On Ben Carson’s recent comments about Muslims

Rosalie Goldberg, Online Opinions and Campus Life Editor

Religion is often at the forefront of discussion about American politics, but the Bible should not be the reasoning behind a politician’s morality. We should be moral not because of what a religious text says, but because we hold the belief that all people, not just those who subscribe to a certain religion, deserve the same opportunities and rights.

By focusing too heavily on the rhetoric of the Bible, right-wing politicians are quick to leave out minorities who do not necessarily align themselves with Christianity. Just because certain people do not follow Christianity, does not mean that they do not deserve the same rights as everyone else. Muslims in particular have become profiled for their names and appearance.  

The backlash against the Muslim community has been astounding and heartbreaking, and is mostly the result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that were committed by Muslim extremists. Even 14 years after the attacks, Muslims are still undermined and profiled.

There have been many anti-Islamic crimes and injustices, such as the murder of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Feb. 10 of this year. Clearly a hate crime, it has been discounted by many simply because the victims were not white.

Many terrorist attacks committed by Muslim extremists are actually in the Middle East, meaning that the majority of the hate crimes against Muslims are committed against people who share the same religion, but not the same beliefs.

Anti-Muslim crimes comprise approximately 13 percent of all racially-motivated crimes committed with a religious bias–five times more common today than before Sept. 11. This hate is not driven by fact, but by rhetoric of a government willing to  jump to blaming and “othering” a minority.

On Sept. 20, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said in an NBC News interview that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” later adding that whoever wins the presidential election should be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran.”

It is true that Christianity is deeply integrated into our Constitution and government, but should we use it as an excuse to profile a group of people? The short answer is no. No one deserves to be discounted on the basis of his or her religious beliefs.

Carson’s stance on Muslims is symptomatic of a larger problem. Islam is a deeply rich culture that has been marred by terrorist organizations who fight under the name of Islam, but do not accurately portray Muslim beliefs or represent the millions of Muslims who strive for religious freedom around the world.

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