Ben Carson saying
he couldn't support a Muslim for president is "the most anti-American statement that I have ever heard," says a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) official.
Carson stated that Sharia Law is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution.
"A bunch of malarkey. Complete absolute malarkey," Nezar Hamze, regional operations director for CAIR Florida, told "The Hard Line" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV.
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"What do you think the terrorists are telling the people they're recruiting?" Hamze asked. "They're telling the American people exactly what Ben Carson told the American people. Word for word.
"Muslims can never be part of the American public, Muslims can never be part of the governing, and America doesn't want you, get away. This is what's happening."
Hamze warned that Carson's remarks would hurt the Republican Party.
"America is sick and tired of the bigotry and the division in calling people and dividing and trying to segregate different parts of the community," he said.
"How do you think millions of Americans – let's just talk about American Muslim children that are in school learning what the requirements are to be president. You probably had a dream to be an American president when we're a kid. So did I. what do you think they're going to think when they hear Ben Carson saying Muslims can never be president? That is absolutely absurd."
Muslims are part of the fabric of the nation and the fact that Carson cannot accept that fact disqualifies him from the presidency, Hamze asserted.
"The reality is, the hard cold reality is the American Muslim population contributes to this society. [Muslims] respect the law of the land, and they are absolutely trying to be good Americans and people like Ben Carson, for someone as educated as him, to say such an ignorant and stupid thing is completely unacceptable and that's proof that he can't be president," he said.
"Why do American Muslims have to prove they're American? Listen, there are Muslim American law enforcement officers, there are American Muslim doctors – American Muslims are all over the United States contributing."
Musa al-Gharbi, political philosopher with the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflict, appeared on a separate segment of "The Hard Line," telling host Berliner that Carson's comments were unusual for a candidate who has supported the place of religion in the public sphere.
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"It's perplexing to me because Ben Carson is usually a pretty straightforward kind of guy," al-Gharbi says. "But these remarks are out of character for him. They're out of character with his own previous statement both in his book and in interviews [where] he's talked about how....
"For instance, he said that one of the problems with having a Muslim as commander in chief is that Muslims don't recognize a separation between their religious ideals and the state.
"But the contradiction of course is that Ben Carson himself believes that Christians should be able to advocate their religious positions as part of the public sphere and his own campaign is a part of it.
"He has consistently said that Christians have a right to engage as Christians in the political sphere, so the idea that Muslims wouldn't be able to engage as Muslims, that they would only be able to engage as sort of secular citizens….
"It was perplexing to me."
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