New York Times columnist Charles Blow stirred a backlash Monday when he criticized Republican presidential candidates for embracing Islamophobic rhetoric after the Paris terror attacks. His op-ed article "Anti-Muslim Is Anti-American" sparked a robust debate on Twitter about what it means to be Muslim.

After the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks, Republican front-runner Donald Trump has said he would close some mosques and wouldn’t be willing to make Muslims "register" to protect national security. Ben Carson, meanwhile, compared Syrian refugees, who are mostly Muslim, to “a rabid dog running around your neighborhood.”

"This demonizing a single religious faith is a slippery slope," Blow wrote. "It feeds something that is at odds with the most noble ambition of this country’s better angels: equality. ... We must put a lid on this corrosive language. Simply put, being specifically anti-Muslim is, in a way, anti-American."

As for the GOP front-runners, Blow wrote: "There seems to be no bottom to the cesspool of Islamophobic rhetoric coming from Republican candidates. The tone of anti-Muslim musings post-Paris attack has become so poisonous that it cannot portend anything positive."

While some applauded Blow for taking a stand for religious freedom as the hashtag "Anti-Muslim is Anti-American" trended on Twitter Monday, others used the opportunity to denounce Islam. "Anti-Muslim Is Anti-American ? Do you people know the main tenants [sic] and approvals of Islam?" one person wrote. Another person said: "Freedom of speech is disallowed in Islam. Doesn't exist anywhere in Islamic world. Period. Anti-Muslim is Anti-American?"

Blow has been a New York Times Op-Ed columnist since 2008. His column appears on Mondays and Thursdays. Below are some of the many tweets reacting to his column: