In an assumed effort to pump life back into his dying campaign, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is stirring up Islamophobic rhetoric once again (because what better way to gain publicity than bigotry in America?) and calling on federal officials to investigate a Muslim civic group for terrorism.
Speaking to CNN on Tuesday morning, Carson slammed lawmakers for inviting representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to the State of the Union address, calling the group “not pro-American.”
“They have done things that are clearly, you know, not pro-American,” Carson told CNN’s “New Day.” “These are people who I have called for an investigation of. We can’t now sit there and say these are buddy-buddies of ours, [so] let’s go ahead and investigate the thing. If they are our buddies, let’s put that clearly out there. And if they’re not our buddies, let’s not be giving them access to the ability to further carry on what they call a civilization jihad and to change us from a Judeo-Christian foundation to a Muslim foundation. We have got to be smarter than that.”
Shamelessly deeming a respected organization that represents Muslim-Americans as “not pro-American” and directly stating their agenda involves a “civilization jihad” is so blatantly xenophobic it is almost not believable that a politician would be so blunt with fear-mongering. Yet this is Carson, the same presidential candidate who doesn’t believe a Muslim should be president, so his anti-Muslim call against CAIR doesn’t seem so out of character.
Even more, Carson’s remark that the U.S.’s foundation would switch from Judeo-Christian to Muslim is also deeply disturbing given that although the principles we were founded upon rest in those religious roots, who we are today is a secular nation (or at least supposed to be). If a prospective leader is so concerned with keeping the outdated religious core intact and so unabashedly demonizing to other religious groups (ahem, Muslims), then the religious freedom and tolerance America prides itself on will rapidly dematerialize.
CAIR’s communications director Ibrahim Hooper responded to the bigotry in an interview with POLITICO.
"You’ve got a presidential candidate whose campaign is circling the drain and he’s doing anything he can do to spark some sense of relevance,” Cooper said. “Anti-Muslim bigotry worked for him in the past so he thinks it may work for him again.”
But Carson wasn’t the only conservative bashing lawmakers for allowing a Muslim civic group to attend the SOTU.
"This is an obscene gesture and an affront to all those who have suffered at the hands of terrorists,” Joe Kaufman, a former Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, wrote in FrontPage Mag. “This invitation not only sends the message to our enemies that terrorism is rewarded, but it emboldens those whose stated goal is to destroy the West. That these Islamists are being allowed into Congress makes a mockery of the safety precautions associated with the event.”
These Republicans are ignorantly conflating terrorism with Islam, and outright dismissing the handful of terrorism incidents in the U.S. that have been carried out by white men as opposed to Muslims. Should the government stop inviting white men then to grand events like the SOTU if we are so worried about terrorism?
Democratic lawmakers’ move to invite this Muslim group does not “reward terrorism” but rather shows terrorists across the world that America stands with Muslims and will not be divided by heinous acts. Unfortunately, politicians like Carson and Kaufman are delegitimizing that message.
Banner image credit: Reuters