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Leaders Respond to Ben Carson, Call for Withdrawal From 2016 Race

Asian-American and Muslim-American leaders are speaking out against anti-Islamic rhetoric following Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson's remarks that he "would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation."

Carson, who said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press that Islam is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution, clarified his remarks in a Facebook post on Monday, writing, “I meant exactly what I said.”

Ben Carson Does 'Not Advocate' A Muslim As President 1:34

“I am shocked at the way anti-Islamic language is being used today,” Representative Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), said in a statement. “It’s not only unbefitting the world’s leading democracy, but it has real dangers for our country. From our founding, America was established by and for people of all religions.”

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a press conference Monday that Article VI of the Constitution--which states, “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States"--is clear and "cannot be twisted around."

Awad also called on Carson to withdraw from the presidential race “because he is unfit to lead, because his views are in contradiction of the United States Constitution."

In an interview Monday on MSNBC, Representative Andre Carson, one of two Muslims currently serving in Congress, also questioned whether Dr. Carson was qualified to seek the presidency. "I think folks should be elected to the presidency based on their ideas, not on their skin color or even on their religion,” Rep. Carson said. “I don’t think that any person seeking the presidency of the United States should think that they will only be CEO for only one group of people.”

In contrast, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the only Asian-American presidential candidate, called the possibility of a Muslim president “an absurd hypothetical” in a statement, adding, “If you can find me a Muslim candidate who is a Republican, who will fight hard to protect religious liberty, who will respect the Judeo-Christian heritage of America, who will be committed to destroying ISIS and radical Islam, who will condemn cultures that treat women as second class citizens and who will place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution, then yes, I will be happy to consider voting for him or her. If you can’t, I’ll settle for voting for a Christian Governor from Louisiana.”

According to the latest NBC News online survey following the second Republican primary debate, Carson currently gets support from 14 percent of Republican voters, putting him in second behind Donald Trump.