New York, NY, September 21, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is deeply troubled by recent remarks by presidential candidates suggesting that being a Muslim is incompatible with serving as president of the United States. The League called on all presidential candidates to avoid stereotyping American Muslims during the campaign.
Speaking on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday, Republican presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson stated that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” This troubling remark came on the heels of Donald Trump failing to stand up to an anti-Muslim bigot at a campaign rally.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Donald Trump’s failure to stand up to an anti-Muslim bigot at a campaign rally who questioned whether President Obama was a Muslim, as well as the various troubling comments by the candidates about a Muslim’s fitness to serve as president, are deeply troubling. Dr. Ben Carson’s statement that a Muslim American should not serve as president is deeply offensive, un-American and contrary to the Constitution. There is no religious litmus test for candidates seeking political office, and that includes the highest office in the land.
The U.S. Constitution makes clear that any American citizen can run for president provided that he or she is a natural born citizen, age 35 or older, and resided for at least 14 years within the U.S. Indeed, Article VI of the Constitution states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Dr. Carson’s statement directly contradicts the Constitution and the values embodied in it. In America, personal characteristics -- whether race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion – should have no bearing on person’s ability to serve. Rather, fitness to serve should be based on the individual’s merit: intellect, ethics, experience and achievements.
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. Remarks suggesting that all Muslims follow extremist interpretations of Islam have no basis in fact and fuel bigotry. Whether directed against Jews, Muslims or others, such baseless comments breed hate and have no place in a presidential campaign or in public discourse.
As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, ADL takes no position on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for office.