The Council on American-Islamic Relations today called on Ben Carson to drop out of the presidential race because of his comments on whether a Muslim should be elected to the White House.
Carson argued that Islam is not “consistent with the Constitution,” thus he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”
CAIR called a press conference at which executive director Nihad Awad said he was “shocked” by Carson’s remarks and added they should “remind” the presidential hopeful “about a very important document in the United States, and that is the Constitution.”
“The protection of freedom of religion in America is a fundamental principle of our country, so whether you’re Christian, you’re Jewish, you’re Muslim, you’re Catholic, you’re black, you’re brown, you’re white — if you are born in this country, if you uphold the Constitution… if you’re fit to lead,” that’s enough, Awad said.
“Mr. Ben Carson is wrong today to assume and say an American Muslim cannot be president of the United States… We really urge politicians, the general public, community leaders, presidential candidates to repudiate his views, and we ask Mr. Ben Carson to withdraw from the presidential race because he’s unfit to lead.”
Separately, CAIR announced a Quran giveaway in response to Carson’s remarks called “Share the Quran.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at today’s briefing that he hadn’t yet heard CAIR’s call for Carson’s withdrawal.
“I think what is clear is that — you know, this goes to something that we talked about in this room quite a bit on Friday, which is that we have seen not just a tendency, but a willingness on the part of some successful Republican politicians, and let’s face it, Dr. Carson, in many of the polls, ranks second or third,” Earnest said. :So at least in the last few months, he’s been quite successful in elevating his status in the Republican party, and we’ve seen a willingness on the part of many of those candidates to countenance offensive views, all in pursuit of political support. And in the case of the Republican primary, in the pursuit of votes.”
“And — you know, I think what’s particularly disappointing to many observers, including me, is that we haven’t seen a significant outcry from all of the other candidates in the Republican race, and it’s for the same reason, because they’re chasing for the same votes.”
Earnest called Carson’s views “not something that’s consistent with the values of the vast majority of Americans, and — you know, ironically enough, I — I actually do think that the views articulated by Dr. Carson are entirely inconsistent with the Constitution, that does actually guarantee the freedom of religion in this country.”
“So ultimately there will be consequences and, you know, certainly those views will be taken into account by voters, both in the primary, but also in the general election,” he said.