Letter to Editor: Dr. Carson Wrong on Possible Muslim President

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Writing as religious educators and interfaith leaders, we are appalled at the stunning attack by Dr. Ben Carson, denying that a Muslim could serve as president of the United States. He presents himself as possessing an educated knowledge of Muslim law and ethics which, at best, is a veneer of disinformation, possibly polished by sources seeking to disgrace Islam and its adherents through subterfuge and paranoia.

Unfortunately, his words are attractive to a particular constituency in which this bigotry thrives. In so doing, Dr. Carson, who should know better, attracts the ignorance of those who know little, or who do not desire to know the truth. This type of appeal is called ‘demagoguery’.

We would like to think that Dr. Carson had a momentary lapse, but his self-confident, presumptuous explanation of his opinion, breathlessly devoid of any theological, legal or ethical knowledge, indicates otherwise. This demagoguery is unacceptable in American civil society.

Rather, Dr. Carson should dwell upon the calm, rational Americanism of President George W. Bush during what he called “the middle hour of our grief,” in Washington National Cathedral, just days after 9/11, and in other speeches.

“No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith,” President Bush said before Congress. And in another address, “America rejects bigotry. We reject every act of hatred against people of Arab background or Muslim faith. We reject the ancient evil of anti-semitism … America values and welcomes peaceful people of all faiths – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and many others. Every faith is practiced and protected here, because we are one country.”

Peter E. Hyman
Rabbi, Temple B’nai Israel

Joel Marcus Johnson
Bishop of The Chesapeake, Ret’d.

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Letters to Editor

  1. Dr David Foster says:

    I am stunned that Mr Hyman & Johnson demonstrate such a total lack of knowledge of Islam while pretending to be such experts on it. They need to read the passages in the Koran & Hadith where in fact Islam is constructed as a religio-political whole. Islam (as founded by Muhammad) is unified as both a religious and political system, which is why Dr. Carson makes the accurate and excellent point that our political system does not allow such a mixture, such as you see manifested in Shari law. It is not bigotry to point this out and Dr. Carson deserves an apology from you for defaming him in such a way. It is simply a fact. If Mr. Hyman & Johnson have their wish, we’ll be back to legalized beating of women, beheading of infidels, execution of homosexuals and even worse before it’s all over. Now if a non-practicing or apostate Muslim was elected President then there would be no issue, unless he or she became a “true believer” while in office and began to practice Islam as practiced throughout most of the believing Muslim world. The nominal exceptions don’t make the rule, the inventor of Islam does.

  2. Lorraine Claggett says:

    I thank these two religious elders for their educated and compassionate response to the political candidate and for their inclusion of a president’s words that state a national ideal of acceptance, inclusion and equality.

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