Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Fox host wants to take away my rights

By Dean Obeidallah, Special to CNN
September 28, 2013 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
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
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1642 GMT (0042 HKT)
Rick McGahey says Rep. Paul Ryan is signaling his presidential ambitions by appealing to hard core Republican values
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Paul Saffo says current Google Glasses are doomed to become eBay collectibles, but they are only the leading edge of a surge in wearable tech that will change our lives
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Kathleen Blee says the KKK and white power or neo-Nazi groups give haters the purpose and urgency to use violence.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Henry Waxman say read deep, and you'll see the federal Keystone pipeline report spells out the pipeline is bad news
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says President Obama needs to stop making empty threats against Russia and consider other options
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say the Kansas Jewish Center killings are part of a string of lethal violence in the U.S. that outstrips al Qaeda-influenced attacks. Why don't we pay more attention?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says families of the passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 need legal counsel
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
David Frum says Russia is on a rampage of mischief while Western leaders and Western alliances charged with keeping the peace hem and haw
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
David Wheeler says as middle-class careers continue to disappear, we need a monthly cash payment to everyone
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Democrats need to show more political spine when it comes to the issue of taxes.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Donna Brazile recalls the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act as four presidents honored the heroes of the movement and Lyndon Johnson, who signed the law
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Elmer Smith remembers Chuck Stone, the legendary journalist from Philadelphia who was known as a thorn in the side of police and an advocate for the little guy
April 13, 2014 -- Updated 1856 GMT (0256 HKT)
Al Franken says Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider, wants to acquire Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable provider. Should we be concerned?
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
Philip Cook and Kristin Goss says the Pennsylvania stabbing attack, which caused grave injury -- but not death, carries a lesson on guns for policymakers
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1906 GMT (0306 HKT)
Wikipedia lists 105 football movies, but all too many of them are forgettable, writes Mike Downey
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
John Sutter and hundreds of iReporters set out to run marathons after the bombings -- and learned a lot about the culture of running
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Timothy Stanley says it was cowardly to withdraw the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The university should have done its homework on her narrow views and not made the offer
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Al Awlaki
Almost three years after his death in a 2011 CIA drone strike in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki continues to inspire violent jihadist extremists in the U.S, writes Peter Bergen
April 12, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
David Bianculli says Colbert is a smart, funny interviewer, but ditching his blowhard persona to take over the mainstream late-night role may cost him fans
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1731 GMT (0131 HKT)
Rep. Paul Ryan says the Republican budget places its trust in the people, not in Washington
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
Aaron David Miller says Obama isn't to blame for Kerry's lack of progress in resolving Mideast talks
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
David Weinberger says beyond focusing on the horrors of the attack a year ago, it's worth remembering the lessons it taught about strength, the dangers of idle speculation and Boston's solidarity
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
Katherine Newman says the motive for the school stabbing attack in Pennsylvania is not yet known, but research on such rampages turns up similarities in suspects and circumstances
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
Simon Tisdall: Has John Kerry's recent track record left Russia's wily leader ever more convinced of U.S. weakness?
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1640 GMT (0040 HKT)
Mel Robbins says Nate Scimio deserves credit for acting bravely in a frightening attack and shouldn't be criticized for posting a selfie afterward
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
Wendy Townsend says the Rattlesnake Roundup -- where thousands of pounds of snakes are killed and tormented -- is barbaric
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1345 GMT (2145 HKT)
Dr. Mary Mulcahy says doctors who tell their patients the truth risk getting bad ratings from them
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says the married Rep. McAllister, caught on video making out with a staffer, won't get a pass from voters who elected him as a Christian conservative with family values
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT)
David Frum says the president has failed to react strongly to crises in Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela, encouraging others to act out
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT)
Eric Liu says Paul Ryan gets it very wrong: The U.S.'s problem is not a culture of poverty, it is a culture of wealth that is destroying the American value linking work and reward
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Frida Ghitis writes: "We are still seeing the world mostly through men's eyes. We are still hearing it explained to us mostly by men."
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT)
Chester Wisniewski says the Heartbleed bug shows how we're all tangled together, relying on each other for Internet security
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1926 GMT (0326 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says an Ohio school that suspended a little kid for pointing his finger at another kid and pretending to shoot shows the growth in "zero tolerance" policies at school run amok
ADVERTISEMENT