September 20, 2015

So, did the Ben Carson campaign walk back his remarks about Muslims? NBC News says yes:

... a top campaign official said Carson will likely reach out to members of the Muslim community.

The campaign official said Carson's interview on "Meet the Press," in which the Republican said he would not support a Muslim as president, should be "watched or read carefully."

"He did not say that a Muslim should be prevented from running, or barred from running in any way," Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts said.

Watts said the people would ultimately decide. "He [Carson] just doesn't believe the American people are ready for that," Watts said.

Well, no, it's not merely that he "doesn't believe the American people are ready for" a Muslim president -- he was asked, "Do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution?" and he said, "No, I do not."

But hey, he's walking the remarks back -- right? Except that while his campaign is walking them back a bit, Carson himself is doubling down, according to The Hill:

In an interview with The Hill, Carson opened up about why he believes a Muslim would be unfit to serve as commander in chief.

“I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country,” Carson 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.”

Carson said that the only exception he’d make would be if the Muslim running for office “publicly rejected all the tenants of Sharia and lived a life consistent with that.”

“Then I wouldn’t have any problem,” he said.

I sincerely hope that Carson and the Carson campaign can come to some sort of agreement on this.

I think the doubling-down approach is much more appealing to the GOP base -- every rank-and-file wingnut in America is certain that Muslims seek to impose "sharia law" on America, although no wingnut actually knows what that means. And if Carson starts talking a lot about "sharia," he'll have company in the GOP presidential field: in 202, then-Senate candidate Ted Cruz said at a campaign forum that “Sharia law is an enormous problem"; Rick Santorum in 2011 said that "Sharia law is incompatible with American jurisprudence and our Constitution"; and Bobby Jindal earlier this year asserted that Muslims were establishing "no-go-zones" in European cities, adding, "If we’re not careful the same no-go zones you’re seeing now in Europe will come to America. What is not acceptable and what you’ve seen in Europe and this is a very serious particular threat, you’ve got those that do want to try to impose a form of sharia law. And sharia law is antithetical, mutually exclusive of freedom...."

But Carson takes it to the next level in that Hill interview, throwing around another word he doesn't understand, and that he almost certainly picked up from the right-wing media:

... on several occasions Carson mentioned "Taqiya," a practice in Shia Islam in which a Muslim can mislead nonbelievers about the nature of their faith to avoid persecution.

“Taqiya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals,” Carson said.

Mainstream journalists, you have no right to be shocked by the fact that this ignorant nonsense has made its way into the Republican presidential campaign. For years, many of us have been aware of just how popular this sort of bunkum is on the right. This is very familiar language to Republicans. If you haven't noticed, it's because you've been in denial about the true nature of the modern GOP.

Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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