By now you have probably heard the news that Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said on Meet the Press yesterday that "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that." You may have also read the oh-yes-he-did-say-that defense from Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts: "He did not say that a Muslim should be prevented from running, or barred from running in any way…He just doesn't believe the American people are ready for that."
"I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country," Carson said. "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 said that the only exception he'd make would be if the Muslim running for office "publicly rejected all the tenants of Sharia and lived a life consistent with that."
"Then I wouldn't have any problem," he said.
However, on several occasions Carson mentioned "Taqiya," a practice in Shia Islam in which a Muslim can mislead nonbelievers about the nature of their faith to avoid persecution.
"Taqiya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals," Carson said.
Taqiya is indeed a thing (here's the Wikipedia entry), albeit a thing you are most likely to read about at anti-Islamic sites like American Thinker and FrontPage Magazine. But like the heartland revolt against a would-be Sharia takeover, what's striking about the Taqiya paranoia is how little faith it exhibits in the Constitution, U.S. law, and the myriad of public and private institutions that have successfully kept all minority-religion coups at bay in the Land of the Free.
To put it another way, close your eyes and picture A) a Muslim candidate for president, who B) satisfies Carson's requirement of rejecting Sharia, although C) he's lying about it, D) never gets caught despite all the scrutiny placed upon him, then E) manages to win the major-party nomination and F) the White House, after which he G) unleashes Sharia, or at least Sharia-lite, on the unsuspecting country. All despite a Constitution, a set of laws, and a culture that are about as anti-Sharia as you can get. This dark fantasy doesn't pass even a preliminary WTF test.
Unless, of course, all of the above has already happened, minus the admitted-Muslim part. Yes, ladies and germs, President Barack Hussein Obama might well be our first Taqiya-er in Chief.
Some Obama-Taqiya headlines out there:
Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine: "Obama Alters U.S. Oath of Allegiance in Compliance With Islamic Law."
Lowell Ponte, Western Journalism: "The Reason Obama Has It Out For Netanyahu May Be More Terrifying Than You Thought Possible."
Martin Sherman, Jerusalem Post: "Empowering Islam: 'Taqiya' in the White House?"
To be clear: Even though his concerns about American politicians practicing Taqiya are shared mostly by anti-Islamist obsessives, Ben Carson is not implying that President Obama is a secret Muslim. That's a job for the GOP frontrunner. Here's Donald Trump from yesterday's Meet the Press:
CHUCK TODD: Can you imagine supporting or being comfortable if a Muslim ever became president of the United States?
TRUMP: I can say that, you know, it's something that at some point could happen. We'll see. You know, it's something that could happen. Would I be comfortable? I don't know if we have to address it right now. But I think it is certainly something that could happen.
TODD: You said you'd have no problem putting a Muslim in the Cabinet
TRUMP: I mean, some people have said it already happened, frankly. But of course you wouldn't agree with that. And I—
TODD: Well, no, but actually let's get to that. Why won't you concede that the president is a Christian and that the president was born in the United States?
TRUMP: Because I don't talk about people's faith. Now in all fairness, he said he was a Christian and he said he is a Christian. He attended the church of Reverend Wright. And so, you know, I'm willing to take him at his word for that. I have no problem with that.
TODD: Well, why not take the birth certificate at its word?
TRUMP: Well, I just don't want to discuss it.
Related: "The GOP's Trump-Carson 1-2 Punch in the Nuts."