(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday that communities should be able to prevent the construction of mosques in their neighborhoods.
Cain said he sided with some residents of a Tennessee town who tried to prevent Muslims from worshiping nearby.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, outside Nashville, has been the subject of protests and counter protests earlier. A judge ruled in May that its planned construction did not harm the residents who sued to prevent it, but also allowed claims that the county violated an open meetings law in approving it to move forward. Construction of the new center has yet to start as the case continues.
"Our Constitution guarantees separation of church and state. Islam combines church and state," Cain said on "Fox News Sunday." "They are using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their mosque in that community and the people in the community do not like it, they disagree with it."
The former Godfather's Pizza CEO, who previously indicated Muslims would need to prove their loyalty to the U.S. Constitution before he would appoint them to his administration, said that ultimately, people know what is best in their own communities.
"I'm simply saying I owe it to the American people to be cautious because terrorists are trying to kill us," Cain said. "So yes, I'm going to err on the side of caution, rather than the side of carelessness."
At the same time, Cain said he didn’t think there was any religious discrimination in Murfreesboro residents opposing the mosque or his support for their stand.
As someone who grew up in the '50s and '60s, Cain said, the mosque issue is "totally different" than the civil rights era because of the laws restricting blacks from advancing.