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For Immediate Release:

September 22, 2015

Contact: Sami Disu (917) 365-3563 or

Statement from Bertha Lewis on Republican Presidential Candidate Ben Carson’s “Doubling Down” on Islamophobic Remarks

 New York, NY—Black Institute President Bertha Lewis released the following statement in response to Republican Presidential Candidate Ben Carson’s facebook post confirming that he could never support a Muslim to be president:

“Ben Carson may be too ignorant to realize it, but his crude religious intolerance is also directed at a growing population of African-born Muslims living in the U.S. Most saddening, Carson’s rhetoric flies in the face of the solidarity he has profoundly expressed for his ancestors from Nigeria, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Congo and Angola after voluntarily undergoing a DNA test.”

There are more than half a million immigrants from North and East Africa in the U.S., and 11% of first-generation Muslim immigrants are from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Yet African immigrants of all religions have struggled to gain political representation perhaps more than other ethnic group and the consequences are clear to see: the African-immigrant communities struggle with housing, employment and economic concerns because their needs are not being heard.

Xenophobic comments like Ben Carson’s make the African immigrant community afraid to step out of the shadows when it should be organizing and asserting itself. In a new report entitled “Taxation Without Representation,” The Black Institute lays out solutions for increasing African political influence, like allowing non-citizen voting in municipal elections, expanding translation services and modernizing the U.S. census so it produces better results on questions like country of origin and languages spoken at home.

The Black Institute will be mailing Dr. Ben Carson a copy of our report. 1.2 million African immigrants are hoping he’s not too busy with brain surgery to read it.”


Led by Bertha Lewis, the Black Institute works to shape intellectual discourse and impact public policy from a uniquely Black perspective. 

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