This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 20, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison is just one of two Muslim-Americans serving in Congress. Now, since taking office, he has had his fair share of controversy. And last year while outrage was spreading all across the country over the proposed Ground Zero mosque, Congressman Ellison made an outrageous comparison and he even lashed out at Fox News.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP FROM BBC RADIO, SEPT. 6, 2010)
REP. KEITH ELLISON, D-MINN.: In 1955, you know, we declared that Rosa Parks, a black woman, who had the right to sit anywhere on the bus she chose to. Now, some people might say, well, you know, Mrs. Parks, you are making people feel uncomfortable, the good citizens of Montgomery don't feel comfortable with somebody like you sitting near them. So, why don't you just go to the back even though you have the right to sit up front?
Now, you know, hopefully from a 2010 perspective, we would all, you know, be shocked at such an attitude. But that is exactly the attitude that is being expressed regarding this project.
You know, you listen to Fox News, that station is 24/7 trying to excite and divide Americans along religious lines scapegoating the Muslim community. But, you know, and this is sort of a well-worn right-wing tactic.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now more recently Congressman Ellison's testimony during the hearing on the radicalization of Muslims in America caused a stir with when he told the story of a Muslim-American paramedic who died on 9/11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MARCH 10)
ELLISON: Mr. Hamdani has bravely sacrificed his life to try to help others on 9/11. After the tragedy some people tried to smear his character solely because of his Islamic faith. Some people spread false rumors and speculated that he was in league with the attackers because he with was a Muslim. But it was only when his remains were identified that these lies were exposed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And I sat down with the congressman to discuss these comments and much more.
(BEING VIDEO CLIP)
Congressman, welcome to the program. Your first time.
ELLISON: Glad to be here, Sean.
HANNITY: All right. I want to go back. There's been a lot of issues. And I've followed a lot of the statements that -- you've made a lot of controversial statements since you've been congressman. Let me give you one example, you said for example, you were calling the New York City mosque foes or opponents of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf bigots and birthers, and you made a comparison to Rosa Parks. Can you give us some details as to why?
ELLISON: Well, I'm not sure what you are referring to. But I will say that many -- some of the opponents of Park 51 in fact, did say some things that I thought were intolerant. And that I'm one who believes in religious tolerance in our country. And I believe that people of all colors, all faiths and all backgrounds ought to be able to pursue their first amendment rights and their right to freedom of expression.
But, the fact is Sean, many of the people who opposed the Park 51 were people who did that on the basis of good faith, some weren't. And I called them out on it.
HANNITY: Well, you actually called out Fox News, you said, in a BBC interview, you said that I think if you listen to Fox News, the station 24/7 is trying to insight and divide Americans along religious lines, scapegoating the Muslim community. And this is a sort of well-warned right-wing tactic. Can you give me your specific example?
ELLISON: Well, you know, Sean, I tell you, you know, you do the show, you know what you guys broadcast all the time. I mean, I stand by the statement. I will say this Sean, that, you know, look, I came on your show because you invited me here to talk about the issues. And perhaps, this is a moment when we can really delve down into the substantive issues that we either agree or disagree on.
But, you know, to dive into a bunch of quotes about you said this about us and explain why you said it, I mean I have had disagreements with some of your reporting Sean. And I don't apologize for it.
HANNITY: Alright. Congressman, but in fairness, though --
ELLISON: Hang on. But I am straight up enough to come on your show, to talk about the issues, to try to talk them through. Now, if you are telling me that you guys are going to try to be a little bit more even-handed when it comes to dealing with issues of religious tolerance, I welcome that. I'm for that. I think that's actually a good step. And I thought that by inviting me here, that's what you were trying to do. But I didn't really come on the show to get in a big debate with you about every quote I've ever made.
HANNITY: Congressman, you said about this network, this is an incredible charge, this is a charge of bigotry. You said Fox News --
ELLISON: Sean, I heard with what you said.
HANNITY: Wait, wait, wait, I'll give you a time uninterrupted. I'll give you a time uninterrupted. Don't interrupt. I'm going to quote you.
ELLISON: Sean. Sean.
HANNITY: You said Fox News 24/7.
ELLISON: No matter how many times you repeat it --
HANNITY: -- is trying to insight and divide Americans along religious lines, scapegoating the Muslim community. I want one example, give me one.
ELLISON: Sean, I think -- I think -- one example is that after the hearings that Peter King did, you referred to -- you talk about every time you talk about terrorism and radicalization, you always attach the word Muslim to it or Islamic. And that particular connection, I think that's unfair. I mean, I think that terrorism is --
HANNITY: That's unfair?
ELLISON: -- all Americans. No, let me finish, because you asked me now that I'll answer you. I think that terrorism is a scourge. It is something that all Americans are against. We all stand against Al Qaeda. But when you only associate radical and violent extremism with one religious group, I think that's too bad and I think it's unfortunate.
ELLISON: So, there's your one example, Sean.
HANNITY: And the 9/11 commission report says that they were, meaning radical Islamists, those that are involved in Jihad, those that kill in the name of Allah, those that think 72 virgins await them in heaven, those that have perverted a religion, radical Islamists, they said --
ELLISON: I am against those people. I stand against those individuals.
HANNITY: They are at war with us and we are not at war with them. So, my question to you is, are we at war with radical Islam?
ELLISON: Those people are -- we are at war with violent extremists who would kill Americans and some of them people might be Muslim, they might be white supremacists, they might be people who would kill at abortion clinics. They might be of any description.