Herman Cain assailed as 'bigoted' over Muslim remarks
March 28th, 2011
04:36 PM ET
4 years ago

Herman Cain assailed as 'bigoted' over Muslim remarks

Washington (CNN) - A leading Muslim advocacy group accused potential presidential candidate Herman Cain of spewing "bigoted speech" Monday following remarks he made at a conservative conference last weekend.

While attending the Conservative Principles Conference last weekend in Iowa, Cain told a reporter- if he became president – he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or as a federal judge.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) expressed outrage on Monday, saying Cain's words show how "right wing" conservatives are currently engaging in Muslim bashing.

"Even post 9/11 you didn't have this level of mainstreaming of anti-Muslim hate as you have now," said Ibrahim Hooper, National Communications Director for CAIR.

Cain's comments came in response to a question from a reporter for liberal-leaning Think Progress about potentially appointing a Muslim in a Cain administration.

"No, I will not," Cain responded. "And here's why. There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government. This is what happened in Europe. And little by little, to try and be politically correct, they made this little change, they made this little change. And now they've got a social problem that they don't know what to do with hardly."

Sharia law is derived from the Quran, the holy book of Islam. It informs Muslims with rules on how to live their everyday lives – including how to fast and how to pray. Some Muslim countries use Sharia law as a basis for their laws, particularly concerning crimes against Allah, against society and crimes of revenge.

Cain continued by recounting a question he'd recently received.

"I was asked, 'What is the role of Islam in America?' I thought it was an odd question. I said, 'The role of Islam in America is for those that believe in Islam to practice it and leave us alone. Just like Christianity. We have a First Amendment. And I get upset when the Muslims in this country - some of them – try to force their Sharia law onto the rest of us.'"

Cain mentioned anti-Sharia law legislation that passed in Oklahoma, last year. Other states have also taken up such measures.

In criticizing Cain's comments, Hooper characterized them as going "even beyond the almost routine Muslim-bashing we see coming from the right wing of the political spectrum."

Hooper was asked to specifically address Cain's assertion, echoed by other conservatives, that some Muslims are trying to invoke Sharia law into the United States.

"It's a manufactured controversy," Hooper said. "There is nothing to it. It would be laughable if it weren't having such a negative impact on the lives of Muslim Americans."

"There are millions of American Muslims that are just as much 'Us,' as he [Cain] is."

Cain's communications director, Ellen Carmichael, stressed to CNN that Cain "believes that everyone in this country has the right to practice whatever religion they choose."

And she tried to re-characterize Cain's comments.

"Just as he would never appoint a Catholic who is loyal to the Pope before he or she is loyal to the Constitution, Mr. Cain would never appoint a Muslim who believes Sharia law trumps our U.S. Constitution," Carmichael said.

"Anyone who is in the business of making laws, or interpreting laws, should use the Constitution and nothing else."

And she addressed CAIR's criticism of Cain, an African-American.

"The claim that he is bigoted – when he himself has lived the majority of his childhood and young adult life under segregation – is pretty baseless."

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN


Filed under: Herman Cain
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. gt

    ahh.. the drum beats of the pagans have begun.... its because of religion.... or have we for got of hitler .. stalin and lein...opps they were not christians..... think again...

    March 28, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. marty in MA

    Seems you have to be a certified nutjob to be a member of the GOP.
    They are coming out of the woodwork lately, haven't they?

    March 28, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    "The claim that he is bigoted – when he himself has lived the majority of his childhood and young adult life under segregation – is pretty baseless."

    So people who've been the victim of racism can't be racist themselves?!?

    Isn't that a racist thing to say?

    March 28, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  4. william reno

    You have the right to your religion, just as long as it doesn't try to change the law of the land. How hard a concept is that to understand.

    March 28, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. rob

    First, he said Muslims can practice their rel, just not hoist it on anyone else...you know, how you liberals scream about the rel right in this country. Second CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator with Hamas for raising money for that terrorist org. CNN has no business printing anything these terrorist sympathizers have to complain about...their are plenty of Muslim advocacy groups who CNN could have gotten opinions from.

    March 28, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    False propaganda is as dangerous as the 911 attackers and I am ashame of Cain's remarks because he of all people represents a history of hate and violence. I'm ashame of Cain and you should be too.

    March 28, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. blake

    Is Mr. Cain wrong in expressing concerns about attempts by radical Muslims to introduce Sharia law into the American legal system? Is it not already happening under some naive leftist judges? The left, with their PC view of reality, is often extremely out of touch with reality. Safeguards need to be put into place. Anyone who has done any study on fundamentalist Islam knows without any ambiguity what Islam's global objective and methodology is.

    March 28, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. Cassandra

    Islam is an insane religion but so is christianity. They are all equally insane and no religion should be respected or honored by government.

    March 28, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Mi Poo

    Doesn't this violate the idea of not having a religious test for running for office or voting, etc? Excuse me? Maybe you should familiarize yourself with the law before you run for president (idiot).

    March 28, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Patrick from Minnesota

    It appears the 2012 Republican nomination has become a race to the bottom for indecency. I'm beginning to think these guys don't actually want to win. If they do actually want to win, they've not only stalled out of the starting gate, they threw it into reverse.

    March 28, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. Elphaba

    Thats right all you Republicans who pander to your base. Keep alienating yourselves from the mainstream voters. The Republicans had a gift from God when they won the November elections. Since then, they've done everything to prove they didn't deserve the seats they won. Yaza, yaza, yaza! Keep preaching to your choir, small though it may be.

    March 28, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. Patrick from Minnesota

    Why does no Republican apparently have a clue about what Sharia Law is?

    March 28, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. JoeT

    The US Constitution quite clearly states that no religious test will be used to determine eligibility for federal office.

    March 28, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. DENNIS OYAMA

    Americans should study history in addtion to improving their math scores.

    1. The "yellow Peril". Today everyone eats shushi, uses chopsticks and drives Japanes cars.
    2. A Catholic President would be too influenced by the Vatican. Kennedy was a great President.

    The list goes on.

    It is tragic that an African American, who should understand the evils of stereotyping and prejudice, would make such a statement.

    March 28, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. K3Citizen

    Cain is just another example of why the republican party is on the downhill slide.

    March 28, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. MM22

    inglourious: "Where does that leave Cain (and his fans) other than completely ignorant of the Constitution? Article 6 states: "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." ... That means that Muslims cannot be disqualified from any public office simply because they are Muslims."

    Not quite. No religious test can be imposed by law or by Congress. A President, a Congressman, a Governor, etc. can pick and choose their aides and cabinet members by whatever criteria they choose. If that means being a pro- abortion Democrat, so be it. If it means being a Christian Republican, so be it.

    Just because Cain is wrong doesn't mean distorting law and facts is acceptable.

    March 28, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. sinpolitica

    Just because he is black doesn't mean he can't be a bigot. He's just a bigot who is against Muslims and probably anyone else he doesn't agree with.

    I attribute a lot of garbage coming from the mouths of the ignorant as truly the ill informed or immensely dense and uneducated. He may have a received a degree somewhere but I can't imagine he learned much or accepted other cultures.

    It's a shame to be so human but be so clueless.

    March 28, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. MM22

    inglourious: "Where does that leave Cain (and his fans) other than completely ignorant of the Constitution? Article 6 states: "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." ... That means that Muslims cannot be disqualified from any public office simply because they are Muslims."

    Not quite. No religious test can be imposed by law or by Congress. A President, a Congressman, a Governor, etc. can pick and choose their aides and cabinet members by whatever criteria they choose. If that means being a pro- abo rtion Democrat, so be it. If it means being a Christian Republican, so be it.

    Just because Cain is wrong doesn't mean distorting law and facts is acceptable.

    March 28, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. anthony constantino

    I support Herman Crane's viewpoint to the letter. We do not want Muslims in our government. They have their own agenda that is not according to the US Constitution. They want to radicalize Americans against Americans. Send the all back their homelands

    March 28, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. michael

    does everyone in this country have the right to the same freedoms as everyone else..I certainly hope so..he is a bigot plain and simple

    March 28, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  21. Don Johnson

    "The role of Islam in America is for those that believe in Islam to practice it and leave us alone. Just like Christianity"

    Ok, so does that mean he would support the repeal of "Defense of Marriage Act" since it was rooted in Christianity being forced into our government? How about allowing Gay marriage? This can be flipped around, and I would be interested to know if support goes both ways or truly is bigoted.

    March 28, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. Bill

    At least Mr. Cain is honest about it.

    March 28, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. sl

    God, I can't wait for us New Englanders to secede... it's embarrassing being tied to the same country as this idiot...

    March 28, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  24. Gail Duituturaga

    I don't think he is wrong. For example CAIR is using shariah to stop freedom of expression. Cain told us what he thought. So either vote or don't vote for him. To try to shut him up is using shariah. So yes it is creeping in.
    The deal with Islam is that Mohammed said you do three things; 1) lay low when you are in the minority. As he did in Mecca
    2) Become defensive when your population can sustain it. 3) Attack when you are in the majority and apply the principles of Islam.

    March 28, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  25. Sailor

    "Sharia law is derived from the Quran, the holy book of Islam. It informs Muslims with rules on how to live their everyday lives – including how to fast and how to pray. Some Muslim countries use Sharia law as a basis for their laws, particularly concerning crimes against Allah, against society and crimes of revenge."

    Not quite correct CNN, and deliberately played down to "take the sting" out of Sharia law. Devout Muslims who wish Sharia law to be a guide in our secular system, cannot act in ways supportive of a democratic system. First, in Sharia, loyalty must be to Allah/Muhammed/Koran/Hadith/the Ummah, not our Constitution. All civil institutions must be subservient to these religious forces. Also, devout Muslims are obligated by their faith to promote the primacy of Islam and its institutions, including Sharia. Much more could be said, but you get the picture. People like Ibrahim Hooper (CAIR is a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood) are pushing "soft jihad", and by its editorializing comment above, CNN has once again taken the bait.

    March 28, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
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