Republican presidential candidates spread dangerous Islamaphobic ideals


Neither Trump nor Carson defended Obama’s ethnic or religious heritage.


In a largely Christian nation, the idea of a person of another faith taking office may be hard for some to swallow. 

The United States’ Constitution allows for members of all faiths to run for any elected office and freedom for all religions. These principles have recently been forgotten by some prominent Republicans and point to anti-Islamic feelings becoming more prevalent in America.

The discussion of religion and politics began when Donald Trump, a Republican candidate for president, fielded a question from his audience that included a comment about President Barack Obama being Islamic. The question also seemed to ask if Trump would “get rid” of Muslims. Trump’s refusal to correct the person who asked the question caused outrage in the media. It was shocking that Trump did not defend Muslim Americans, but at this point, we should come to expect it from him.

Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon who is also running for president, continued the controversy when he asserted that he would “not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation … I absolutely would not agree with that.” 

He went on to claim that Islam is inconsistent with the Constitution, ignoring the fact that the Constitution protects all religions and allows for people of all faiths to hold office.

Rand Paul, another Republican candidate, stated a Muslim could not be president because “we were attacked by people who were all Muslim.”

I really cannot imagine the Islamic community not taking offense to Paul’s comment.

The assumption is that Americans view all Muslims as terrorists, and therefore would not elect one to the Oval Office. He is associating an entire group of faithful Americans with terrorists and undermining the right of Muslims to hold a national office.

This generalization of an entire religion based on the actions of a group of extremists is nothing but ignorant. It also points to the widespread misunderstanding of terrorism in America. 

An FBI study of terrorist attacks between 1980 and 2005 speaks volumes: 94 percent of terrorist attacks on American soil were committed by non-Muslims. This data contradicts the media driven narrative that America is under the constant threat of Muslim extremists.

This recent dialogue has put the Republicans in an awkward position between appearing intolerant of a religion and alienating their loyal conservative base.

Their core supporters are unapologetically anti-Muslim and pro-Christian, which means sympathy towards Muslims could be fatal to their election campaigns.

When running for president, one would expect the candidates to have a firm understanding of the Constitution. Unfortunately, this understanding seems to be absent from some Republican candidates.