One of the nation’s foremost Islamic advocacy groups is calling on Ben Carson to withdraw from the Republican presidential race following his comments that a Muslim should not be president of the United States.
In an interview Monday morning on "CNN Newsroom," a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) argued that Carson is willfully ignoring Article VI of the Constitution, which states there will be “no religious test” for a candidate seeking public office.
Carson ignited a media firestorm in a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which he said he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”
In a follow-up interview with The Hill on Sunday night, Carson doubled down, saying that whoever takes the White House should be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Quran.”
“I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country,” the former neurosurgeon said. “Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution.”
Hooper shot back, saying that “it’s interesting that an individual who is trashing the Constitution is accusing American Muslims of somehow not following the Constitution.”
“American Muslims support the Constitution every day and seek its protections from individuals like Mr. Carson who would violate the Constitution to take away our rights,” he said.
The issue burst onto the scene last week, when someone who attended a campaign rally for Donald Trump told the GOP front-runner that President Obama is a Muslim who wasn’t born in the U.S.
Trump has been criticized for not correcting the man.
Hooper said CAIR is not similarly calling for Trump to drop out because the businessman and reality TV star is merely displaying “run of the mill bigotry,” whereas Carson is calling for the “actual rejection of the clear language of the Constitution.”
Carson is under heavy fire from Democrats and liberal groups for his remarks.
He has also been criticized by one of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who also cited Article VI of the Constitution in his rebuttal.
“The Constitution specifies there shall be no religious test for public office and I am a constitutionalist,” Cruz said on Iowa public television.