American Muslims Slam Ben Carson
Evan F. Moore | 9/23/2015, 2:52 p.m.
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson believes he has the prescription to fix what ails America. Members of America’s Muslim community believe that the renowned neurosurgeon ought to work on his bedside manner.
Carson, who is the second runner up in most Republican polls, said Sunday morning on NBC "Meet the Press" that he didn't think a Muslim should be President.
"I guess it depends on what that faith is," Carson said. "If it's inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution — no problem."
Carson went on to say that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation."
Outrage from social media users to Muslim elected officials came swiftly, rebuking the retired neurosurgeon’s comments. Keith Ellison, a U.S. congressman from Minnesota who happens to be a Muslim, released a statement from his Twitter feed:
“The freedom of religion is a founding principle of our nation. Our constitution gives this right to all Americans-including elected officials. For Ben Carson, Donald Trump, or any other Republican politician to suggest that someone of any faith is unfit for office is out of touch with whom we are a people. It’s unimaginable that the GOP candidates are resorting to fear mongering to benefit their campaigns, and every American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry.”
Carson’s campaign spokesman Doug Watts told reporters that the Detroit native’s comments may have been taken out of context.
"He did not say that a Muslim should be prevented from running, or barred from running in any way," Watts said. "He [Carson] just doesn't believe the American people are ready for that."
Local Muslims, as well as observers of the Islamic faith across the country, condemned Carson’s comments. Rogers Park resident Tariq Weaver says the rhetoric in today’s political climate allows for Carson’s comments to be taken seriously.
“The misinformation endorsed by both parties enflame the current state of Islamophobia. It’s a terrible reflection of an accomplished man whose accolades attest to his intellectual capacity, but his recent comments contest just that,” Weaver says.” Carson didn’t misspeak; he showed his desperation and lack of depth.”
South Shore resident Fariduddin Muhammad watched Carson’s “Meet the Press” appearance with great disappointment. Muhammad says that his parents once gave him a book on Carson’s life.
“I read it and both my parents spoke to me about how beautiful it was that this black man was able to overcome many obstacles to become a champion in his field,” Muhammad says. “Islam is the modern day Communism to bring everyone together against a perceived threat to protect the grip on global markets and the distribution of global wealth.”
Aminah Al-Amin-Muhammad, a South Shore resident, says Carson’s comments showed a lack of knowledge on the history of Islam and the presidency.
“It would interesting how he would respond to questions about the fact Thomas Jefferson had a Quran in his library and he’s one of the “founding fathers/authors/signers” of the constitution,” Al-Amin-Muhammad says. “He’s the poster child for the residual effects of mental slavery. Those chains are harder to break than physical ones.”
Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan chapter on The Council on American-Islamic Relations in America (CAIR), says he was disappointed with a number of Carson’s comments as a fellow Detroit native.
“The broader image is that there’s an environment of intolerance in our political discourse that Ben Carson is one player in,” Walid says. “When politicians falsely blame the “Black Lives Matter” movement in terms of violence against police and you have politicians wanting to build a wall on the southern border between America and Mexico, you can see Carson’s comments in a broader context.”
Baltimore resident Mansoor Shams, is not only a Muslim who teaches a youth class at a mosque, he also served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2000-2004. He says that Carson may never understand the harm his comments caused.
“What Dr. Ben Carson doesn’t realize is that this has a trickle-down effect on the framework of our society. Those types of comments widens the racial divide in our society. A 12 year old kid is telling me he’s being called Taliban, ISIS, and all the things people associate with being Muslim,” Shams said.