Sunday September 20th, GOP Presidential candidate Ben Carson expressed to NBC’s “Meet the Press.” that he believes Islam is not consistent with the constitution. He stated “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” He did support having Muslims elected as Congress, depending on who and what their policies are, as long as it’s constitutional.
He clarified Monday with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. He made clear that he could support a Muslim who denounces Sharia law to be a candidate for President. Carson thinks this is the only way he could see them making constitutional decisions.
He reaffirmed his position by posting on Facebook Monday evening stating “I could never support a candidate for President of the United States that was Muslim and had not renounced the central tenant of Islam: Sharia Law. I know that there are many peaceful Muslims who do not adhere to these beliefs. But until these tenants are fully renounced…I cannot advocate any Muslim candidate for President.”
Dr. Lawrence Pintak has focused on Islamic studies and was a CBS Middle East correspondent for over 30 years. He expressed “That is an ignorant view of the constitution…there is nothing inherent in the religion that says you can’t have democracy.”
Dr. Pintak explained there are people in the U.S. that think Muslims are trying to impose Sharia law, yet there is no real evidence to support that assertion. “There have been no overt efforts anywhere that anyone has documented of them trying to enforce Sharia law.” The majority of Muslims in the world are not living according to a system of Sharia law that supersedes civil law, one of the few cases being Saudi Arabia. “In many cases Muslims will respect aspects of Sharia law in Muslim countries, but even then, it’s usually a subset only related to something like marriage laws or inheritance laws. And to say that anyone must denounce anything, in order to be elected president is again, unconstitutional.”
The statement offended many groups and individuals alike. Nihad Awad, an executive director and founder of Council on American-Islamic Relations, believes that Carson’s insulting remarks should have him disqualified from running.
Hassan Mahgoub, a practicing Muslim, moved to the United States from Iraq in 1972. He is politically active and has voted in every presidential election since he has been here.
Mahgoub was appalled at Carson’s words. He said he personally does not take interest in the candidates’ religions, “I take in what they are going to do for our country, for our children’s education. That is what is important to me.”
Mahgoub said that each country upholds its own standards of Sharia law. He said there are no elements of Sharia law that surpass civil law in the U.S. He used the consumption of alcohol and premarital sex as examples; both illegal in Saudi Arabia. Many Muslims practice certain aspects of Sharia law anyways, Mahgoub revealed that he chooses not to drink alcohol.
He sees Carson as another enemy, someone else who is helping the media play down the Muslim people. He concluded “they are trying to scare people.”
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