Religious Fundamentalism is springing up around the world across all cultural lines. Christian fundamentalists here at home are inciting violence nearly as barbaric across the USA and in Europe in many forms, from physical violence to terror threats on individuals to passing of discriminatory local and state laws. Think of all the Christian laws being passed across the USA that attack the Liberal Values that Maher champions in the same ways the Taliban did early on, from forced prayer in public schools to re-writing science books to fit a idiot's literal interpretation of scripture. Think of the Christians who murder doctors or attack women in mobs at abortion clinics for "disobeying God's Law".
I don't condone Muslim fundamentalist beheadings any more than I condone lynchings or shootings in the name of Christ. Personally I consider the two examples to be different flavors of the exact same thing. Theocracy is on the rise in the world. It doesn't matter if it's in the form of some Muslim Bogeyman or Pat Robertson, because in the end, it all boils the same thing -- all of us, free-thinking, reasonable peaceful thoughtful people are being increasingly attacked just for being free-thinking, reasonable, peaceful and thoughtful people who may not fall into line behind the "right" version of "God". That's what's happening in the Muslim world and that's what's really starting to happen in the West.
Bush-era rhetoric leaves no room to think about anything other than the Muslim Bogeyman, and so long as we're focused on the Muslim Bogeyman, the American version of the Taliban will keep winning. I'd have hoped Harris and Maher would've known better than to fall into that particular trap.
That said, here's the article Harris posted in regards to that same show. I leave it to you guys to decide and debate.