The Anti-Defamation League expressed dismay Monday at recent statements made by Republican presidential candidates disparaging Muslims and saying they should not hold public office in the US.
The US-based hate speech watchdog group called remarks by GOP presidential hopefuls Ben Carson and Donald Trump “deeply troubling.”
Responding to a question during an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Republican hopeful Ben Carson 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.”
His comments came on the heels of Republican Donald Trump’s refusal last week to take issue with a man during a campaign event who wrongly called President Barack Obama a Muslim and said Muslims are “a problem in this country.”
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.”
Responding to these remarks, the ADL, which often concentrates on discrimination against Jews, urged presidential candidates to refrain from stereotyping Muslims during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Dr. Ben Carson’s statement that a Muslim American should not serve as president is deeply offensive, un-American and contrary to the Constitution,” National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. “There is no religious litmus test for candidates seeking political office, and that includes the highest office in the land.”
Greenblatt said Caron’s statement “directly contradicts the Constitution and the values embodied in it.”
“As the campaign season advances, we urge all presidential candidates to avoid innuendo and stereotyping of all sorts, including against people based on their faith, particularly American Muslims and, instead, to confront all forms of prejudice and bigotry,” the rights group said. “Remarks suggesting that all Muslims follow extremist interpretations of Islam have no basis in fact and fuel bigotry.”