This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 23, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight, I will be joined in just a moment by a man who's often referred to us the "Ground Zero imam," right here on our studio.
But first, let's review the controversy for our viewers. Now, the Cordoba Initiative Founder and Chairman Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf became a household name back in 2010 when he was the lead supporter of the then-proposed mosque at Ground Zero.
Now, the Islamic Center -- which has been renamed Park 51 -- is just steps away from where the World Trade Center towers once stood. Now, Park 51 developers are still fund-raising to help complete the 15-floor center, but the doors are open to the community as their plan.
And even though Imam Rauf is no longer associated with the project, he still stands by it and he now joins me in studio to explain why. He has a brand-new book, it's called "Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America," it's out in stores now, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
I didn't think you'd ever come to this program. Because you know, I have been very critical of you. You know that?
IMAM FEISAL ABDUL RAUF, CORDOBA INITIATIVE FOUNDER: Well, I'm here to straighten the record.
HANNITY: OK. Look, I'm glad you are. I have read in a recent interview that you said, and you said, Americans have -- on the question of Americans treating Muslims, you went on to praise them. You said, look, I go out, the way Americans have treated the Muslim community is amazing.
RAUF: Indeed. Indeed. That's what I say whenever I travel to the Muslim world and speak, which I have done on many, many occasions. Our enemy is not Islam. Islam is not the enemy of America --
HANNITY: I agree with you.
RAUF: -- and Americans are not the enemy of Islam. Our real enemy is extremism and radicalism. This is the common enemy. The battlefront, Sean, is not between the Muslims and Americans. The real battlefront is between the moderates of all faith traditions against the extremists of all faith traditions.
HANNITY: All right. Here's where I run into a problem with you then. And how could you possibly have gone on "60 Minutes" after the slaughter of 3,000 Americans and say, the United States and their policies were an accessory to what happened? I've got the tape. I'm going to show you the tape. Let's roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES," SEPT. 20, 2001)
RAUF: I wouldn't say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United States' policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You're saying that we're an accessory?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How?
RAUF: Because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives, dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Usama bin Laden is made in the USA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Usama bin Laden -- you are blaming us with that statement! You are blaming America for the 3,000 dead Americans!
RAUF: Sean, it was an insensitive thing to say, I regret saying that. And you know, we need to -- I ask forgiveness and ask to be forgiven.
HANNITY: Why have you never said that before?
RAUF: Wait a minute, I have.
HANNITY: I've never heard you say it.
RAUF: I have said that when I was interviewed at the heart of the crisis on CNN. I did say that was an insensitive thing to say and I am sorry and I regret having said that.
HANNITY: I appreciate that.
RAUF: But again, the thing that has caused this is our common enemy, which is extremism. And we have to combat extremism. And we can combat it. I've a whole chapter in my book. The fact of the matter is that 60 people, 60 Muslims died on 9/11. I've been an Imam of a small mosque, a dozen blocks from Ground Zero, for almost 30 years since 1983. This neighborhood, Sean, is my neighborhood. That community is my community. And I've always felt as part of that community.
HANNITY: But you talk in your book, and this is where I am having a conflict with you, you talk in your book about bringing everybody together. I separate radical Islamist, I separate Hamas and Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. I separate that from people that want to pursue their faith. I'm a Christian. They're Muslim. There are peaceful Muslims. Here's the problem, though. You have been given multiple opportunities to condemn Hamas. You've never done it.
RAUF: I have.
HANNITY: No. You were in a radio interview with Aaron Cline on my flagship station and you wouldn't do it.
RAUF: After that, I did.
HANNITY: After that?
RAUF: Yes. I did.
HANNITY: Why are you changing then? Because all of a sudden now you're changing?
RAUF: Well, look, again any -- any organization or any individual that targets civilians and kills them for political agenda is a terrorist --
HANNITY: Hamas is a terrorist organization?
RAUF: Yes, it is a terrorist organization.
HANNITY: And Hezbollah is a terrorist organization?