- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 3, 2015

GOP 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson is going after a U.S. Islamic advocacy group, arguing the organization should have it’s tax-free status revoked after the group’s director called on him to withdraw from the White House race following his controversial remarks about Muslims. 

The retired neurosurgeon and second runner-up in the GOP field for the White House started a petition on Thursday asking supporters to encourage the Internal Revenue Service to take away the Council on Islamic-American Relations’ tax exempt status. 

The Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim group, recently demanded that I withdraw as candidate for the 2016 presidential race. By doing so, the organization has brazenly violated IRS rules prohibiting tax-exempt nonprofits like CAIR to intervene in a political campaign on behalf of—or in opposition to—a candidate,” Mr. Carson wrote on his website’s petition page. 

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Under the Obama administration, the IRS has systematically targeted conservative nonprofit groups for politically motivated audits and harassment. The agency should now properly do its job and punish the real violators of America’s laws and regulations,” Mr. Carson added. 

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for CAIR, pushed back against Carson’s claim that the country’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization did anything wrong.

“We find it interesting that Dr. Carson seeks to use a federal government agency to silence his critics and wonder if that tactic would be used to suppress First Amendment freedoms should he become president,” Mr. Hooper told MSNBC.

“CAIR is not in violation of any IRS regulation in that we did not ‘participate in’ or ‘intervene in’ any political campaign. We, as mandated by our mission as a civil rights organization, merely expressed the opinion of our community that a candidate whose views violate Article VI of the Constitution is unfit for public office,” Mr. Hooper added.

Last month, Mr. Carson came under fire after he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” A day later he walked back his remarks on Fox News, saying he would back a Muslim candidate for president if that person was “wiling to reject those tenets and accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion.” 

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