Ben Carson: A Muslim Shouldn't Be US President
The Islamic faith isn’t “consistent” with the U.S. Constitution, and a Muslim shouldn’t be president, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said.
“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Carson said on NBC’s 'Meet the Press' on Sunday.
Carson said the religious beliefs of a president would matter if his or her faith was inconsistent with U.S. values. His view contrasted with that of Donald Trump, the billionaire front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, who said on the program that a Muslim as president is something that could happen in the future.
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Trump said he knows many Muslims who are “fabulous,” but there’s “a very severe problem” with some Muslims around the world -- comments he repeated on other Sunday broadcasts.
Carson, asked by moderator Chuck Todd whether a presidential candidate's faith should matter to voters, said it depends.
"If it's inconsistent with the values and principles of America then of course it should matter," Carson said. "But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem."
Todd then asked whether Islam is consistent with the Constitution.
"No, I do not. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that," Carson said.
But Congress is a different matter, he said.
"It depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are. Just as it depends on what anybody else says. And if there's somebody who's of any faith but they say things and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed and bring peace and harmony then I'm with them."
Carson said he takes President Barack Obama at his word that he was both born in the United States and is a Christian. Trump declined Sunday to talk about either of those issues.
The issues of Muslims in American politics came to the fore over the weekend when Trump failed to correct a man asking a question during one of his rallies, who said that President Barack Obama is a Muslim. On “Meet the Press,” Trump said he wasn’t obligated to defend Obama.
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“This is the first I’ve ever gotten into hot water for not saying anything,” Trump said. Trump and Carson both said they believe Obama is a Christian.
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The nation's largest Muslim advocacy group says lawmakers from across the political spectrum should repudiate Carson's comments.
Ibrahim Hooper is a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations and says the Constitution expressly prohibits a religious test to qualify for elected office.
Information from The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg News was used in this report.
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