Islamic thinker Tawfik Hamid defends Ben Carson as follows:
“When asked whether he believes that Islam is consistent with the Constitution, Ben Carson’s response was: ‘No, I don’t. I do not. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.’
“As a Muslim — and particularly as a former member of a radical Islamist group — I can state unequivocally that Dr. Carson is correct. Without a single exception, the approved Islamic literature teaches violent principles such as killing apostates, beating women, killing gays, and enslaving female war prisoners for sexual purposes.
“If anyone doubts this, or wishes to challenge it, they need to prove this to be wrong. If Carson’s critics could provide a single approved Islamic theological book that would undermine his position.
“If they could point to just one treatise that is accepted by the leading Islamic scholars at Al-Azhar University or the religious authorities in Saudi Arabia (the two Sunni religious bodies responsible for approving a printed Koran) that rejects the traditional barbaric principles of Islamic law.
“If they could produce a solitary approved Islamic text that stands clearly and unambiguously against killing apostates, beating women, killing gays, and enslaving female war prisoners for the express purpose of raping them — then perhaps the criticism would be justified.
“But such a text does not exist.
“In fact, until such a reference is found, Ben Carson is correct. These Shariah values and principles, which are so hostile to the American Constitution, are still an integral part of mainstream Islam.”
All of this is correct as stated. It is absolutely true that Islam, in its mainstream form, is pernicious in a way that other religions, even in most of their extremist forms, are not. The problem isn’t with Islamic fundamentalism but with the fundamentals of Islam, and the texture of beliefs shared by hundreds of millions of Muslims. Many Muslims who would not carry out jihad attacks support them nonetheless; and still more believe things about apostasy, heresy, free thought, women and gays which make the conservatives of other religions seem liberal. Jihad warfare is an essential pillar in every school of Islamic jurisprudence, and sharia law is mandatory.
What poisons Carson’s platform isn’t that he acknowledges these truths. It’s that he implicitly ascribes these mainstream Islamic beliefs to all Muslims (instead of a huge problematic minority) and declares that a person’s religion should rule him or her out in advance from consideration for public office (which is unconstitutional). You don’t fight the unconstitutionality of Islamic law with a sweeping unconstitutional measure.
I’d gladly vote for a Muslim who opposed both (a) mainstream Islamic beliefs and (b) liberal agendas that seek to marginalize or criminalize honest debate about Islam, presentations of Islam, or any kind of free speech or expression. There are practicing Muslims who do in fact stand against these equally. I wish there were more of them, but they certainly exist.