State Department Knew of Imam's Radical Remarks

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 25, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The rhetoric of the man behind the Ground Zero mosque is getting more and more radical by the day. In some newly uncovered audio, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is overheard actually comparing the United States of America to Al Qaeda.


IMAM FEISAL ABDUL RAUF, ASMA FOUNDER AND CEO: We tend to forget in the West that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than Al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non- Muslims. You may remember that the U.S.-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children.


HANNITY: All right, despite comments like the one you just heard, Rauf is currently on a taxpayer funded trip overseas thanks to your State Department. And believe it or not, the Obama administration now says it was aware of such statements before tasking him with this mission.


P.J. CROWLEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We are aware of those remarks. I would caution any of you that choose to write on this that once again you have a case where a blogger has pulled out, you know, one passage from a very lengthy speech.

If you read the entire speech, you know, you will discover exactly why we think he is rightfully participating in this international speaking tour.


HANNITY: All right, so the administration is standing by its claim that this imam is a, quote, "moderate Muslim cleric" and if that's the case the radicals just got a whole lot scarier.

Here with reaction is former Arkansas governor, host of "The Mike Huckabee Show", Mike -- it's not "The Mike Huckabee Show" although you're hosting that, too.

MIKE HUCKABEE, HOST OF "HUCKABEE": Yes. "The Huckabee Show" in daytime, it's "Huckabee" on the weekend. Really original names, you know.



HANNITY: We like that.


HANNITY: All right. Well, first of all, look. He said America was an accessory to 9/11. Said Usama bin Laden is made in the USA.


HANNITY: He wouldn't condemn Hamas. Says America should be Sharia compliant. Then this new tape comes out that in the West the United States has more blood on its hands that Al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.

Now I don't know -- and we're paying for this guy to go to the Middle East.

HUCKABEE: That's to me the ultimate insult to all of us as taxpayers. Here we are we're bailing out bank and insurance companies and now we're bailing out imams who are basically discrediting the United States and the reason that we engaged in the Middle East.

We didn't engage in the Middle East because we were bloodthirsty. We engaged in order to contain the people who murdered 3,000 people on 9/11.

HANNITY: Why would -- how is it possible that P.J. Crowley, the State Department, the Obama administration can even fathom the case that he's moderate? Where does this come from? Where is the moderation in this guy?

I think he represents the radicalism that I find frightening.

HUCKABEE: Well, it's -- it's not frightening. I don't think that he poses personally a threat to our safety. But his point of view poses a threat for this reason.


HUCKABEE: It accommodates, it fuels the fire. When he's able to come and make those kind of statements on American television and then the taxpayer fund him to go?

I read Al-Jazeera's website tonight, Sean. It's interesting because they're --

HANNITY: They're not fans of mine.

HUCKABEE: Well, they're not fans of mine and I'm not a fan of theirs. But the interesting thing about Al-Jazeera, it's a great example -- if you read the English language version of it -- of how they're trumpeting that the United States is really behind the mosque at Ground Zero. They believe in the imam.

And the -- that the president himself is standing with this. Only a handful of radical nut cases like you and me --


HUCKABEE: -- that think that it's a bad idea.

HANNITY: But the polls show just the opposite here in terms of this. What I mean by he scares me, wanting America to be Sharia compliant -- look. I think this is a litmus test. If you can't condemn Hamas for the terror organization that they are within its charter calling for the destruction of Israel, that tells me -- well, you want to get funding from Iran, I can add another piece of the equation.

You know that is the modern day version of 1932 inasmuch as this, Hamas and Ahmadinejad in Iran want to annihilate Israel. That is their stated goal. So why wouldn't you condemn what would be, you know, a modern day massacre?

HUCKABEE: And especially if you're all about bringing peace and understanding.

HANNITY: Exactly.

HUCKABEE: You know, I don't believe that for a minute. I believe that if peace and understanding are the goals of this imam then he would hold a press conference and say in the interest of peace and understanding we don't want to put a finger in the eye of the people of New York and the people of America by locating this mosque/Islamic center right in the heart of people's feelings. And we're going to move it. We're going to just put it somewhere else.

The other thing we ought to know is, who is paying for it? Where is the money coming from? Nancy Pelosi is more interested in who's funding the dissidents.

HANNITY: She wants to investigate you and investigate me and then --

HUCKABEE: Let her go ahead.

HANNITY: Listen. I'm sure we probably have been and just don't know about it.

It's not just the imam but his wife has now weighed in on this debate. And her statement was this is beyond Islamophobia.

HUCKABEE: She says --

HANNITY: She said the hatred of Muslims.

HUCKABEE: Absolutely. She said that Americans hate Muslims. Sean, Americans don't hate Muslims. I'm amazed in how many ways in which we accommodate people of the Islamic faith.

HANNITY: Islamic faith.

HUCKABEE: But what I think a lot of Americans are tired of is that we are accommodating Muslims, but at the same time we're telling the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that they're not going to be able to build and they were in fact destroyed.

We have a judge over in New Jersey who recently, in a civil case, in a divorce case, ruled that a --

HANNITY: Sharia law.

HUCKABEE: Young lady that was 17 and was being raped -- sexually assaulted by her husband.

HANNITY: That he was practicing his religious views.

HUCKABEE: And he had a right to do that. Now that's been overturned since. Thank God.

HANNITY: Yes. That was overturned. Yes.

HUCKABEE: But the fact that it even came up, why would any U.S. judge ever --

HANNITY: But Europe became Sharia compliant and they're now moving against it. We saw in France and in Belgium the move to ban burqas in large part because of what has happened as a result of their so-called European tolerance.

HUCKABEE: There is a growing sense among the Europeans that they made a big mistake by acting like we're going to be so politically correct and so accommodating that they're losing their own culture.

We really don't want that to happen in the United States. Is there room for people of the Muslim faith? Absolutely, but they also have make room to accommodate the fact that not everybody believes --particularly this imam and his radical views -- have a place in our culture to be supported by taxpayers.

HANNITY: This is going to be a huge campaign issue, huge, in my view.

HUCKABEE: Absolutely, it's going to be.

HANNITY: Governor, good to see you. We'll be watching you this weekend and thank you.

HUCKABEE: Great to see you.

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