Dear Sean Hannity: Allahu Akbar is in the Catholic Catechism

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Sean Hannity manages to combine being sneaky with being a bully. You think of a bully as maybe too straightforward, someone who hulks over others glaring and tries to impose his will on them. It is the 89 pound weakling we think of as sneaky, going behind our backs or depending on slander to manipulate people because he is physically unprepossessing. But Hannity, who has the most bull-like neck on television (any television, anywhere in the world, including channels that specialize in showing, like, bulls) is also a sly trickster, demonstrating the smallness of his soul. He is sort of like one of those medieval gryphons, half snake and half vulture.

And so Hannity went up against a great-souled journalist, Jake Tapper, a man of genuine integrity and one of the best things about CNN.

First, the despicable Fox Cable “News” (the original Fake News that Russia Today and Sputnik only imitated) attacked Tapper in a now-deleted tweet:

“@CNN ‘s Jake Tapper Says ‘Allahu Akbar’ Is ‘Beautiful’ Right After NYC Terror Attack.”

(Allahu Akbar is Arabic for God is Great, literally “the Greatest.”)

Tapper had been contextualizing the New York mini-bus-driver-terrorist, who used the phrase, by pointing out that it isn’t primarily a militant saying.

Tapper replied:

What Tapper had said was that Muslims use the phrase “God is great” in celebratory circumstances such as weddings or the birth of a child.

This is true. Here, for instance is a greeting card for the Feast of Sacrifice or Eid al-Adha, commemorating the sparing of Abraham’s son by God, a moment also commemorated in sermons at worshipful gatherings in Judaism and Christianity, even if they don’t give it its own feast day. On this day, Muslims gather with family and friends, make the rounds, share food, and generally have a joyous and quite peaceful time of it. I remember in Lebanon Muslim friends involving Christians in the festivities in homes.

Remember, Allahu Akbar just means “God is Great:”


h/t Seattle Globalist

But Sean Hannity, being both a bully and sneaky, would not let it go even after Fox (afraid of another multi-million dollar libel or harassment suit) deleted the tweet.

He said that the liberal media were “having a hard time” understanding terrorists. Then he attacked “liberal fake news CNN’s fake Jake Tapper” as having alleged that “Allahu Akbar” can be used in “beautiful circumstances.”

Hannity observed: “Tapper has since been levying multiple attacks on the Fox News channel report in the comments in context that you just listened to . . . Hey Jake, maybe that’s why you have low ratings . . . Tell your audience the truth.”

Hannity does have good ratings (though that is a low bar on basic cable). But even better ratings have been won by “American Ninja Warrior”, “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” and “Food Fighters,” all of which have far more serious policy substance as well as entertainment value than Hannity.

So if “God is Great” is such a horrific thing to say under all circumstances, Mr. Hannity, why do Jews and Christians say it? Indeed, why is it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

Under the rubric “IV. THE IMPLICATIONS OF FAITH IN ONE GOD” and quoting Job 36:26, the Catechism says:

223 It means coming to know God’s greatness and majesty: “Behold, God is great, and we know him not.” [Job 36:26] Therefore, we must “serve God first”

Then elsewhere in the Bible, just for instance, there is Psalms 95:3 (KJV)– “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.”

Or there is Titus 2:13 from the NT: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God (ho megalos Theos) and our Saviour Jesus Christ. . .”

Ho Megalos Theos in Greek, “the Great God” is about as close as you could get to a translation of the Arabic Allahu Akbar.

As for the misuse of such religious language, Mr. Hannity might remember that when Pope Urban II declared the first Crusade, Christians used “Deus Vult” (God wants it!) as a battle cry. They later sacked Constantinople and slit the throats of the Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem shouting “God wants it thus!”

In the Bible’s book of Judges, the war cry is ““The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” The sword of the Lord is more militant than God is great, and there it is in the Bible as a war cry, uttered by men killing others, often (in the Old Testament) in aggressive warfare.

Iberian Catholic warriors attacking West Africans or Brazilians would shout “Santiago and have at them!” This was an invocation of St. James, which, you know, is pretty religious. They said this while slaughtering Mexicans, Ghanaians, Arabs and Berbers, whom they ultimately either killed or ethnically cleansed or forcibly converted. Catholic Westerners. Sometimes they cried “St. George,” instead.

All religious language can be misused. To demonize a pious phrase like “God is Great,” woven, as Jake Tapper says, throughout the joyful moments of everyday Muslim life, just because it is also pronounced by a fringe of evil persons, is just bigotry.

But then without bigotry Sean Hannity would be nobody. He is only known and paid millions of dollars by the ogre Rupert Murdoch because he is a one man bigotry machine.

26 Responses

  1. Sean Hannity consistently shows his ignorance, the inability to fully comprehend common sense, and disregards facts that are easily within his grasp, if he bothered to reach out and verify them. As long as he can spew his talking points, he will continue to make his viewers dumber, and have more hatred for “the other side”. A sorry excuse for a so called “journalist”.
    We have an ignorant President that gets his divisive information from the Fox Swamp, and we know that Trump is wrong most of the time. Enough said.

  2. If the object of terrorism is to create dread (terror) among the target population, I think it’s fair to say the New York truck-killer was a complete failure. I for one feel far less fear of a truck and “Allahu akbar!” than a gun and “Yee-ha!”

  3. God is simply the Reality that encompasses and permeates all other realities.

    So that Reality is greater than all other realities.

    So the phrase, “God is great/greatest,” is simply an acknowledgement of that and to show humility towards that Reality by recognizing one’s smallness compared to that Reality.

    That the terrorists utter this when committing their evil acts does not change its positive and humbling meaning, which the Muslims acknowledge throughout the day in a peaceful and spiritual manner — something many, many non-Muslims also do in their own ways.

  4. Good post and interesting. I’m curious, what is the actual Spanish phrase they shouted for “Santiago, have at them!”

  5. The unrequited man-love lavished onto Donald Trump by Sean Hannity is disturbing to see but not without reason$$.

    Sean Hannity has a religious education from a now defunct Catholic seminary. He dropped out of college.

    link to

    Neither Trump or Hannity have an actual education, neither are qualified for their jobs, both are charismatic narcissists and egomaniacs as clearly demonstrated in their recent lovefest interview.

    link to

    Trump or Hannity are living proof that open BIGOTRY from high places in the U.S. is rewarded handsomely.

    • There is no qualification for being the president of the USA any more than there is any qualification for being a politician. You need lots of money and the MSM on your side, although ironically the media being so against Trump gave him undreamed of media exposure at no cost to him whatever.

      • “There is no qualification for being the president of the USA” – other than being LEGALLY ELECTED.

        There is a definite problem with that qualification of late.

    • “Neither Trump or Hannity have an actual education”

      Trump graduated from UPenn (Wharton School of Business).

      • Does anyone really believe he passed his own history, English, language, or science courses?
        It would not only have been easy during the 1960’s for Donnie to pay others to take his tests and write his papers, it would have been the only way for a doofus like Trump to graduate..

      • Can you see a shred of an education in Trump’s actual behavior? It has always been very easy for the wealthy and connected to buy credentials from leading schools in the U.S., all the “student” has to do is be there.

        Trump behaves and communicates like a NY crime boss he does business with rather than a college graduate. He may have a degree but UPenn should be ashamed of the sad result.

        • getoffmedz, money and connections alone are not enough to graduate from elite American universities. Intelligence and hard work are also needed. Money and connections indirectly help with admission to elite universities, but not with graduation from them.

          Trump I think tries to talk and behave similar to what Trump thinks might be a typical Trump voter.

        • anan – “Intelligence and hard work are also needed.” And can be acquired on campus for a price if needed.

          How many “typical Trump voters’ . . do you know?

  6. Even were this man sat down and read your limpid clarification it would make no difference. Such as Hannity are not interested in facts. If you want facts go to Wikipedia. Nor is his audience interested in them, facts are yawnsome. They want snippets to ooh and ah at, to comfort their prejudices; what used to be passed across a garden fence or whispered in more decorous environments, good old gossip. It doesn’t matter that it’s false, it’s detached from exactitude, it performs a purely emotional function, and it to try to counter it with reason is like arguing with a piece of furniture. We here can enjoy and benefit from your offering but it’s wasted on him.

  7. It doesn’t even have to be a major event. It’s like said literally every day, at least 5 times, by most practicing orthodox Muslims in the Azan, the call to prayers, and the actual prayers themselves. The few radical religious extremists defame Muslims and Islam, but unfortunately useful bigoted idiots like Hannity take the bait to hate on all.

    I am just surprised with how blatantly extreme right-wing Faux network can get away with such deliberate misinformation and propaganda attacks. Their non-reporting and blame deflection of the Trump Russian investigation was incredibly telling on how they operate as an incredibly biased ideological and political machine for one party.

    There really needs to be anti-defamation and libel lawsuits against them besides a progressive change in laws on corporate media reporting (unfortunately, any attempt in change by the Trump administration will be far more regressive and draconian).

    A couple of links to Alternet, which is now under threat in being demoted in Google searches for being ‘fake news’ i.e. liberal and independent, rather than the factual merit of their content. This would also affect the Professor’s articles not getting as much exposure too which time to time get posted there.

    What the Corporate News Industry Won’t Ever Tell Its Audience
    link to

    Editorial: Google’s Threat to Democracy Hits AlterNet Hard
    link to

  8. There is a World War II anecdote about a U.S. battleship trying to down Japanese aircraft at Peal Harbor in 1941. When there were not enough men to man the canons, a chaplain began to aid the canon loaders, saying, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”

    In 1942, a song by Kay Kaiser and his orchestra based on the chaplain’s cry become a pop song hit .

    That is not very far from the use of Allahu akbar by a terrorist celebrating his actions.

  9. It used to be understood by all that you don’t yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, and not just because there was a law against it. People could get hurt, even die.

    There used to be a phrase—“agent provocateur”–that described antisocial, socially treasonous people. I looked that up just now to get the spelling right. The first Google hits were about a lingerie company.

    Times have changed. Now those agents are mainstream media ‘news’, funded by people who want minds changed, even if people are hurt.

  10. What a insightful post, Juan. I fear that conservatives like Sean Hannity just don’t care about facts. They prefer Alternative Facts. In many news websites in the comments section I gave out statistics that showed Right-Wing terrorism to be much more rampant than Islamist or Left-Wing terrorism. The responses? Positive from rational people but very negative ones from conservatives. They didn’t even attack the data but threw racist and personal attacks on me. My point? Conservatives hate thinking too much hence the existence of Fox News.

    • Stu in UW – The last sentence, you may have it backwards? Many Conservatives were a lot more reasonable before FAUXNews launched in 1996. Today it is delivered to ≤95M basic cable subscribers, free.

      Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh and FAUXNews are all concurrent anomalies gaining media traction during the 90s era with great effect.

      The effect? A continuous barrage of h8, irrelevance and arrogance. Conditioning worthy of study.

    • Allahu `Azim, which is synonymous with Allahu Akbar. Since the translations were done after the rise of Islam there is anxiety of influence…

  11. I don’t think Sean Hannity is intelligent. I have seen him host anti islamist muslim guests who are more anti Al Qaeda and anti ISIS than Sean is. When the guest goes on a diatribe against islamists; Sean doesn’t seem to understand what is going on. Rather he interrupts the guest and insults the guest. Sean Hannity often comes across as pro Islamist in the process.

    Maybe we should pray to God (Allah) that God increases Sean Hannity’s intelligence. Maybe we should have compassion for Sean Hannity and how hard it must be for Sean Hannity to survive in life with low intelligence.

  12. Sean Hannity has no idea how to combat terror. He and his fellow travelers are stellar at farming it.

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