Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson’s recent comment is so great it has even distracted attention away from gaffes made by his rival Donald Trump.
Carson sparked outrage after claiming no Muslim should hold the office of President of the United States.
Retired surgeon Dr. Ben Carson, one of 11 people bidding to be the Republican candidate in next year’s vote, made the blunt remarks in an interview with NBC.
It prompted an outcry from the Council on American-Islamic Relations and prominent figures including Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders.
The news channel grilled Dr Carson after billionaire Mr. Trump failed to deny false claims that Barack Obama is a Muslim born outside the United States.
Asked if religion should stop a candidate entering the White House, Dr Carson said: “I guess it depends on what that faith is.
“If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America then of course it should matter.
“But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the constitution, no problem.”
The interviewer then pressed Dr Carson on whether he thought Islam was consistent with the constitution.
“No I do not,” he said.
“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.
“Congress is a different story but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are just as it depends on what anybody else says.
“If they’re somebody who’s of any faith but they say things and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed and bring peace and harmony then I’m with them.”
Dr Carson’s campaign spokesman, Doug Watts, has since tried to play down the interview saying it should be ‘watched or read carefully’.
He told NBC News: “He did not say that a Muslim should be prevented from running, or barred from running in any way.