The whole conversation started with Chuck Todd and Dr. Carson talking about Mr. Trump's inability to correct an audience member's statement on how president Obama is a Muslim and not an American. The audience member hinted at the idea of deporting Muslims and Mr. Trump never apologized for what happened at his rally claiming that he is not responsible for correcting any inaccurate comments made by fans. For the record, according to a new CNN poll, 29% of Americans believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, 43% of those were Republicans. 20% of Americans also said that they believe that the President was born outside of the country.
When asked if he believes that Islam is consistent with the United States Constitution, Dr. Carson said "No. I don't, I do not". It should come of no surprise to Dr. Carson that Article 4 of the United States Constitution states that "No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”. Also that the Treaty of Tripoli framed by Thomas Jefferson states that "[the USA] has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims)". Ben Carson never specified what parts of the religion goes against the Constitution of the United States. This comment by Dr. Carson should be especially troubling since he is third place in the polls with 14% of support from the GOP.
This event of course brought backlash against him and his campaign from Democrats and Republicans alike. Lindsey Graham, another POTUS hopeful, said "I think Dr Carson needs to apologise". Bernie Sanders claimed "You judge candidates for president not on their religion, not on the color of their skin, but on their ideas, on what they stand for". Hillary Clinton also added on, saying she was appalled by the statements.
Keith Ellison, one of two Muslim congressmen, released a statement on Facebook stating "The freedom of religion is a founding principle of our nation. Our Constitution gives this right to all Americans - including elected officials".
This relates to a bigger concern which is the level of Islamophobia that the country has reached and perhaps even come into question the actions of the GOP nominees in order to excite the party. Noam Chomsky analyses that "they can attract votes only by mobilising sectors of the population that have not previously been an organised political force, among them extremist evangelical Christians, now probably the majority of Republican voters". This of course is not to say that all people who are in the GOP are bigots. However, there seems to be a concerning number of incidents from the conservative base which helps shape the American culture.
Dr. Ben Carson