Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson ignited a minor controversy on Thursday when he seemingly compared Syrian refugees to dogs.
The Republican presidential candidate made the curious comparison while campaigning in Alabama.
“We must balance safety against just being a humanitarian,” Carson said. “For instance, if there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighbourhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog. And you’re probably going to put your children out of the way.”
Carson stressed that the this sort of approach “doesn’t that mean you hate all dogs by any stretch of the imagination.”
“But you’re putting your intellect into motion,” he added. “And you’re thinking, ‘How do I protect my children? At the same time, I love dogs. And I’m going to call the Humane Society and hopefully they can come take this dog away and create a safe environment once again.'”
Republicans like Carson staunchly oppose President Barack Obama’s plan to accept 10,000 refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria over the next fiscal year. The controversy became a flash point after last week’s terror attack in Paris. A Syrian refugee passport was reportedly found on one of the attackers, though its authenticity has not been confirmed.
Carson went on to compare the security screening process for refugees to being able to identify the “mad dogs,” or terrorists.
“By the same token, we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly,” he continued.
“Who are the people who want to come in here and hurt us and want to destroy us?” Carson said. “Until we know how to do that — just like it would be foolish to put your child out in the neighbourhood, knowing that that was going on — it’s foolish for us to accept people if we cannot have the appropriate type of screening.”
NOW WATCH: This woman got a prime seat at a Trump rally, and spent the whole time reading a book about racism
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.