- Deseret News - Friday, October 2, 2015

Presidential hopeful Ben Carson incited controversy last month when stating he “would not advocate” a Muslim becoming president, according to The Guardian.

Carson then clarified a Muslim would have to “subjugate” beliefs to hold the office, but The New York Times reported on a new poll showing a portion of Republican primary voters would go further — with 40 percent of North Carolina conservatives opining that Islam should be banned in the U.S.

Public Policy Polling conducted the poll “asking questions of a few hundred” GOP voters. According to The Times, 40 percent of participants opposed banning Islam, and 20 percent were “unsure” in addition to the portion who favored outlawing the faith.

Vocativ reported 72 percent of North Carolina conservatives polled also believed a Muslim shouldn’t have the chance to run for president either.

According to Vocativ, 16 percent said they’d be fine with it.

The Times’ piece indicated the “frighteningly high” amount of anti-Muslim sentiment shown in the poll only captures views in one state. However, a PPP poll that surveyed Republican primary voters from Iowa showed 30 percent also support banning Islam, according to Fusion.

Lawrence Downes wrote for The New York Times that a history lesson might be in order for these voters.

“Do these people know what it means to outlaw Muslim worship? Do they teach history in the North Carolina schools?,” Downes stated. “Do they know what would happen if we closed mosques, arrested worshipers and prayer leaders, imposed religious tests for public office? Are these overwrought questions, or do the ugly answers in this poll portend something seriously wrong: An outbreak of a deadly fever this country has seen many times before?”

According to The Washington Post, it’s likely the latter.

The Post’s piece read that during the Values Voter Summit last weekend, retired Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin spoke on Muslims during a panel called “The Islamic Threat.”

Good Muslims exist, Boykin said, but they’re not good enough to have their faith protected by the First Amendment.

“No religion that threatens our Constitution can be protected under the Constitution,” he said, according to The Post. “Sixteen percent of Islam is religion. The rest of it is political.”

So do the sentiments of Carson and Boykin and the views of the North Carolina and Iowa poll participants align with those of most Americans? According to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll, not necessarily, but by 53 percent to 39 percent, those polled said a Muslim president isn’t realistic today.

In addition, The USA Today/Suffolk University poll indicated 49 percent “said they themselves would vote for a qualified Muslim.” U.S. Army Officer Tyler Sutherland said that reflected his view.

“I would vote for anybody that is going to be in the best interest of the country,” Sutherland told USA Today.

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