On a segment of his Fox News show last night dedicated to hurling false attacks at Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Sean Hannity got all huffy when guest David Lane admitted he was "no expert" on Sharia law. "If you don't know about Sharia law, then frankly, I don't even think you're qualified to comment on the issue." Hannity then added, "Let me educate you because, obviously, you need an education."
Hannity's "education," however, showed that he knows even less about Sharia law than his guests.
Hannity rattled off his definition of Sharia: "Where women get stoned to death for adultery, where women who are raped need four male eyewitnesses, where women are forced to wear clothing that they may not necessarily want to wear, where women can't drive, where women can't get an education." The implication was that Rauf agrees with such Draconian treatment.
Except, of course, that Rauf doesn't. Hannity selectively quoted from a Huffington Post column by Rauf, omitting that Rauf criticized such punishments -- and, more importantly, ignoring that Rauf drew a line between Sharia and various penal codes. Rauf wrote that "we cringe" at interpretations of Sharia law that lead to "women being stoned and forced into hiding behind burkas and denied educations" and "beheadings and amputations." He also made a distinction between Sharia and the "penal code," adding that Muslim countries must "revise the penal code so that it is responsive to modern realities."
This attitude also appears in Rauf's book Islam, A Sacred Law, in which he highlights the case of a caliph who lightened a severe penalty for fornication because it became counterproductive. Rauf pointed out that the caliph's decision was "sensible," adding, "I often wonder, if all Muslims nowadays were to exercise 'sensibility,' what an easier time we would have!"
One of the Rauf statements Hannity selectively quoted was, "Rather than fear Shariah law, we should understand what it actually is." As long as he can demagogue the issue, Hannity has no intention of trying to understand.