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Looks like America agrees with Ben Carson’s anti-Muslim stance
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By Andrea Peyser
September 25, 2015

Looks like America agrees with Ben Carson’s anti-Muslim stance

Ben Carson is a hell of a lot craftier than he looks. Still polling behind the slipping Donald Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and closely eating surging Carly Fiorina’s exhaust in the latest CNN/ORC poll, the mealy-mouthed retired pediatric neurosurgeon, 64, has been reluctant to say boo to a goose — or to slam Trump for his demonstrably dumb claim that vaccines cause autism in children.

So Carson lobbed the political equivalent of a Hail Mary pass in a cynical ploy to get himself noticed. And it seems to be working, big time.

He lit into an issue that, fair or not, unites many Americans, not all of them Republicans: the belief that an adherent of the Islamic faith should not be elected president.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,’’ Carson, sounding sure of himself for a change, declared in an interview broadcast on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this past Sunday.

“I absolutely would not agree with that.’’

In these days of militant Islam, a time when an entire religion is under fire for the bloodthirsty actions of a violent fringe, most Republicans and — dirty little secret — even some Democrats agree with the good doctor that a Muslim can’t be trusted with access to the United States’ nuclear codes.

He doubled down on his remarks in an interview published Monday in The Hill newspaper. Whoever wins the presidential election should be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran,” Carson said.

He added, “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.”

Holy smoke.

Carson, an evangelical Christian, was blasted by some of his fellow Republican presidential candidates, was called on to drop out of the race by the leader of the nation’s largest Muslim-American advocacy group, and was slammed by Democratic prez hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton. (She herself engaged in Islamic fear-mongering during her failed 2008 bid for the White House by declaring that Barack Obama was not a Muslim “as far as I know.’’)

Trump was roundly criticized for failing to correct a man who asserted during a New Hampshire campaign event that President Obama was a non-American-citizen Muslim, rather than an American-born Christian.

But Trump has since pandered in Trump-like fashion. “I love the Muslims,’’ he said, adding that he’d consider running with one as his vice presidential candidate or naming a Muslim to his Cabinet.

The truth is that Carson may have stumbled upon a breakout issue.

A Gallup poll released in June found that 38 percent of American voters would not vote for a well-qualified Muslim presidential nominee from their own party — a view shared by 54 percent of Republicans surveyed, 39 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats.

Carson tempered his remarks a notch in a TV interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity that aired Monday night. “Now, if someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have, and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion, then, of course, they will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least I would then be quite willing to support them,’’ he said.

But he’s showing no real sign of backing off his words. Why should he?

There were just under 2.6 million US Muslims in 2010, less than 1 percent of the population, but growing.

Carson’s fundraising has been strong after “Meet the Press’’ aired, and his campaign has added more than 100,000 new Facebook friends, the candidate’s camp claimed. “The money has been coming in so fast, it’s hard to even keep up with it,” Carson said Wednesday on Fox News Channel.

“While the left wing is huffing and puffing over it, Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20,’’ Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett told the Associated Press. “People in Iowa particularly are like, ‘Yeah! We’re not going to vote for a Muslim either,’” he said.

When he rejected a Muslim presidential candidate, Carson dared American voters to ask themselves if they’d follow his lead. The people of this country pride themselves on tolerance.

But Ben Carson exposed the fact that, for a number of us, fear overwhelms the march to multiculturalism. Big time.

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