U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, under fire for saying a Muslim should not be president, says that his comments on Sunday were taken out of context.
SHARONVILLE, OHIO, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 22, 2015) (NBC) – U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Tuesday (September 22) continued to defend his remarks made over the weekend stating that a Muslim should not be president.
“It has nothing to do with being muslim. That was the question that was specifically asked. If the question had been asked about a Christian, and they had said, you know ‘Would you support a Christian who believes in establishing a theocracy?’ I would have said no. And then some people would have said, ‘He’s against christians.’ No. You have to look at the context,” Carson said ahead of a campaign event in Sharonville, Ohio.
“I don’t care what a person’s religious beliefs are, or what their religious heritage is, if they embrace American culture, if they embrace our Constitution and are willing to place that above their religious beliefs, I have no problem with them,” Carson added.
Carson, who is one of the top-polling Republican candidates, had come under fire for saying during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Saying he thought a president’s faith should be “consistent with the Constitution,” Carson, a Christian, said during Sunday’s interview he did not believe Muslims met that bar.
On Monday he was asked if he meant to say “radical Islamists” during the interview, to which he replied it was implied in his comment because he had prefaced it by saying he was indifferent to someone’s religion, as long as they held the constitution above their religious beliefs.
Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad Awad has called on Carson to quit the presidential race, calling him unfit to lead.
Carson’s comments have also been criticized by some of his Republican rivals for president, who note that the Constitution makes clear there should be no religious test for office.
But he added he would be open to the idea of a moderate Muslim who denounced radical Islamists as a candidate for president.