GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said on Monday that he would only reject a Muslim candidate for the presidency who practices a radical interpretation of Islam.
“You know, what we have to do is, we have to recognize that this is America, and we have a Constitution,” Carson said on “Hannity.”
“We do not put people at the leadership of our country whose faith might interfere with carrying out the duties of the Constitution,” he said.
“Now, if someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion, then, of course, they will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least I would then be quite willing to support them,” the retired neurosurgeon added.
Carson’s original remarks that a Muslim should not be president sparked a firestorm, drawing swift criticism from the Obama administration, Democratic lawmakers and even other members of the 2016 Republican presidential field.
“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Carson argued on Monday that his position is completely valid when expressed in the context of radical interpretations of Islam.
“I could never support a candidate for President of the United States that was Muslim and had not renounced the central tenet of Islam: Sharia law,” Carson wrote during a question-and-answer session on his Facebook page that evening.
“Those Republicans that take issue with my position are amazing,” said Carson, a Seventh Day Adventist. “Under Islamic law, homosexuals — men and women alike — must be killed. Women must be subservient. And people following other religions must be killed.”
“I know that there are many peaceful Muslims who do not adhere to these beliefs,” Carson added. “But until these tenets are fully announced … I cannot advocate any Muslim candidate for president.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is now calling for Carson’s exit from next year’s White House race in light of his remarks earlier this week.
Carson currently ranks second out of 15 GOP presidential candidates with 18.8 percent, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of national polls.