Carson is echoing fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who spent the weekend claiming he saw “thousands and thousands” of people in Jersey City, New Jersey, publicly cheering the terrorist attacks in 2001. On Monday, Carson told ABC News’s Katherine Faulders that he saw news coverage of American Muslims cheering too. He adds, “I don’t know if, on the basis of that, you can say all Muslims are bad people. I really think that would be a stretch.”
The claim is a myth that’s been cycling through email inboxes in some form many years. As the internet rumor debunker Snopes.com points out, it’s possible the rumor originated when five Israeli men were spotted taking selfies on the Jersey waterfront that day. They were interrogated by the FBI, and eventually released. The New York Times reports, “No news reports exist of people cheering in the streets, and both police officials and the mayor of Jersey City have said that it did not happen.”
Carson has repeated myths and rumors from questionable sources. He suggested Jews could have stopped the Nazis if they’d had personal firearms. (That Hitler backed gun control is a popular chain email, and Joe the Plumber used one as a script for a 2012 campaign ad.) Carson claimed China was fighting in Syria, based on a phone call with a freelance intelligence operative in Iraq. He falsely claimed “every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.” He... well, you can just scroll through the Ben Carson tag on PolitiFact.