Ben Carson Campaign Stands Its Ground Over Muslim Comments Despite Backlash

Council on American-Islamic Relations called for Carson to drop out of the race.

ByABC News
September 21, 2015, 3:17 PM

— -- After the Council on American-Islamic Relations called today for Dr. Ben Carson to drop out of the presidential race, Carson's campaign pushed back against the notion it will affect his popularity with the public.

Campaign Manager Barry Bennett called the anti-Islamic allegation against the neurosurgeon outrageous and dared the Council on American-Islamic Relations to argue its message in front of the same audiences that Carson does.

"People who are trying to make Dr. Carson look like a racist bigot are absurd," Bennett told ABC News over the phone. "I cannot imagine a day when a person who believes in all the tenants of the Koran could ever be elected president of this country."

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad today called Carson "unfit to lead, saying he is "wrong today to assume and say that American Muslims should not be president of the United States."

Carson's campaign says he is not remotely suggesting that a Muslim should be prevented from running for any office including president, but does say he would not advocate for that person becoming a leader and would not support it.

"A person whose faith is deeply seated in Islam is inconsistent with the values of America and Dr. Carson would not advocate for their election as leader of the county," Communications Director Doug Watts told ABC News.

The Carson campaign noted that an overwhelming percentage of people agree with his comments.

The campaign says they have not heard directly from CAIR, but said they are open to meetings and further conversations about the issue.

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