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 9:42 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
updated 8:12 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
updated 12:09 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
updated 4:34 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
updated 2:51 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
updated 4:13 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
updated 7:55 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
updated 12:34 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
updated 8:42 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
updated 12:40 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
updated 11:00 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The Internet is an online extension of our own neighborhoods. It's time for us to take their protection just as seriously, says Arun Vishwanath.
updated 4:54 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says we must speak out for the right of children to education -- and peace
updated 5:23 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Russia's economic woes just seem to be getting worse. How will President Vladimir Putin respond? Frida Ghitis gives her take.
updated 1:39 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Australia has generally seen itself as detached from the threat of terrorism. The hostage incident this week may change that, writes Max Barry.
updated 3:20 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Thomas Maier says the trove of letters the Kennedy family has tried to guard from public view gives insight into the Kennedy legacy and the history of era.
updated 9:56 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
Will Congress reform the CIA? It's probably best not to expect much from Washington. This is not the 1970s, and the chances for substantive reform are not good.
updated 4:01 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
From superstorms to droughts, not a week goes by without a major disruption somewhere in the U.S. But with the right planning, natural disasters don't have to be devastating.
updated 9:53 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
Would you rather be sexy or smart? Carol Costello says she hates this dumb question.
updated 5:53 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
A story about Pope Francis allegedly saying animals can go to heaven went viral late last week. The problem is that it wasn't true. Heidi Schlumpf looks at the discussion.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
Democratic leaders should wake up to the reality that the party's path to electoral power runs through the streets, where part of the party's base has been marching for months, says Errol Louis
updated 4:23 PM EST, Sat December 13, 2014
David Gergen: John Brennan deserves a national salute for his efforts to put the report about the CIA in perspective
updated 9:26 AM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Anwar Sanders says that in some ways, cops and protesters are on the same side
updated 9:39 AM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
A view by Samir Naji, a Yemeni who was accused of serving in Osama bin Laden's security detail and imprisoned for nearly 13 years without charge in Guantanamo Bay
updated 12:38 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
S.E. Cupp asks: How much reality do you really want in your escapist TV fare?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT