Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Fox host wants to take away my rights

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
updated 2:39 PM EDT, Sat September 28, 2013
Fox's Bob Beckel, here with Sean Hannity, left, says American Muslims must denounce terrorism.
Fox's Bob Beckel, here with Sean Hannity, left, says American Muslims must denounce terrorism.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dean Obeidallah: Fox's Beckel said no new mosques in U.S. till Muslims denounce terrorists
  • Obeidallah: Does Beckel say these things to be Fox-like?
  • He says news flash: Kenya attacks about revenge against Kenyan government, not religion
  • Obeidallah: Fox doesn't have Muslim Americans on air to conflict with network's narrative

Editor's note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is a political comedian and frequent commentator on various TV networks including CNN. He is the co-director of the new comedy documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!" which was released this month. Follow him on Twitter @deanofcomedy.

(CNN) -- Fox News' Bob Beckel believes that I, as an American-Muslim, should have fewer constitutional rights simply because of my religious faith.

Beckel, the so-called "liberal" on Fox News, made this point on his show this week while discussing the horrific terror attack on the Kenyan shopping mall. Beckel opined that Muslims should not be allowed to build any more houses of worship in America, "until you stand up and denounce what's happened in the name of your prophet."

Sorry Bob, you're dead wrong. If you would take a moment to read our amazing U.S. Constitution, you would perhaps understand the rights we are all guaranteed as Americans, such as freedom of religion.

Dean Obeidallah
Dean Obeidallah

But when you hear Beckel speak, you get the sense he isn't a big fan of reading.

Let me address this to Beckel: I have never built a mosque, nor do I have plans to. But if I wanted to build one, I could build one right next to your house. In fact, I almost want to start a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com entitled: "Raise money to build a mega-mosque next to Bob Beckel's house."

This is not the first time Beckel has spewed this type of hateful garbage. This past July he demanded that Muslim-Americans be prohibited from building houses of worship, "until we find out who's a terrorist" within the U.S. Muslim community.

I'm curious: Does Beckel truly believes what he says about Muslims or is he simply giving the Fox News audience what it wants to hear? After all, a 2011 survey concluded, "that Americans who most trust Fox News are more likely to believe that Muslims want to establish Shari'a law, have not done enough to oppose extremism, and believe investigating Muslim extremism is a good idea."

Here's a news flash for Beckel: Just because a person claims to be a Muslim, doesn't mean his or her actions are based on the tenets of the faith, nor does it mean this person is an actual Muslim.

Bergen: Unlikely women were attackers
Nairobi mall: What went wrong?
Group accused of posting anti-Muslim ads

Just look at the Kenya shopping mall attack. The terrorists there didn't say they carried out their attack for religious reasons. No, they made it clear the attack was revenge for the Kenyan government sending its troops to fight them in Somalia.

So let's get to the crux of the issue: Should American-Muslims be required to denounce terrorist attacks perpetrated by so-called Muslims who commit horrible acts on other parts of the planet? Well, let's ask Ronald Reagan: "We must reject the idea that every (time) a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."

Still, American Muslim leaders and organizations have consistently denounced terror attacks committed by Muslims -- including the recent Kenya attack. And not only did American Muslims denounce this recent incident, so did Muslim leaders in Kenya as well as the president of Somalia -- a Muslim.

How could Bob Beckel not be aware of these facts? Maybe he hasn't figured out how to use Google yet? Or maybe he simply doesn't care about accuracy -- or both?

And why would Beckel and his Fox News show have a discussion about Muslims without inviting at least one on? Do they not know even one American Muslim?

Or is the reason more sinister? Does Fox News not want a Muslim-American on air to denounce the terror acts and present an American face of the faith because it undermines the narrative they have crafted about Muslims over the past few years?

You will have to answer that. But I can tell you this: I personally wanted to get on Beckel's Fox News show to answer their questions and discuss a recently released comedy documentary I co-directed, "The Muslims Are Coming!" This film addresses the very point they are raising and uses comedy to dispel misconceptions about Muslims. But they said "no."

So I will say it here: I absolutely despise the terrorists who kill innocent people -- be they Muslim or any other faith for that matter. They use the name of religion to justify an immoral and inhumane act. And the ones who claim to be Muslim are not--they are simply murderers.

I still hold out hope that one day Fox News will invite more American Muslims on its network so that their audience can hear from Muslims first hand. My concern, though, is that day will only come when Fox News has moved on to demonizing another minority group for ratings.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dean Obeidallah.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
You could be forgiven for thinking no one cares -- or even should care, right now -- about climate change, writes CNN's John Sutter. But you'd be mistaken.
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
David Gergen says the White House's war against ISIS is getting off to a rough start and needs to be set right
updated 9:00 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
updated 3:17 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says making rude use of the Mexican flag on Mexican independence day in a concert in Mexico was extremely tasteless, but not an international incident.
updated 9:59 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Michael Dunn is going to stand trial again after a jury was unable to reach a verdict; Mark O'Mara hopes for a fair trial.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
updated 5:47 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
updated 3:27 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Laurence Steinberg says the high obesity rate among young children is worrisome for a host of reasons
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
updated 11:44 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
updated 11:01 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
updated 8:34 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT