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
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)
Carlos Moreno says atheists, a sizable fraction of Americans, deserve representation in Congress.
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says Democrats and unions have a long history of mutual support that's on the decline. But in a time of income inequality they need each other more than ever
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 0423 GMT (1223 HKT)
William McRaven
Peter Bergen says Admiral William McRaven leaves the military with a legacy of strategic thinking about special operations
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1330 GMT (2130 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2242 GMT (0642 HKT)
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1919 GMT (0319 HKT)
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1950 GMT (0350 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2052 GMT (0452 HKT)
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2104 GMT (0504 HKT)
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
ADVERTISEMENT