In this instance Mecca cannot be called equivalent to the Vatican because Muslims don't look at the Saudi family or government the way Catholics look at the pope. The Pope is the Successor of Peter, but the Saudi King is not the Successor of Muhammad. The fact that the endorsement of execution is as common as it is is troubling, but it should be remembered that with these "new atheists" everything emanates from the idea that religion is inherently a bad thing. If he hasn't already he could probably link the sex abuse crisis to the bible. Selectively one could link a lot of bad things to the Old Testament, and the Talmud. If you view the OT and the Quran in their proper historical contexts you can see the meaning behind the words and what they mean for us in today's world (which is vastly different from the ruthlessly violent, tribal-ist 7th century Arabia), and make sense of the contradictions. There are many scholars who have written books doing just that, who are probably more familiar with the subject and its history than this media-friendly HBO comedian.In the big picture Europeans have been much more cruel and destructive toward those who are not like them. Just check a map of the British/French/Spanish/German/Dutch empires, and count the crimes. Violent hegemony against less developed worlds continues today in other ways, as we can see from the current US administration's bombing of seven predominantly Muslim nations in less than 6 years. Certainly the conversation about extremism should include this.
@ Xian -- That is a typical response from an apologist for a brutal and demeaning so-called religion. Bill Maher was not comparing Mecca to the Vatican, but used it as an analogy as to the outcry that would be heard if beheadings were being carried out in the Vatican, while no outcry is heard about the beheadings in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic states. You need to work on your ability to comprehend what you are hearing.It is also a typical response in that you compare present day on-going, evil atrocities by ISIS and other Islamic terrorists to atrocities committed by other religions (Christian Jew, etc.) that occurred hundreds and/or thousands of years ago.While the Judeo-Christian world has progressed and no longer participates in the brutality so prominent in their distant past, the Islamic world, as clearly pointed out by Mr. Maher, is still mired in the 7th century, wallows in and celebrates brutality as an important aspect of their pseudo-religion.While I do not condone much of what the current US administration does, the "bombing of seven predominantly Muslim nations in less than 6 years" is a result that they brought on themselves via their terrorist attacks on the US. It was and still is a response by the US for the ongoing Islamic terrorist attacks on the US. If you yank a tiger's tail, you should expect to get bitten.