Ben Carson Says Islam Is Not a Religion But a “Life Organization System”

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Ben Carson has a homework assignment for Iowans the weekend before the presidential caucuses: read up on the history of Islam. And what message will they take away? He thinks that, after a bit of studying, “you won’t call it a religion, you’ll call it a life organization system,” one that has a “apocalyptic vision.”

During a speech at the University of Iowa, Carson said that the US needed to take ISIS more seriously. The first step? He implored the Iowans in the room to learn more about the origins of the religion, hinting that ISIS’ violence is an inevitable result of the founding of Islam. “What I would suggest is that everybody here—we’ve got a weekend coming up—take a few hours and read up on Islam,” Carson said. “Please do that. Read about Muhammad. Read about how he got his start in Mecca. Read about how he was seen by the people in Mecca—not very favorably, by the way. How his uncle, nevertheless, was an influential guy. Protected him. When his uncle died, he had to flee. He went north to Medina. That’s where he put together his armies, and they began to massacre anybody who didn’t believe the same way they did.”

I didn’t want to read too much into Carson’s description of Islam, so followed up with him after the event, asking what lessons exactly he wanted Iowans to draw from his reading assignment. “I think they don’t understand all the aspects of it, including Sharia, how that plays in,” he responded. “I don’t think most people actually understand what jihad is. They don’t understand the whole apocalyptic vision that they have. When you understand that, you understand what drives an organization like ISIS.”

Still a bit confused, I double checked to see if those lessons encapsulated the entire religion, or just ISIS. “It doesn’t encapsulate everything,” he replied. “It’s really not, once you read it, you won’t call it a religion, you’ll call it a life organization system.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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