Rep. André Carson, one of only two Muslims in Congress, condemned Donald Trump on Tuesday for suggesting that Muslims were inherently untrustworthy.
“The fact is that I’m the only member of Congress who has worked in an intelligence fusion center,” Carson told The Daily Beast, referring to his work before entering the House of Representatives.
Fusion centers are information-sharing offices used to facilitate the distribution of information between intelligence agencies, law enforcement, the military, and local governments. Carson is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he has been cleared to received classified assessments about threats, and where he helps oversee the American intelligence community.
“There are Muslims in the law-enforcement community, in our intelligence community, who are pushing back and are helping keep our country and the global community safe,” Carson said. “To view one group as a threat without making distinctions and understanding nuance… shows a lack of maturity and it shows an inclination to discriminate.”
Carson, a Democrat, said he had met Trump in the past, and that the businessman is “a smart man, which makes his rhetoric that much more dangerous.”
In a new proposal Monday, Trump suggested barring all Muslims from entering the United States.
“[O]ur country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” Trump said.
The congressman, who represents a district in Indiana, said that “given his rhetoric and the xenophobic tone, the Islamophobic tone of [Trump’s] message, he’s not ready for primetime, given that America is a pluralistic society.”