Of all the points presidential candidate Ben Carson made in defense of his position that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” most poignant is his reference to taqiyya, one of Islam’s doctrines of deception.
According to Carson, whoever becomes president should be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran”:
“I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country,” Carson said, referencing the Islamic law derived from the Koran and traditions of Islam. “Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution.”
Carson said that the only exception he’d make would be if the Muslim running for office “publicly rejected all the tenets of Sharia and lived a life consistent with that.”
“Then I wouldn’t have any problem,” he said.
However, on several occasions Carson mentioned “Taqiyya,” a practice in the Shia Islam denomination in which a Muslim can mislead nonbelievers about the nature of their faith to avoid religious persecution.
“Taqiyya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals,” Carson said.
There’s much to be said here. First, considering that the current U.S. president has expunged all reference to Islam in security documents and would have Americans believe that Islamic doctrine is more or less like Christianity, it is certainly refreshing to see a presidential candidate referencing a little known but critically important Muslim doctrine.
As for the widely cited notion that taqiyya is a Shia doctrine, this needs to be corrected, as it lets the world’s vast majority of Muslims, the Sunnis, off the hook. According to Sami Mukaram, one of the world’s foremost authorities on taqiyya,
Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.
Taqiyya is often associated with the Shias because, as a persecuted minority group interspersed among their Sunni rivals, they have historically had more reason to dissemble. Today, however, Sunnis living in the West find themselves in the place of the Shia. Now they are the minority surrounded by their historic enemies—Western “infidels”—and so they too have plenty of occasion to employ taqiyya.
Nor would making Muslims swear on Bibles be very effective. As long as their allegiance to Islam is secure in their hearts, Muslims can behave like non-Muslims—including by praying before Christian icons, wearing crosses, and making the sign of the cross—anything short of actually killing a Muslim, which is when the taqiyya goes too far (hence why Muslims in the U.S. military often expose their true loyalties when they finally reach the point of having to fight fellow Muslims in foreign nations).
For those with a discerning eye, taqiyya is all around us. Whether Muslim refugees pretending to convert to Christianity (past and present), or whether an Islamic gunman gaining entrance inside a church by feigning interest in Christian prayers—examples abound on a daily basis.
Consider the following anecdote from Turkey. In order to get close enough to a Christian pastor to assassinate him, a group of Muslims, including three women, feigned interest in Christianity, attended his church, and even participated in baptism ceremonies.
“These people had infiltrated our church and collected information about me, my family and the church and were preparing an attack against us,” said the pastor in question, Emre Karaali: “Two of them attended our church for over a year and they were like family.”
If some Muslims are willing to go to such lengths to eliminate the already downtrodden Christian minorities in their midst—attending churches and baptisms and becoming “like family” to those “infidels” they intend to kill—does anyone doubt that a taqiyya-practicing Muslim presidential candidate might have no reservations about swearing on a stack of Bibles?
Precedents for such treachery litter the whole of Islamic history—and begin with the Muslim prophet himself: During the Battle of the Trench (627 AD), which pitted Muhammad and his followers against several non-Muslim tribes collectively known as “the Confederates,” a Confederate called Naim bin Masud went to the Muslim camp and converted to Islam. When Muhammad discovered the Confederates were unaware of Masud’s deflection to Islam, he counseled him to return and try somehow to get his tribesmen to abandon the siege. “For war is deceit,” Muhammad assured him.
Masud returned to the Confederates without their knowledge that he had switched sides and began giving his former kin and allies bad advice. He also intentionally instigated quarrels between the various tribes until, thoroughly distrusting each other, they disbanded and lifted the siege, allowing an embryonic Islam to grow. (One Muslim website extols this incident for being illustrative of how Muslims can subvert non-Muslims.)
In short, if a Muslim were running for president of the U.S. in the hopes of ultimately subverting America to Islam, he could, in Carson’s words, easily be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran” and “publicly reject all the tenants of Sharia.” Indeed, he could claim to be a Christian and attend church every week.
It speaks very well about Carson that he is aware of—and not hesitant to mention—taqiyya. But that doctrine’s full ramifications—how much deceiving it truly allows and for all Muslim denominations, not just the Shia—needs to be more widely embraced.
The chances of that happening are dim. Already “mainstream media” like the Washington Post are taking Carson to task for “misunderstanding” taqiyya—that is, for daring to be critical of anything Islamic. These outlets could benefit from learning more about Islam and deception per the below links:
- My expert testimony used in a court case to refute “taqiyya about taqiyya.”
- The even more elastic doctrine of tawriya, which allows Muslims to deceive fellow Muslims by lying “creatively.”
- My 2008 essay, “Islam’s Doctrines of Deception,” commissioned and published by Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst.
- Recent examples of how onetime good Muslim neighbors turn violent once they grow in strength and numbers.
 Sami Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi ‘l-Islam (London: Mu’assisat at-Turath ad-Druzi, 2004), p. 7, author’s translation.
 Mukaram, At-Taqiyya fi ‘l-Islam, pp. 30