GOP candidate urges Muslims to reject basic tenets of Islam
Republican presidential contender Ben Carson says if Muslim candidates reject the basic principles of Islam he would support them.
Carson made the comments in an interview with Fox News on Monday, a day after he said Muslims are not suitable to become president, arguing that Islam is inconsistent with the US constitution.
“You know, what we have to do is, we have to recognize that this is America, and we have a Constitution,” Carson told Fox News’s Sean Hannity, a conservative American host, known for his anti-Islamic commentaries.
“We do not put people at the leadership of our country whose faith might interfere with carrying them out the duties of the Constitution,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon.
“Now, if someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion, then, of course, they will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least I would then be quite willing to support them,” he added.
New wave of Islamophobia?
The bigoted comments by Carson and other GOP candidates’ failure to condemn those remarks have increased the possibility of a new wave of Islamophobia hitting the United States, American Muslims fear.
Many of America’s approximately 3 million Muslims say tensions against followers of the Islamic faith could increase during a US presidential race that they fear is already injecting anger and bigotry.
“It’s pretty troubling that someone running for president would make those claims,” Zuhair Shaath, a Palestinian-American, said of Carson.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest US Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, also denounced Carson over his controversial remarks.
Nihad Awad, executive director of the group, on Monday called on Carson to “withdraw from the presidential race because he is unfit to lead, because his views are inconsistent with the United States Constitution.”