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 12:50 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT