Ben Carson calls for surveillance of churches and mosques to counter radicalisation

Ben Carson has called for higher levels of surveillance for all places "where there is a lot of radicalisation going on" including churches and mosques.


"I would be in favour of monitoring a mosque or any church or any organisation or any school or any press corps where there was a lot of radicalisation and things that were anti-American," Carson told reporters at a justice forum in South Carolina.

He repeated this statement to George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Weekend show.

"We need to get very serious about our intelligence," the candidate implored.

Carson has failed to define "radicalisation" or "anti-American", but did say that the FBI needed extra resources, as the agency, according to Carson, could only afford to monitor "30 to 60 people" at a time.

His position on the monitoring of Muslims in the USA is similar to that of fellow Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who has called for a registry for American Muslims and spoken about closing some mosques.

"Hopefully we already have a database of every citizen who is already here," Carson said on Friday, according to Talking Points Memo. "If we don't, we're doing a very poor job."

While suggesting this surveillance, he also claimed that Muslims should not be treated any differently to other American citizens.

"One of the hallmarks of America is that we treat everybody the same," Carson said. "So if we are just going to pick out a particular group of people based on their religion, based on their race, based on some other things – that's pretty dangerous precedent."

He caveated this statement by saying that it would be necessary to survey particular mosques "where there's a lot of activity going on radicalising people".

"I favour doing whatever we have to do to protect the American people," Carson said. "And if, in fact, there are mosques where there's a lot of activity going on that's radicalising people, they must be treated differently."

The first reference to a database was made by Trump in an interview with Yahoo News on Thursday. When asked about Muslims needing to register in a database or carry special identificaiton, the GOP candidate said, "We're going to have to look at a lot of things very closeley."