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David Goldman, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, accompanied by his wife Callista, waits to be introduced at a campaign stop at Florence Hospital, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, in Florence, S.C.

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says a Muslim-American seeking office in the U.S. would have to publicly renounce Islamic law to receive his backing.

Speaking at a town hall Tuesday in West Columbia, S.C., Gingrich was asked whether he could support a Muslim-American candidate.

The former House speaker replied that it would depend entirely on whether the person would commit in public to give up sharia, of Islamic law.

Gingrich said he is totally opposed to Islamic law and supports a federal law that would pre-empt it.

Gingrich says he could support a Muslim candidate if that person was integrated in the modern world and prepared to recognize all religions.