Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is calling for a federal investigation into whether the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has ties to terrorism.
In a policy proposal released on Tuesday outlining his call for a declaration of war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Carson said the State Department must investigate the Washington-based nonprofit group as an alleged “supporter of terrorism.”
“The Department of State should designate the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations that propagate or support Islamic terrorism as terrorist organizations, and fully investigate the Council on American-Islamic Relations as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and a supporter of terrorism,” Carson wrote.
At the time, CAIR called on Carson to drop out of the race. Carson responded by accusing the nonprofit of breaking the law by injecting itself into a political campaign.
“Ben Carson is a failing candidate grasping at straws and seeking payback for CAIR's previous criticism of his anti-Muslim bigotry and his lack of commitment to uphold the Constitution,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement on Tuesday. “He found that Islamophobia gave him a boost in the past, so he is trying it again.”
Critics of CAIR have long claimed that the nonprofit has ties to terror groups. CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2007 trial of a different group that was convicted of funneling money to Hamas, a group that has been on the United States's Foreign Terorrist Organization list since 1997.
Carson, who is seeking to showcase the breadth of his knowledge on foreign policy after stumbling on national security matters in the wake of high-profile terror attacks in France and California, also called on Congress to issue a formal declaration of war against ISIS.
He said the U.S. must recruit its allies in the Middle East to assist in recruiting and training forces in the region to address the threat from ISSI; establish a safe-zone for refugees in Syria; establish a “war-time emergency visa and immigration policy;" and deploy the U.S. National Guard to the southern border to protect against insurgents.