Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

In His Latest McCarthyism, Hannity Distorts And Smears Obama’s Muslim Advisor

Reported by Ellen - October 16, 2009 -

So many smears, so little time! That could have been the motto for a one-minute portion of Hannity’s America last night (10/15/09). In that brief time, Sean Hannity and his producers misrepresented the background of the CEO of Britain’s The Islam Channel, attacked a member of President Obama’s Faith Advisory Council for appearing on the station and suggested she’s a terrorist-sympathizer because she expressed a willingness to accept Sharia law for Muslim-majority societies. So where was Hannity’s outrage when the Bush administration backed Islamic law in Iraq? Answer: nowhere to be seen. With video.

Hannity began the segment with his last witch hunt, by crowing that 53 House Republicans were now demanding that “safe schools czar” Kevin Jennings be fired. But after a brief detour to talk up Sarah Palin’s new project, a “new political group” called “Stand up for our Nation” (“specific details remain unclear”), Hannity moved on to his newest witch hunt.

“One member of the president’s Faith Advisory Council saw it appropriate to appear on a television network called The Islam Channel and it’s run by convicted terrorist Mohamed Ali Harrath,” Hannity began. That immediately sent alarm bells in my head so I hurried off to Google to find out how on earth a convicted terrorist could own a television network that an Obama advisor would appear on. Sure enough, in true Misinformer fashion, Hannity left out some crucial details. It turns out Harrath was, in fact, convicted, in absentia, by Tunisia, but there seems to be no evidence he ever engaged in terrorism. As UPI reported, Harrath “is wanted by Interpol for alleged terrorism activities in founding the Tunisian Islamic Front, or FIT… Interpol says FIT wants to establish ‘an Islamic state by means of armed revolutionary violence.’ …(Harrath) has been convicted in absentia of numerous criminal and terrorism-related offenses by Tunisian courts and sentenced to 56 years in prison, The Times (of London) said. Harrath says he did set up FIT but claims it is a ‘non-violent political party founded in 1986 to oppose the one-party state in Tunisia,’ adding, ‘We are not extremists and we are not terrorists and (we've) never been involved in any such activities.’”

It’s not just Harrath who says he’s not a terrorist. So does Scotland Yard’s Muslim Contact Unit, which appreciates Harraths help as an advisor in their efforts to combat extremism. They also provide funding for an annual Muslim gathering, Global Peace and Unity, hosted by Mr Harrath’s Islam Channel.

If Hannity or one of his assistants had only Googled Harrath, too, he (Hannity) could have known all this as well. Maybe he didn’t want to know.

Hannity continued, “Now, the Obama advisor, Dalia Mogahed, appeared on the network’s program, Muslim Dilemma, and shared the following thoughts about spreading Sharia law – take a look at this!

A clip of Mogahed was shown saying, “I’m sure there are people out there… they’re not all Muslim - who believe that this is something that the United States and Britain and other countries should be open to, the concept of… integrating Sharia into laws in Muslim-majority societies.” She noted that “most Muslim-majority societies do have Sharia as a part of their laws already.”

As she spoke, an inflammatory – and misleading – banner appeared on the screen: Obama adviser appears on TV channel run by terrorist.

Hannity, with incredulity, said, “What? There’s a lot of Americans who think Muslim countries should be governed by Sharia law? Now, I don’t know where Ms. Mogahed is getting her information but I sure hope she’s not passing that along to President Obama.”

Well, maybe she got it from President Bush. In 2005, the White House made concessions to the Shia and allowed a provision in the Iraqi Constitution that no law should be antithetical to Islam. Funny, but I can’t recall hearing a peep of complaint from Hannity about that.