The pair were joined by controversial author Sam Harris on HBO show Real Time.
“We have been sold this Islamaphobia, where criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people,” Harris had stated. “It’s intellectually ridiculous.”
Maher supported his views, describing Islam as “the only religion that acts like the mafia” and will “f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book”.
Affleck was quick to respond to their claims.
“Hold on – are you the person who officially understands the codified doctrine of Islam?” he said. “It’s gross and racist. It’s like saying ‘Oh you shifty Jew!’”
“How about more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punch women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day and don’t do any of the things you’re saying of all Muslims,” he said elsewhere.
“It’s stereotyping. Some of them do bad things and you’re painting the whole religion with that broad brush.”
The debate culminated in Maher dramatically shouting “They will f**king kill you!” at Affleck.
During his own Fox News show, anchor O’Reilly sided with Maher and Harris, telling his audience: “Mr Maher is correct on the overall effect Islam is having on the world right now.
“The truth is militant Islam continues to drive worldwide terrorism and have plenty of sanctuaries from which to commit their evil.”
“Ben Affleck should well understand that he himself would be beheaded in a heartbeat by these ISIS animals.”
Since the debate, Maher spoke to Salon magazine about being accused of bigotry by Affleck.
“I’m the liberal in this debate,” he told the publication.Reuse content