"This is the year 2015!": Bernie Sanders rips Ben Carson's Islamophobic remarks as being un-American

"This is the year 2015," Sanders said, before listing other groups the GOP thought were "unfit" to be president

Published September 21, 2015 12:50PM (EDT)

  (AP/Evan Vucci)
(AP/Evan Vucci)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders lit into GOP hopeful Ben Carson for saying that he "would not ever advocate putting a Muslim in charge of this nation."

"This is the year 2015," Sanders told NBC News at a campaign field office in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

"For a long, long time in the history of America, there were people who would say, 'You know, we don't want a Catholic to be president of the United States.' And then John F. Kennedy became president in 1960," he explained.

"And then people said, 'Oh, we don't want a black guy -- African American to be president of the United States,' and then finally Barack Obama became president of the United States," he continued.

"Look, you judge candidates for president not on their religion, not on the color of their skin, but on their ideas on what they stand for," Sanders concluded. "That's what democracy is supposed to be about. So I was very disappointed in Dr. Carson's statement and I disagree with him."

Sanders repeated his criticism in a series of tweets later that day:

The first Muslim elected to Congress, Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, also issued a statement.

"For Ben Carson, Donald Trump, or any other Republican politician to suggest that someone of any faith is unfit for office is out of touch with who we are as a people," he argued.

"It’s unimaginable that the leading GOP presidential candidates are resorting to fear mongering to benefit their campaigns, and every American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry."

Watch the entire statement below via NBC News.

By Scott Eric Kaufman

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Ben Carson Bernie Sanders Elections 2016 Islamophobia Nbc News Video