Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's campaign pushed back against outrage over his comments regarding Islam, saying there was a "huge gulf" between the Muslim faith and "American values."
Ben Carson said that Islam isn't consistent with the constitution and he believes that a Muslim should not be elected president, in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday.
Carson, a Christian by faith, says a president's faith should matter to voters if it runs counter to the values and principles of America.
Responding to a question during an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," he described the Islamic faith as inconsistent with the Constitution.
"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," Carson said. "I absolutely would not agree with that."
He did not specify in what way Islam ran counter to constitutional principles.
Carson's comments drew strong criticism from the country's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"To me this really means he is not qualified to be president of the United States," said the group's spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper. "You cannot hold these kinds of views and at the same time say you will represent all Americans, of all faiths and backgrounds."
Hooper said the Constitution expressly forbids religious tests for those seeking public office and called for the repudiation of "these un-American comments."
Carson's comment comes on the heels of GOP front-runner Donald Trump taking a question from an campaign rally attendee who said, "We have a problem in this country; it's called Muslims."
Also speaking on NBC on Sunday, Trump said that a Muslim in the White House is "something that could happen... Some people have said it already happened, frankly."
GOP candidates have since been split over whether to criticize Trump, who has been a vocal skeptic of Obama's birthplace and faith. Obama is Christian.
Carson also made a distinction when it came to electing Muslims to Congress, calling it a "different story" from the presidency that "depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says."
US Congress has two Muslim members, Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana.. Tags: #Islamophobia #America #
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