Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said the U.S. should bar refugees from Syria because they are “infiltrated” with Muslim extremists who seek to harm America. Carson has taken an increasingly skeptical view of Muslims in recent days, as his political fortunes have improved and now finds himself among the top contenders in national Republican preference polls.
The comments come as Carson has revealed an aggressively negative stance toward Muslims, and after rival Donald Trump pledged he would support deporting Syrian Muslims from the U.S.
“To bring into this country groups infiltrated with jihadists makes no sense,” Carson told about 150 people at the Des Moines Rotary Club. “Why would you do something like that?”
Instead, Carson recommended that the U.S. help settle Syrian refugees in the Middle East, in places such as Turkey. In Carson’s view, the U.S. could assist financially but not open its doors.
Germany’s top security official said Friday that authorities had not yet found cases of terrorists with instructions to carry out attacks in the country mixing into the flow of incoming migrants. Carson later told reporters that, despite the German official’s comments, terrorists “would be fools not to” try to enter the United States with Syrian refugees.
“At some point you have to use common sense and judgment,” Carson said. “If you are part of the global jihadist movement, and you see large numbers of people from your area moving into the United States, wouldn’t you want to infiltrate them?”