CHARLESTON, S.C. – Ben Carson told a North Charleston crowd on Friday that the Islamic prophet Muhammad spread his faith through barbaric acts.
During a speech that primarily centered on national security, Carson delivered a brief history of Muhammad’s life and actions.
After discussing the prophet’s banishment from Mecca and his rise to prominence in Medina, the retired neurosurgeon listed off atrocities he claimed Muhammad’s army of faithful believers committed.
“They raped women, enslaved girls, and exterminated Jews [in the Arabian penisula],” Carson said.
The Republican presidential candidate segued away from those ancient terrors to discussing the horrors of ISIS and other jihadi groups today. He believes the United States should use its military power to make sure Islamic militants are “always on the run.”
When discussing various Muslim terror groups, he made a point to humorously note that he was pronouncing Hamas correctly. Carson had been mocked previously by some media critics for mispronouncing Hamas as “hummus.”
Carson spoke about how much he admires America’s armed forces to the group of roughly 70 attendees — most of them veterans — gathered to hear him talk at the North Charleston Airport Convention Center Friday morning.
“I’ve always enjoyed the military myself,” he said as he spoke about his high school involvement in Junior ROTC.
Carson argued in his speech that America’s military was significantly underfunded and needed to be updated to meet the latest world crises. He even endorsed revamping the space program.
He also talked about immigration policy and reiterated his support for strengthening border security, a point in which he made sure to preface it by saying “no offense to the Pope.”
Carson took questions from the audience after the conclusion of his speech.
“When I was in Israel, I couldn’t find one person who didn’t think we [America] didn’t turn our backs on them,” Carson said in response to a question on U.S.-Israel relations. He believes the two countries are natural allies due to the United States’ “Judeo-Christian heritage.”
A female Marine veteran asked Carson for his thoughts on Donald Trump’s debate claim that George W. Bush lied to get America to invade a Iraq – a point she strongly disagreed with – and what he thinks about women being required to sign up for the draft.
“I have to admit I wasn’t in favor of going into Iraq in the first place,” he responded and then explained he thought the action destabilized the Middle East. He gave a rambling answer on women in the draft and how they should serve in the military if they meet qualifications. Carson didn’t clarify if he supported females registering for the draft, however.
The doctor goes into Saturday’s primary in South Carolina hoping to exceed the polls and renew life into his campaign. The RealClearPolitics polling average has him right now in last place with 7 percent.