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“Patriotic” FOX News Tries To Make Bogus Connection Between Democrats And Radical Islam

Reported by Ellen - February 8, 2007 -

It was another night of anti-Muslim extremism on Hannity & Colmes last night (2/7/07), this time with an anti-Democratic bonus for Sean Hannity as he did his best to paint Democrats as supporting Muslim extremists. But while he was Hanctimoniously attacking Democrats for giving too much credibility to Imam Husham Al-Husainy, Hannity and his anti-Muslim extremist guest somehow overlooked that the imam had been featured prominently in several recent FOXNews.com articles.

Last night was the second night in a row that Hannity & Colmes devoted to the “shocking story,” as Hannity described it, about Imam Al-Husainy’s prayer at the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting last week. According to FOX News, the imam’s prayer was: We thank you God, to send us your messages through our father Abraham and Moses and Jesus and Muhammad. Through you, God, we unite. So guide us to the right path, the path of the people you bless, not the path of the people you doom. Help us God to liberate and fill this earth with justice and peace and love and equality. And help us to stop the war and violence and oppression and occupation. Ameen.

Hannity’s big beef? The last sentence which, in Hannity’s and his guest’s mind, was proof that the imam hates America. Apparently, freedom of speech and the right to speak out against government policy (assuming that’s what Al-Hussainy meant and was not speaking against war, violence, oppression and occupation in a more global context) only applies to non-Muslims.

Hannity claimed that Al-Husainy “has reportedly been linked to pro-Hezbollah protests in Detroit.” What does that mean? Hannity never said al-Husainy was directly linked to Hezbollah. Is it the same kind of “link” Hannity tried to make between Nancy Pelosi and NAMBLA because she walked too closely (for Hannity’s taste) near a NAMBLA advocate in a gay pride parade?

Hannity added that Al-Hussainy “made some comments in an interview with a writer for the Los Angeles Times that some people view as anti-Semitic.” Hannity never revealed what those statements were. Hannity is often hypersensitive to anti-Semitism when it comes from a Muslim yet never seems to give it a thought in any other context.

The only guest was another anti-Muslim extremist, this time Mark Steyn. Hannity may be concerned about Al-Husainy’s alleged anti-Semitism but he didn't seem to mind that Steyn recently called Vietnamese people gooks. A little bit of research (H/T sourcewatch) revealed that Steyn is a smear-monger who is not meticulous about getting his facts straight. For example, he distorted Max Cleland’s war record, and as Glenn Greenwald reported, laughed in 2003 about the fact that the U.S. won the war in Iraq so quickly and easily and mocked those who were concerned that it would be a difficult challenge. Nevertheless, Steyn was back for his second Hannity & Colmes appearance in recent weeks, treated as a mainstream, credible pundit without any balancing guest.

Hannity melodramatically berated Democrats for having “stood there, Mark, (while al-Husainy called America) oppressors and occupiers and have said nothing and they’re defending him.”

Steyn not only adopted Hannity’s far-fetched interpretation, he took it ten steps further. Steyn said Democrats “look as if they’re bowing down and praying that they and their wicked country will be delivered into the hands of Allah.” Who was attacking Americans now?

“Patriotic” Hannity, so sensitive to even the most subtle hint of anti-Americanism in the imam's prayer, didn’t care a fig that Steyn had just smeared, more blatantly, a large segment of the country.

In fact, the FOX News producers seemed to concur with that smear. One of the chyrons read, “THE DNC’S IMAM.”

According to Hannity, Democrats were mad that no mention had been made on the show the previous night that President Bush had consulted the same Imam. Hannity tried to excuse it by saying that Bush’s relations with al-Husainy predated his extremism. “This is just this past summer when, you know, (Al-Hussainy), according to these reports was one of the leaders of a pro-Hezbollah rally.”

So since last summer, he should not have been considered a reputable spokesperson? Then why was he featured prominently in this article on FOXNews.com dated December 30, 2006, entitled “Iraqi-Americans Cheer Saddam’s Death?” Funny how Al-Husainy's Hezbollah "involvement" with Hezbollah never became an issue until he spoke at a DNC meeting.

Steyn said, “He appeared with a lot of those people in the very early days of their struggle. And at this point now, I think it behooves every politican… in the western world which Imams you’re seen to publicly endorse.”

I guess that dictum doesn’t apply to news organizations. Otherwise, FOX News would be in trouble. A search of Al-Husainy on their website pulls up three December, 2006 articles in which the imam is featured prominently and without mention of any pro-Hezbollah leanings.

Steyn said Democrats “have an obligation to understand that, generally speaking, a lot of these so-called moderate Imams use language very carefully and they’ve become very adept at saying things… very adept at saying one thing when they were over in Washington and another thing when they were with a Muslim audience. And the Democrats shouldn’t be falling for that at this stage.”

The screen said “Imam addresses DND winter mtg. Controversy follows his remarks.” In fact, the only place I could find any controversy was on some right-wing web sites. Neither MSNBC nor CNN covered this "shocking" story. FOX News, except for a video of the previous night’s discussion, has no articles about it, either.

During Alan Colmes’ portion of the interview, Steyn took his condemnation even further.

Colmes asked “I don’t know where in the statement we just played you suggest he’s got some message that’s either anti-American or whatever you’re claiming it to be.”

Steyn claimed that with the phrase “the people you doom” Al-Husainy was saying non-Muslims are doomed. That, despite the fact that the imam said at the beginning Abraham, Moses and Jesus united through God. According to Steyn, that was a reference to Muslim prophets. Steyn never clued the audience in on how he knew it but, he declared, “So (Al-Husainy's) not saying Jews, Christians, Muslims, let’s all pray together.”

Colmes told Steyn FOX News had not been able to confirm that Al-Husainy had been at a pro-Hezbollah rally. But Steyn was not deterred by the lack of verification. “The point here, Alan, is that this is not someone who can credibly be presented as a moderate Muslim.”

While demanding that Muslims be moderate, there's no limit to extremism allowed right-wing pundits on FOX News.

You can watch the video on FOXNews.com.