Ben Carson's narrow view of Islam is widely shared

Sep 24th 2015 2:08am

Ben Carson's narrow view of Islam is widely shared

In his latest attempt to clarify Islamophobic remarks the GOP presidential candidate made over the weekend, Carson has conceded that he could support a moderate Muslim becoming president, while offering the general caveat that the US couldn’t elect someone “whose faith might interfere with carrying out the duties of the constitution”.

And on that narrow point, Carson’s caution is reasonable and astute. All holy texts make claims about crime, punishment, war, human relationships and a whole host of other facets of social and political life that, if interpreted literally, cannot help but clash with the freedoms and frameworks of governance set out in the US constitution. A literal, fundamentalist reading of Islam – like Christianity, Judaism, or any other revealed faith – is thoroughly incompatible with the founding documents of this country.

But that Carson knows and understands this actually serves to underline the underlying bigotry of his initial response, because Carson, presented on Saturday with the idea of a Muslim president, did not equivocate. There was no thoughtful generalizing, no common sense qualifiers about fundamentalists vs. moderates.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that”, Carson said.


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