Muslims in the U.S. who embrace Islamic law while also supporting American values of democracy are “schizophrenic,” GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson said Monday. The retired neurosurgeon has become known for his routine controversial comments about Muslims, which have sparked backlash.
In an interview Monday, Breitbart News Network host Stephen K. Bannon asked Carson whether he believes “Sharia-adherent” Muslims can participate in a democratic society.
"Only if they're schizophrenic," Carson responded, according to the Huffington Post. "I don't see how they can do it otherwise, because they have two different philosophies boring at you [that contradict each other]. That would be very difficult."
Ben Carson says people who believe in Separation of Church and State are "Schizophrenic"? Really, Ben? pic.twitter.com/jEMb2xEzFS
— Delia O' Riordan (@Delia1donegal) February 14, 2016
Sharia law, while often used to refer to a strict penal code, can also be used to include laws that dictate a Muslim’s personal religious practices, including prayer, dietary restrictions and financial dealings.
In the interview, Carson was also asked about former President George W. Bush’s reference to Islam as “a religion of peace,” Politico reported.
“Bear in mind there are a lot of people in this country who will say that same thing ... because they bought into it," Carson replied. He added that he encourages people to read about the life of the Prophet Muhammad to understand "why people didn't like" him, "somebody who lives a life who is in no way comparable to Jesus Christ."
In the past, Carson has spoken against Muslim participation in U.S. politics. After his stance that a Muslim should not be president of the U.S. drew condemnation, he refined his position, adding that they should first denounce Sharia law.
Carson has seen his popularity dip in the polls. Although once a top candidate, he has struggled to attract support in recent months. Among likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina, Carson polled at 7 percent, a Public Policy Polling survey found.