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Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson on Monday stepped up his anti-Muslim rhetoric in an effort to draw and hold onto evangelical voters in early primary states, chiefly in Iowa, which is known as a bastion of religious conservatism.

The move comes amid rising competition from ex-Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina, who catapulted over the retired pediatric neurosurgeon after last week’s Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, pushing him into third place.

Carson is seeking to recover his second-place lead over Fiorina, and eventually edge out Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. To do that, he needs to win over evangelical Christians, a sizeable voting bloc, with his anti-Muslim rhetoric.

He received a barrage of criticism Sunday from the left and some presidential contenders on both sides after he told Meet the Press’ Chuck Todd that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

The Huffington Post reports that he clarified his remark on Monday, saying, “he would support a Muslim president — if he or she denounced their religion.”

Via The Huffington Post:

“If someone has a Muslim background and they’re wiling to reject those tenets and accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our constitution above their religion, then of course they’ll be considered infidels and heretic, but at least then I’d be quite willing to support them,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

It’s worth noting that no Christian president has ever been asked to denounce their faith.

Several Republican presidential candidates who are Christian, including Carson, oppose same-sex marriage on religious freedom grounds despite the Supreme Court declaring that the Constitution protects that right.

What do you think of Carson’s remarks? Sound off.

SOURCE: The Huffington Post | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN

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