Ben Carson softens tone on Muslims, says he was taken out of context

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ben Carson Gets Into Back-and-Forth Exchange With Reporter Over ‘Context’ of His Muslim Comments.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson attempted to walk back his pronouncement that a Muslim should not be president in a press conference in Ohio on Tuesday. Thus on Monday did Muslim American leaders find themselves once again in the role of denouncing the sort of language — and the accompanying rise in hate speech and crimes — that wouldn’t be tolerated in 21st-century America if directed at any other cultural group.“It seems to be hard for people actually to hear English and understand it,” Carson told reporters Tuesday ahead of a rally in suburban Cincinnati — his first public appearance since his controversial interview aired Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. His hand shaking, Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, raised a blowup of Article VI of the Constitution stating that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office.” In front of 15 TV cameras crowding a small and overheating room at CAIR’s Capitol Hill office, Awad demanded that Carson “withdraw from the presidential race because he is unfit to lead.” Other Muslim leaders went to the lectern to echo that sentiment, and Graylan Hagler, a Christian pastor, added a demand that Trump quit, too, “because he has continued to breed hatred and hostility.” I share their outrage but disagree with their prescription.

Carson said he’d support candidates, regardless of their faith, “if they embrace American values and they place our Constitution at the top level, above their religious beliefs.” Still, the retired neurosurgeon seemed to say he didn’t believe Muslims’ faith would allow them to emphasize their country over their religion, describing Islam as “a faith that does not traditionally separate church and state, that traditionally has a theocracy.” The GOP presidential candidate — polling second or third among Republicans nationally — generated a firestorm Sunday describing Islam as inconsistent with the Constitution. But he also said he stood by his original comments, saying that the US could not elect people “whose faith might interfere with carrying out the duties of the constitution”.

He’s basing his comments off of ignorance, so the resulting comments are also ignorant.” Dabdoub said she thinks Carson’s comments also violate the Constitution’s prohibition against a “religious test” for someone running for office. And that’s fine.” But he warned: “You have to separate yourself from the tenets of the harsher sect in order for him to consider voting for you. Forty percent of Republican voters may be supporting Trump or Carson now, but most of them are not bigots — and ultimately they won’t endorse such intolerance.

Still, he said he’d uphold Supreme Court rulings he disagrees with legalizing same-sex marriage and abortion nationwide, while seeking to overturn the rulings. “There’s no way we should try to give away our American principles to try to be politically correct,” Carson said, to roars. That’s what this is all about.” He also falsely claimed Islam called for non-Muslims to be killed. “I don’t think there’s any other religion that says that people of other religions have to be killed,” Bennett said. On Monday, he began to revise his weekend remarks, telling Fox News he would be prepared to accept a moderate Muslim candidate who denounced radical Islam.

At another point he attacked Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and repeatedly mispronounced her name as “Ooma.” Conservative organizations such as Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy have helped to spin conspiracy theories involving Muslim Americans, including one linking Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood. The verse often used to justify statements such as Bennett’s has been misconstrued to justify the killing of infidels, when in fact it justifies violence only against idolaters who continue to impose hostilities or a threat to Muslims. Those candidates “will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least then I will be quite willing to support them.” Still, he defended his original position, telling Fox host Sean Hannity that the United States could not have leaders whose religion might conflict with constitutional principles. “If you’re a Christian and you’re running for president and you want to make this into a theocracy, I’m not going to support you. Because that wasn’t a juicy story, but that’s exactly what I said, that’s exactly what I meant.” Carson spoke to reporters the morning after he published a Facebook post emphasizing that he was referring to the parts of Shariah law that are “not compatible” with the U.S. Half a dozen pastors, including Cincinnati Councilman Charlie Winburn, led prayers, sang a Christian worship song written in Carson’s honor, and said they’d try to “take ‘God Bless America’ to church.” Carson talked about building a “double fence” near the Mexico border.

But it also highlights a sentiment among voters in both parties who seem to agree with Carson’s reluctance to elect a Muslim to the nation’s highest office. Carson’s campaign has been greatly boosted by a profound anti-Washington sentiment throughout the country, which has elevated political outsiders like himself and business mogul Donald Trump to the top of the GOP field. He vowed to support school choice, saying: “People who have done the best have the been the home schoolers, the private schoolers.” His answer to a question about the Common Core came was one word: “Out.” Before the event, as Carson’s supporters lined up outside the Sharonville Convention Center, many said the retired neurosurgeon’s stance on a potential Muslim president made them like him more. As a candidate, the soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon provides a striking contrast to the flamboyant front-runner, even as they both run on similar anti-Washington rationales.

And CAIR itself, one of a few hundred groups listed as unindicted co-conspirators several years ago in the Holy Land Foundation probe, figures prominently in conspiracy theories. Delhi Township resident Dan Wilcox said the comments came “about six years too late,” in a reference to what Wilcox views as President Obama’s Muslim heritage. And his message has considerable strength — a recent CBS/New York Times poll showed Carson surging just behind Trump, taking 23 percent support to the businessman’s 27 percent. “What resonates with people is that he is genuine, he is resolute, he stands firm on his beliefs. When the Muslim leaders at the CAIR news conference denounced the Trump and Carson remarks, Neil Munro, the writer who heckled Obama while working for the Daily Caller and who now works for the conservative Breitbart News, laughed and smirked.

It’s not hurting us, that’s for sure.” Carson, a devout Christian, is running just behind businessman Donald Trump among Republican voters in Iowa, whose caucuses will kick off the state-by-state nominating contests next February. His message speaks to my values and my faith,” said Jeremy Long, of Milford, Ohio, one of about 500 supporters who attended Carson’s rally in Sharonville. Long added that he believes Carson’s calls for “revival” and “healing” are resonating with many voters. “This is my first political event I’ve ever been. I loved everything he had to say,” said Lindy Powell, who lives in the Cincinnati area. “With people that have faith, we really feel like the hand of God has been with him.” When asked about Carson’s comments about not supporting a muslim for president, many attendees said that they shared Carson’s concerns that a Muslim-American president would not be able to separate his or her faith from their mandate to protect the constitution.

Now let’s move on.” Fourteen years after Islamic extremists executed the deadliest terrorist attack in US history, a suspicious stance resonates with some voters despite the fact that – as the Democratic senator Harry Reid put it on Monday – Muslims “teach in our schools, fight in our military and serve in Congress”. And those voters are not in the minority — a Gallup poll earlier this summer found that more than half the Republicans surveyed would not vote for a well-qualified nominee who shared their political affiliation if that person were Muslim. “I don’t think a Muslim president would work. America’s Muslim population is growing, according to a survey in May by the Pew Research Center, which found the group represented just under 1% of the US population.

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