Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Has a Blunt Message for Ben Carson

September 21st 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, author and NBA hall-of-famer, went on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday to respond to comments made by Republican primary presidential candidate Ben Carson. Over the weekend Carson suggested that members of the Islamic faith were not qualified to be President of the United States.

"Religion is not supposed to be a litmus test for office here in the United States of America," Abdul-Jabbar told the "Morning Joe" hosts.

"I was very disappointed by Dr. Ben Carson," he said.

"It is your qualities as an American citizen and if you believe in the Constitution and if you want to fight to preserve and enhance it," he added. "Most Muslim-Americans come in the second category there."

On Sunday, Carson told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he "would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," and that he "absolutely would not agree with that." The retired pediatric neurosurgeon reiterated those points in a follow-up interview with the Hill, on Sunday, during which he said that a president should be "sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran."

"I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country," Carson told the Hill. "Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that's inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution."

Carson's statements come after GOP front-runner Donald Trump received backlash after not correcting an audience member's question at a campaign rally last week, which asserted that President Obama is a Muslim. Trump later dodged questions about the event, saying that he doesn't "like talking about somebody else's faith."

When asked how he would handle a similar question, Carson told the Hill that he "certainly would not have accepted the premise of a question like that."

Whether or not Carson would entertain this notion—which still resonates with a surprising number of Americans—his comments about Islam represent underlying cultural fears that many Americans still harbor, according to Abdul-Jabbar. Those fears, he said, are then used to slur the African-American president.

"So many people were disappointed that a Black American could be elected president that they have to invent all these fictitious reasons why they don't think they have to respect the fact that he is president," he told "Morning Joe."

What would JFK, the first Catholic president, say to Dr. Ben Carson?

Posted by ATTN: on Monday, September 21, 2015