Herman Cain assailed as 'bigoted' over Muslim remarks
March 28th, 2011
04:36 PM ET
7 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. Lisa Mitchell

    Don't care for the speaker, or most of what he stands for, but this, I do agree with~ The Muslims are slowly but surely "invading" Europe and imposing themselves and their beliefs on European societies. That is a fact. Here in America we are consistantly being asked and or forced to hide our flags, and our religious objects, as they are "offensive" to those who worship another God, yet Muslims can block major streets, in major cities, on Fridays to worship their God? I am offended by that, and why does this need to be done in the middle of the street? Why is my child no longer aloud to say the Flag Salute @ school? Im calling BS on this one! That is exactly what they are doing and it is no different than what the Roman Catholics did eons ago.

    March 28, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Pretzel Logic

    Hmm I guess that means he's equally against Mitt Romney's candidacy because he would try to impose Mormon Law on America, right?

    March 28, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  3. Lynne

    "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. -- Just because one has lived under segregation does not mean that they themselves cannot be a bigot! That argument does not stand up under basic logical scrutiny.

    That would be like saying that since I have spent the majority of my adult life over weight that I am attracted to ALL over weight men.....it is a fallacy! The logic does not hold!

    The has nothing to do with the other!

    March 28, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    "And I get upset when the Muslims in this country – some of them – try to force their Sharia law onto the rest of us."

    Where, exactly, is this happening (other than in your small-minded, paranoid little universe)?

    Typical Republican: No ideas, no policies that work, nothing but lies, fear, hatred and division.


    March 28, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  5. Carlton

    You always hear from these idiots whenever somebody says anything they don't like or agree with, but they never say anything while people are being killed all over the world inspired by beliefs in Islam!!! We need more people who are willing to expose these idiots and tell the truth about their motives and agenda, unlike most of our weak American politicians!!! Jesus Christ is Lord!!!

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

    Interesting, that CNN interviewed Ibrahim Hooper- a man who said in an interview before he wanted to see America Islamic someday. Very interesting...

    March 28, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. sassypants

    I agree with Herman Cain.

    March 28, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    I would love to see Karl Rove's reading list ... "The Prince" by Machiavelli ... "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler ..."The Communist Manifesto" and "Capital" by Karl Marx ... "1984" by George Orwell.

    Rove is using all the strategies outlined in these books for subjugating and controlling people, including The Big Lie, dividing a group against itself, fear-mongering, lying, etc., etc., etc., plus a couple he learned at Lee "Willie Horton" Atwater's knee.

    And Cain is just another Republican "hopeful" using Rove's tactics, deluding himself into thinking that when his usefulness is gone (read: the GOP doesn't need a Black guy anymore a la Michael Steele), they'll still want him in their club.

    Pretty pathetic!

    March 28, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. coastlinecascot

    By the way CAIN you have my vote

    March 28, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  10. jules sand-perkins

    "...problem that they don't know what to do with hardly?"
    Never mind whether what Cain says is bigoted or not: what he says is not in English.
    How can we elect a president who speaks that way?
    BTW, he IS a bigot.

    March 28, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. Tamir Ali Abdullah

    This is hate speech dressed in a political opinion. Mr. cain cannot be counted on,for he goes with the popular wave of the day. Hate speech is so easy,maybe too easy. The part of the brain where this is formulated is separate from the "reasoning" part.
    I't's the knee jerk reaction , unreasoned ,blurted out with a lethal dose of 20/20 hindsight for days. Especially for a politician who knows well the public remembers the bad much longer(Forever) than the good you did.Like a cat falling from a tree,flailing to get a grasp at anything that will save oneself from certain injury. We're all familiar with that vertigo feeling when we've said something a little too soon and way to late to pull it back.

    March 28, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  12. Avram Baskin

    Cain is a typical the Republicans who are getting ready to run for President. They make outrageous statements to pander to what they consider to be their base, and then their handlers "explain" what the person really meant. They're so cowardly they won't even take responsibility for their own statements.

    March 28, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Video Guy

    Muslims are a easy target for the GOP Hate group. We must stand up to them or there will be no one to stand up for us when they (GOP) turn there hate machine to the rest of us.

    March 28, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. Ronno

    Yeah, HE'S not getting elected. What a complete and utter moron.

    March 28, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. Keith

    Let me get this straight. Cain CAN'T be bigoted because he's African American, but Obama CAN be bigoted because he's African American. It appears Cain's spokesperson needs to be shown the pile of Tivo clips from FoxNews.

    "Cain mentioned anti-Sharia law legislation that passed in Oklahoma, last year. Other states have also taken up such measures." Where do these illogical loonies come from? The Nazis passed all kinds of laws against the Jews, but that didn't mean the Jews had done anything. Oklahoma's rediculous law is like my justifying that Cain is a thief because I put a sign on my lawn saying "Cain not permitted to steal from me."

    This Republican propaganda machine against the Muslims in order to try and promote the Republican Party is IDENTICAL to the Nazi propaganda machine against the Jews in order to try and promote the Nazi Party. And no, I didn't just call the Republicans Nazis. I just said that their propaganda is directly parallel.

    March 28, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  16. once upon a Horse

    why is it when African American Republicans run for office or make themselves public, they always seems to have to say something that shows that they are not "like the rest of the black people, you know what I mean" as though they are seeking acceptence in that special club of white mainsteam conservatives. West from Florida has done this along with Mike Steele and all it really gets them is token acceptence. They have to say something negative about President Obama so that shows they are not with him because of his racial background, and in this case they have to say something anti-Muslim because that is popular with the right wing base. I wonder if he would appoint maybe a Jehovah Witness to his cabinet or would he reject appointing a Mormon. Not sure if the comment was totally bigoted but it got him attention.

    March 28, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. chelka

    Good for Cain. Tell it like it is. And how about expressing OUTRAGE at the acts and beliefs of Muslims?
    Those beliefs have no place in this country. Stoning, Beheading, Sharia law.
    Muslims go away and take your barbaric animal beliefs with you.

    March 28, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. john

    Herman Cain is a little conflicted on this one. While I agree that, as he puts it: "'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." However, Herman is no Libertarian. His positions consistently are infused with religious elements: opposition to Gay Marriage, denying the right of a woman to choose, prayer in school, etc, etc. Sounds like a double standard to me. Much like the hypocracy that is rampant in the rest of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. It was informative to hear his spokesperson say: "Anyone who is in the business of making laws, or interpreting laws, should use the Constitution and nothing else." Perhaps Little Caesar...er...Herman should make this the central message of his campaign–oh, wait, he only means that to apply to other lawmakers, not to Mr. Cain. Why is it that these extremists never bother to deal with their own hypocracy. What about a secular Muslim, Mr. Cain, what would be so wrong with somebodyl like that? The spokesperson had it right, as long as a potential appointee was guided by only the constitution, then no problem, right?

    March 28, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. vwman

    They are all trying to out extreme each other. They are doing remarkably well!

    March 28, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. sassypants

    I agree with Herman Cain. Call me bigoted. I worked in a muslim owned company where nepotism ruled. I also worked in a global company and trained a muslim to replace me after he almost drove me crazy trying to get me to see things his way. Another one operated in the gray all the time = trouble. I don't like gray and I don't like trouble. Muslims see non-believers as a cancer so with that in mind.. I will make my decisions. I would never want to work under one again because in tough times the family member will keep their job. I also know that a muslim is not capable of representing me or my interests just like a liberal is not. Oil and Water. The stupid people are the ones that continue trying to force groups together from different spiritual families. It will never work because I'm not giving up my soul and I'm not dying for a muslim unless my country needs me too! Jesus came that I might have life and life abundantly and I intend to have that. Jesus Christ is Lord!!

    March 28, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. MakeThemEatCake

    I consider myself an atheist so living by rules that were written down at a time when human life literally had not value. Your religious beliefs were more important that you were. That being said, can someone list any specific examples of "...Muslims in this country – some of them – try to force their Sharia law onto the rest of us.' I can easily say that the GOP is slowly imposing legislation whose sole purpose is to enslave Americans to worldwide business interests.

    March 28, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. Padraig

    Why should we placate and mollify to the Islamic community with Sharia Law. If they want it then go to a country that practices it as the base or fundamentals of their law.

    Why should we bend over backwards for them. We have a set of established laws that work fairly well in this country?

    Good for Mr. Cain.

    March 28, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. KO

    Can you imagine what would happen if a prospective presidential candidate said "I wouldn't appoint a Jew" or "I wouldn't appoint a Catholic" to a cabinet position? Yet, apparently it's acceptable in GOP circles to be discriminatory against Muslims. What a disgrace.

    March 28, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. KO

    I should have read the whole story–I guess he's also bigoted against Catholics (at least he's consistent).

    March 28, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. jeff, alabama

    First and foremost....CAIR is a joke.
    Research them !!!
    Secondly....would Roosevelt have
    appointed a nazi as a judge or to
    his cabinet during world war two ?
    I understand we are at war with
    Islamic extremists. But all of them
    just happen to be muslim.
    No buddist,hindus,christians,or
    jews were involved in the 911
    attack . All the pilots and planners
    and all the people in the streets
    in the mid eastern countries celebrating
    afterward were muslim.

    March 28, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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