Salon is running a nasty, moderately incoherent piece by some random Muslim attacking Dr. Ben Carson over his views on Islam. In it, the author Qasim Rashid, accuses Carson of being little different that a racial segregationist.
First, about the author. Rashid is not a cleric and he is not a mainstream Muslim. In fact, if Rashid lived in Saudi Arabia or Iran he would be in grave jeopardy as his particular tiny, tiny, tiny sect is heretical. Whatever Rashid writes must be looked at through the lens of his work which is to attempt to make Islam warm and fuzzy for the credulous… that would be Salon’s readers.
In his recent anti-Muslim crusade, Ben Carson promoted a disturbing form of religious segregation, claiming that a Muslim should only be president if he or she “renounces the tenets of Islam.”Sadly, just as racial segregationists long garnered votes by promoting fear of black Americans, religious segregationists such as Carson today garner votes by promoting fear of Muslim Americans. In fact, Carson’s anti-Muslim intolerance has advanced his polling numbers and dramatically increased his campaign fundraising.
In the process, Dr. Carson has helped promote and sustain frighteningly high levels of anti-Muslim sentiment. A recent PPP survey in North Carolina reported that 72 percent believe a Muslim should not be allowed to be president of the United States. Likewise, 40 percent seek to ban Islam altogether.
Under Dr. Carson’s crusade of religious segregation, some Americans appear to have forgotten the First Amendment’s fundamental religious freedom guarantee, and likewise Article VI of the Constitution, which forbids religious tests for any government office. Like his racial segregationist predecessors, Dr. Carson demonstrates that the Constitution is suddenly meaningless when influential politicians use fear and hate to advance their agenda.
One hopes that this is calculated dishonesty because otherwise Rashid, like any other young turkey, is going to drown if caught outside in a rainstorm.
Carson is not advocating religious segregation. He is simply stating the very simple fact that he believes that any orthodox Muslim is incapable of being president of the United States because orthodox Islam does not recognize religious plurality on an equal basis. Neither does it support freedom of speech to the extent of criticizing Islam or proselytizing Muslims. Oddly enough, in his opening Rashid really makes Carson’s case.
Then he goes on to write gobbeldy-gook about religious freedom — which Islam is hostile to — and religious tests. What seems to be lost upon this guy, which again makes Carson’s case, is that the government is subservient to the sovereign people. Where a Muslim is free to run for president and it would be wrong, under the Constitution, for the government to forbid such a candidacy, as sovereign persons we have a right and an obligation to weigh a candidate’s faith. I wouldn’t vote for a Muslim for anything. Neither would I vote for an atheist. And I owe no one any explanation for that decision.
Then Rashid takes us on a wild ride to an Islam where women have been equal to men for over a millennium:
For example, far from Dr. Carson’s claim that in Islam women are subservient, Islam gave women equal rights in 610 that our own United States haven’t given even in 2015. To this day America has not passed the Equal Rights Amendment.
Carson’s parents divorced when he was 8—a right American women didn’t have until the 19th century. Meanwhile, Islam was the first religion to give women the right to choose to marry or to divorce, the right to own property, to become secular or religious scholars, the right to inherit, or to run a business—all in the 7th century.
Ayesha, wife of Muhammad, is recognized as one of the foremost legal scholars in Islamic history. Meanwhile, American women finally earn legal recognition as lawyers in the late 1800s. While women of color in 2015 America continue to lag behind white women in terms of college graduation rates and access to financial resources, Fatimah al-Fihri, an African Muslim woman scholar, used her inheritance from her father to establish the world’s first University, al-Qarawiyyin University in 859 C.E.
I can only suggest that Rashid, someday, actually visit an Islamic nation. How about this list of things a woman can’t do in Saudi Arabia? About half of all women in the Arab world are illiterate. Rashid’s shallow and rather juvenile attempt to create a world where a “pure” Islam (which doesn’t exist) has total equality for women requires us to simply disbelieve the fact that Saudi women are flogged for driving, girls throughout the Muslim world are subject to child marriage, polygamy is rampant, and on and on. But again, this argument goes to Carson’s point. Under Christianity, the religion, women and men have been equals since the Garden of Eden. Christ took women into his entourage and the people with him at The Cross were mostly women. He tells us that marriage means a man and woman become “one flesh.” Paul (Galatians 3:28) tells us that under Christ there is neither “male nor female.” The difference is that Christianity exists inside a culture. Islam, regardless of the silly proof-texts Rashid tosses out like tootsie rolls at a Halloween parade, is governed by Sharia and none of these alleged and ephemeral accomplishments of Islam really mean anything as they don’t apply in the real world.
This article represents the way Americans have been treated by Muslim apologists forever, but particularly since 9/11. We are regaled with the ancient accomplishments of a culture that is, charitably, frozen in the 12th century. We are told that any behavior we see that contradicts what we are told is the result of “extremists.” If you point out that if 90+% of the Muslim world acts in a way that is described as “extremist” that extremism is the norm, you are called a bigot.
Dr. Carson was right. Being an orthodox Muslim should be a disqualification for the presidency with any thinking voter of any non-Muslim variety. Rashid’s diatribe against Carson does more to prove the point than to disprove it.