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Hannity

Holy War on Horizon in Middle East?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," January 3, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And it looks like another modern day holy war could be brewing in the Middle East after a deadly New Year's Day suicide bombing of a Christian church in Alexandria, Egypt. Now the bombing left 21 people dead and 80 others injured. Local police are still trying to find those responsible for the deadly attack.

Hours after the bombing anger erupted among the country's Christian community over the government's failure to protect Christians from years of discrimination and violence. Thousands took to the streets of Cairo and clashed with riot police demanding justice for the bombing.

While no one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, this attack comes in the wake of repeated threats by Al Qaeda to attack Christians throughout the Middle East. President Obama condemned the bombing saying, quote, "the perpetrators of this attack were clearly targeting Christian worshippers and have no respect for human life and dignity.

And joining me now with reaction from the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies is Cliff May. Cliff, welcome back.

CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: Good to see you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, as we look at what happened here and you look at the reaction. Is it valid inasmuch as, this has been such an ongoing problem?

MAY: Yes. In your intro you said that holy war is brewing, it is not brewing it is taking place. It has been taking place for years. Christians and by the way, other religious and ethnic minorities are being not just discriminated against but persecuted in Egypt and throughout the broader Middle East.

There were bombings not just in Egypt although that was the worst with 21 killed. Christians attacked in recent days Iraq, of course, and in the Philippines and in Nigeria, in Pakistan and other places. I think that the religious and ethnic cleansing of the places.

In fact, I think that the religious and ethnic cleansing of the broader Middle East is probably the biggest story that most journalists are ignoring and most politicians are not talking about.

HANNITY: Well, let me stay on that point because these attacks have attracted very little media attention and there's been numerous ones as you point out and this has been an ongoing problem. It seems to me that, you know, would it be a different reaction from the media if this was a mosque?

MAY: Can you imagine? Can you imagine if some Christian terrorist group or some Jewish or Hindu group had burned done a mosque or sent in in a suicide bomber and kill 21, can you imagine?

Look, all you have to do is think about the response to the Danish cartoons that depicted in a satirical way Mohammed or on any of the number other such insults going on. Recently you had in Denmark you had various terrorists who attempted to attack the newspaper that did all these years after and they were being indicted for this. Yes, it is a total double standard.

HANNITY: You're both basically saying that there is religious and ethnic cleaning going in the Muslim world?

MAY: I am saying it is going on across the Muslim world and you can think of the different groups. The persecution of the Baha'i in Iran, the Darfurians who are black Muslims in Sudan by Islamists and Arab government there. Christians have been forced out of Gaza. Christians are under attack terribly by Al Qaeda and affiliated groups that's who probably did it here in Egypt.

In Iraq, Christian churches are being bombed on a regular basis I'm afraid in Pakistan. The Kurds, I was in Kurdistan not that long ago -- Iraqi Kurdistan -- what they say is that they're very worried that there is this cleansing that there nobody left in the broader Middle East, but Muslims.

And there'll be three dominant ethnic groups Turks, Persians and Arabs and everybody else will be forced out or killed or cleansed.

HANNITY: So we've had in recent days, this attack, Iraq, we've had the Philippines, I believe, Nigeria, Pakistan, and then we have a number of Christians that have been given the death penalty for practicing their faith in countries like Iran. Where is the worldwide condemnation? Again, we go back to a double standard here.

MAY: Total double standard. I mean, you cannot have a Christian church in Saudi Arabia and even in Egypt, our ally which gets a lot of foreign aid and we are increasing it in 2011, Christians cannot build or repair their churches without specific government approval.

The Christians are supposed to be protected in this season. We believe to be the case from eyewitnesses, is that the government forces, security forces that were to protect them, left one hour before the bombing.

HANNITY: You brought up Saudi Arabia, you can't build a Christian church there. Looking at this story through the prism of the 9/11 mosque issue, you know, and I say, all right how about building a Christian church in Mecca?

It is almost with disdain and charges of anti-Muslim bigotry, that I would dare to make such a statement that there ought to be some reciprocity that you can't argue on the one hand we ought to have a Ground Zero mosque, but not a Christian church or Jewish temple in Saudi Arabia?

MAY: Exactly right and we are putting no pressure on these countries, any of them, to begin to show tolerance and open up their systems. There is something called the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It's the most powerful international organization most people have never heard of.

It's based in Saudi Arabia, it has 57 members, most of them Muslim majority some not even Muslim majority. We have an ambassador to the OIC and that ambassador is not doing what I think he should be doing, which is putting on pressure to open up.

You should be hearing from the OIC right now as well as from people like me that this is terrible what just happened in Egypt. Instead they are trying to pass the U.N. anti-blasphemy laws that would prohibit people from insulting Islam and we are not protesting that.

HANNITY: Do you think we are headed for a modern day religious war in the Middle East?

MAY: The war that is being fought now, the great global conflict in the world from Iraq to Afghanistan to Gaza, this is one war and it is a religious war not because we want it to be. But because Al Qaeda and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and various other radicals, they say it is a religious war. That's what a jihad means.

It is they say they are waging a Jihad against the West, against Christians, against Jews, against Hindus. We have the Mumbai attacks. This is all part of one great global conflict. Until we understand that, we can't have a strategy to combat it.

HANNITY: People forget jihad equals holy war, Cliff May.

MAY: Exactly so.

HANNITY: Good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

MAY: Thanks, Sean.

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