Liberal Fox News Pundit: Keep Foreign Muslim Students Out of U.S. Colleges

Bob Beckel's all-encompassing solution.

The Earth shook this week. Am I the only one who felt it? I couldn’t believe what I’d heard, and so I listened intently to make sure I’d gotten it right. Sure enough, I had. While watching The Five on Fox News, I heard Bob Beckel, the only liberal to sit on that panel, say that the higher academic system should immediately stop admitting Muslims and maybe even Chinese students. What? Bob Beckel said what? I felt the Earth shift. He said those who are here should be allowed to remain and finish their education but that we should no longer admit Muslim, and maybe Chinese, students because they “get an education here and then go back and hack us.”

It’s not that I think Bob is necessarily wrong, but his broad approach to a difficult reality was the same that I postured at a party several years ago—and was met with disdain and disgust. Let me give you a little background.

In 1983, the U.S. embassy in Beirut was bombed. It was a big deal, for those of you who don’t remember, and an eye-opener for me. My husband and I were flying to Rome the following year, and I learned that Rome was a layover for a flight that was going on to Tel Aviv. I realized that I knew almost nothing about the conflict in the Middle East, but I knew enough to be worried about a flight of Americans heading to Israel. I decided I needed to educate myself on the subject and went off to the bookstore. In an effort to avoid bias, I bought a textbook that I painstakingly labored through so as to understand the issue, A Concise History of the Middle East by Arthur Goldschmidt; I still have it.

When I read this book—in 1983 remember—I was struck by something written on page 48 that outlines the duties of Muslims and includes this quote from the Quran. It commands Muslims to “fight against those who do not believe in God or the Judgment Day, who permit what God and His messenger (that would be Muhammad) have forbidden (that would be Western culture) and who refuse allegiance to the true faith (that would be Islam) … ”

The book goes on to say that Muslims have since tempered such a hard line and now advocate tolerance of other faiths and cultures. That’s all well and good, but it’s not the level-headed believers that we need to worry about, it’s the radical extremists, right?

Almost two decades later, after 9/11, I attended a “girls’ weekend” to celebrate a birthday and, naturally, we got around to politics and the incidences of Islamic terrorism that had since occurred. One of the women in my group was railing against stereotypical profiling, arguing that “most Muslims are peaceful.” The discussion went on to tackle how we ferret out the bad guys and deal with them. I offered that we should just go ahead and kill every Muslim in the whole world. Now, before you get all crazy, it was a ridiculous contention posited to illustrate that you can’t tell the extremists from any other Muslim and, if your goal is to take out the bad guys, you would have to take out everyone to make sure you got the job done. If you have a beehive hanging off a tree limb and you get stung, and you want to make sure that you don’t get stung again, you destroy the hive. Same idea. I was so grateful there were no tar and feathers at the party because several of the women would have hung me from the porch by my ankles. They were either too stupid or too intoxicated (I said it was a girls’ weekend!) to understand my rhetoric. And they wouldn’t speak to me any further so there was no dissecting my facetious angle on how to address the problem of spotting the bad guys.

Fast-forward to Bob. Wasn’t he saying the same thing? Was Bob agreeing with me? I should tell you that Bob and I never agree. Except, wait a minute, I was being rhetorical, Bob was being literal; we should stop admitting students of a particular faith because they might be terrorists. I don’t have an answer to this broad approach that Beckel offers, but I’m not a little bit satisfied that someone with a clear understanding of today’s politics would respond to the latest tragedy with a solution that requires a more blanket approach to weeding out the perps. No beehives in his backyard.