Republican candidate Ben Carson has vowed to “fully investigate” the oldest and largest Muslim-American institution in the country in a bid to eradicate its "strong links" to terrorism.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has chapters across 20 states in the US and has served as the country’s largest Muslim civil rights advocacy center for 21 years.
As part of his so-called war on Islamic State, terrorism and foreign immigrants, Presidential hopeful Mr Carson thinks one way to fight the war might be closer to home.
“[…] as president, I will work with Congress to revamp America’s visa and immigration policy; enforce border security; and fully investigate domestic organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, that have strong links to foreign terrorist groups and are suspected of propagating Islamic terrorism in the United States.”
Mr Carson revealed his six-point plan on foreign policy, and placed the paragraph relating to the CAIR under a section called “Islamic State” .
So far Mr Carson has not provided any evidence of CAIR’s "strong links" to terrorism.
Ibrahim Hooper, communications director at CAIR, told The Independent: “We are proud of our 21-year history of civil rights advocacy and our history of defending the constitution.”
“Ben Carson is grasping at straws. He is trying to gain relevance in a world where he is being sidelined by his own fellow candidates.”
Mr Hooper said Mr Carson attacks CAIR because the institution has publicly criticized his policies, and Mr Carson has gained support in the past from similar attacks.
In his foreign policy document, Mr Carson also said he would re-build military assets to face threats from North Korea, re-strengthen relations with Israel and “wage war” on ISIS by building a community of Muslim leaders and “making them choose” between radical jihad ways and peace.
“We will study the jihadists’ ideology and anticipate their next move […],” he added.