Fox News Network
July 19, 2007 Thursday
SHOW: FOX HANNITY & CO 9:00 PM EST
Interview With Kareem Shora, Michael Reagan
BYLINE: Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes
GUESTS: Kareem Shora, Michael Reagan
SECTION: NEWS; Domestic
LENGTH: 1693 words
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST (voice-over): Tonight on “Hannity & Colmes,” Democrats versus John Doe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was frightened. The other passengers, you know, started to become frightened.
HANNITY: Liberals could expose the brave passengers who reported the mysterious behavior of the flying imams. Will they pay a price for trying to protect America?
Fair and balanced. The Fairness Doctrine makes a comeback on Capitol Hill. Laura Ingraham has the details.
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: I heard a quote today from Senator Barack Obama. He said that we should have sex education in kindergarten.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: I don’t know what to tell him.
HANNITY: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney square off over sex education for little kids.
And girl fights. Meet a director under fire for filming girls brawling. All of that, plus congressional approval hits an all-time low. And — avert your eyes — nudists are on the loose in Vermont. “Hannity & Colmes” starts right here, right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And welcome to “Hannity & Colmes.” Thank you for being with us. I’m Sean Hannity.
We get right to our top story tonight. Democrats in Congress could punish brave Americans who reported the mysterious behavior of a group of imams on a plane last year. Now, the imams were removed from a U.S. Airways flight in Minnesota after passengers observed what was described as suspicious behavior. Now, we interviewed some of the passengers on “Hannity’s America” earlier this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These men just kept looking back and forth to each other and obviously wouldn’t sit down like they should have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were scaring people. That’s terrorism. It’s working.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now, the passengers asked us to conceal their identities because the Council on American-Islam Relations and the imams have threatened to sue the passengers for discrimination, along with the airlines. Now, earlier this year Congress passed legislation to protect these so-called John Doe passengers from civil retribution, but now the “Washington Times” reports that Democratic members of Congress may be seeking to overturn that legislation, exposing these conscientious Americans to potential lawsuits.
Joining us now, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Reagan and, from the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, we have Kareem Shora is with us.
Kareem, let me ask you a simple question. If people see suspicious behavior, don’t we want to encourage people to go to law enforcement, and tell them what they see, and then let them sort it out?
KAREEM SHORA, AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE: Sean, thanks for having me on again. Yes, absolutely. If you see suspicious behavior, you have to report it to law enforcement. It’s your duty, and you should do so.
HANNITY: OK. And in this particular case with the flying imams, we had multiple people. I actually have a whole list here that was filed with the police department. They were reporting behavior, for example, loud praying, “Allah, Allah, Allah” being screamed loudly, supportive words of Saddam Hussein, anti-American rhetoric, some reported, and also people requesting seatbelt extensions when they wouldn’t need them. Is there any reason they shouldn’t have reported that?
SHORA: I wasn’t there. You weren’t there, Sean. If that’s what you’re saying happened and if the people felt uncomfortable and they felt that the behavior was suspicious, they did report it to law enforcement. I think you should also go through the rest of this story of what happened when law enforcement did interview those imams. Let’s remember, the FBI interviewed those imams. And guess what? They were cleared. Am I correct or not?
HANNITY: Well, that’s — that’s true, but there’s a whole list of people that reported the same thing. So it wasn’t just passenger reporting suspicious behavior. There were a lot of passengers here. It seems to me like a reasonable thing to do in a post-9/11 world, but should we make it that those people, those whistleblowers, those conscientious citizens, should be able to do so without fear if they turn out being wrong that they would lose their homes potentially? Would you agree with that?
SHORA: Sean, extremists scare me. They scare me on both sides of the aisle. And when you become absolutist in your language and say, “You should provide absolute immunity,” that becomes scary, because let’s face it. When people do report those threats, a lot of times they happen to be false. But let me continue just one thought. If we continue to say, “You have absolutely immunity,” then we’re going to rely on people’s prejudice, are we not?
HANNITY: Well, perhaps, but also, what’s more important here? Do we believe, Michael Reagan, in First Amendment rights? In other words, if people perceive something to be dangerous, even though they may be wrong, don’t they have a right to say it? I would argue they have a responsibility if they perceive danger.
MICHAEL REAGAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I mean, Sean, we’ve been asked by our government to be responsible. We’ve been asked to be vigilant. We’ve been asked to keep our eyes open and to report suspicious activity when we see it. When you look at the imams, the fact that they were in the wrong seats, they were changing seats, asking for seatbelt extensions, and all the other things were suspicious activity, which these people, in fact, reported, they did what their government has asked them to do.
To come back at them and sue them and tell them they’re now going to be sued because they reported the suspicious activity — which, by the way, Kareem, when you co-authored the report a couple of years ago about wrong then, wrong now, racial profiling before and after 9/11, you talked about behavior, that, in fact, we should look at behavior.
REAGAN: That’s exactly what these people looked at on this point, and they report it, and they should not be sued for it.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Welcome back to our show, both of you.
SHORA: Accountability is the key, I think.
COLMES: What Democrat — Bennie G. Thompson in Mississippi initially opposed the provision we’re talking about. He’s the only Democratic name. Are there any other Democrats, Michael, you’re aware of that are against this? Because I didn’t find any.
REAGAN: Well, I will tell you, 304 members of Congress voted for that provision in that bill, the Public Transportation Security Act, back when…
COLMES: That’s a different bill, because it’s part of a different bill. That’s why they voted that way.
REAGAN: Before the Democrats took over. Nancy Pelosi today stripped out it in conference that immunity provision. That is absolutely outrageous!
COLMES: You’re talking about it being part of a different bill.
REAGAN: The fact that they report suspicious activity, they could be sued.
COLMES: You’re talking about being part of a different bill. That’s when the 304 — it was a general bill that they were against, not that provision.
REAGAN: The fact is, Nancy Pelosi today stripped a provision out in conference committee that would protect those few.
COLMES: Let me ask you, if you are a minority group and you feel you’re unfairly being targeted, as the imams felt they were, when all the truth came out, as Kareem has pointed out, it didn’t all square with what the press had reported about this, turned out that many of them did need the — there were people of girth who needed the extra seatbelts, for example, what recourse does a group or individual have if you are being unfairly targeted?
REAGAN: Alan, you go back to your liberal thinking. You go back to your liberal thinking. This is not about…
COLMES: Thank you for the liberal thinking, I appreciate it.
REAGAN: … how I feel. I feel this way, I feel that way. It’s about reality. These people reported suspicious behavior. Now, the imams were cleared. All right, they were cleared. But these people had a right to report suspicious activity.
COLMES: And I’m asking you…
REAGAN: They were not reported because they were Muslim; they were reported because of the activities and the behavior.
COLMES: Well, they were praising Allah. But they wouldn’t have been reported if they were praying to Jesus or praying to God.
COLMES: It was because they used the word “Allah” that got everybody upset.
REAGAN: Had they been in the right seats, had they been in the right seats, had they not asked for seatbelt extensions, had they not…
COLMES: Yes, because they were heavy, they needed seatbelt extensions.
HANNITY: No, they weren’t.
COLMES: Yes, they were.
HANNITY: They were not heavy.
COLMES: It turns out that they were. I interviewed a couple of the imams. And in fact, that’s what they did.
Kareem, I think of the press in many respects there have been conflicting reports about this stuff, but it seems to me that they did need the seatbelt extensions, they took their assigned seats. That’s where they were assigned. Go ahead.
SHORA: There was no doubt that there was some irresponsible behavior on the part of the press, but I think the discussion is that we can’t be absolutist in our decisions here. There is a concern that individuals — I see Sean’s point, and I see Alan’s point. There is a concern that people are going to be afraid to report to law enforcement for getting sued. But there’s also a concern that, if you become absolutist, then you’re going to end up relying on people’s prejudice.
HANNITY: I also thought we lived in an America where you do have free speech rights, I think the last time I checked.
SHORA: And the First Amendment freedom of religion, as well.
HANNITY: And you do, but people have free speech rights.
And coming up, my favorite topic makes a return to Capitol Hill. The Fairness Doctrine is again the subject of debate. Are Democrats getting closer to trying to silence people like me? Fellow talk show host Laura Ingraham will be here.
And it’s an ’08 face-off between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney over sex-ed for little kids. That’s right, kids in kindergarten. Do they really need to learn about sex at 4 or 5? Straight ahead.
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