Cain: Opposing mosque construction is not discrimination
July 17th, 2011
03:22 PM ET
11 years ago

Cain: Opposing mosque construction is not discrimination

(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.

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. David

    I don't think "separation of church and state" means what you think it means.

    July 17, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. psalad

    What a fool. Does he think Christians should be prevented from building a church in a neighborhood as well? What, exactly, does he think religious freedom means?

    July 17, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. pn

    From somebody who claimed to be more qualified than Bachmann. Is this guy completely wacko?

    July 17, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Yeah except it's the very definition of discrimination....... other than that you're right. Pathetic

    July 17, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Majestic

    "Opposing mosque construction is not discrimination" Yes, it is.

    July 17, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. George

    This is religious bigotry, pure and simple. If it was a Christian church, no one would care. Muslim does NOT equal terrorist. Muslim does NOT equal un-American.

    July 17, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Larry L

    I'm old enough to recall the 1950s and my redneck relatives arguing for separate-but-equal schools for African American children. A part of their argument had to do with "safety, sanitation and morality" issues, since it was common knowledge "those people" tended to resort to violence more than the good white folks, they were unclean, and they generally have a relaxed moral code. Plus, division of the races was ostensibly supported in the Bible. Really? Mr. Cain's logic is also flawed and slanted by a different sort of bigotry – religious.

    July 17, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. marie buch

    It is so sad to hear this man obtusely try to defend his bigoted position.
    And trust me, the audio of the interview is even worse.
    Listened to it on CSPAN recap & it had me reeling!

    July 17, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. John

    Let me see if I understand Mr. Cain's ascertion. We should be willing to give up our religious freedoms for "security" purposes? And, why would Muslems need to "prove" their loyalty any more than, say, members of the church that Timothy McVey (Oklahoma City bombing in 1995) might have attended, or Ted Kosinski (of Uni-bomber fame, if he attended a church). What we have here is an example of thoughts and behaviors that fall right in line with what the terrorists want: A curtailment of the freedoms that our country has stood for for over 230 years. Remember, they hate us simply because we exist, nothing else. Curtailing any freedoms, especially religious freedom, would play right in to theb terrorist's game plan. Let's let people build their houses of worship and be thankful that we stand up for people's right to do that here.

    July 17, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    This is a really sad commentary on this man and many republicans. This country was founded on Freedom of Religion. I am sorry that when my parents marched for would stop marching for those that want religious freedom.

    July 17, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. AmericanDan

    Are we really going to tell religious people that they can't build places of worship in our country? Not only is that problematic in that it subverts our freedoms to worship however we believe, but it's also a violation of property. If I own private property and want to build a church on it, the government has no right to tell me I can't. These are basic American freedoms: religion and property.

    July 17, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Cain claims that "Islam combines church and state". Islam does nothing of the kind. It's true that some PEOPLE who follow Islam do this, but the religion itself expressly forbids it.

    July 17, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. swannee

    This pretty much speaks for itself. These "strict constitution" Republicans are the first ones to throw it out the window when they don't like a particular group it protects. An if the question is: Can a black man be prejudiced? ....yes if he's a Republican.

    July 17, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Errm

    What a bunch of bs. It IS discrimination. People have the right to worship as they choose here! Saying it's not discrimination doesn't make it so, Mr. Caine. Shame on you. The article fails to mention the awful graffiti sprayed on the construction site by a bunch of ignorant losers. What do you think about that, Mr. Caine? Would you file that under "discrimination"? Threatening language against a group of people? And I'd really like to know how he reconciles his "separation of church and state" business with Evangelical churches telling their constituents how to vote! I would reckon that he would not ask that these churches be torn down or their tax-free status taken away.

    July 17, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. GOP - the dumbing of America

    If Islam combines church and state, I'm sure you're pro-abortion then right? right? Didn't think so.

    July 17, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. M Reid

    I agree with Mr. Cain as long as he supports the right for neighbourhoods to ban construction of ANY church they don't like. We should agree to at least be equal opportunity bigots.

    July 17, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Frank in Valparaiso Indiana

    Reading comprehension problems on not setting up a state religion in the Constitution?

    July 17, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. ron

    People have a right of religious freedom under constitution. So, who gives some one a right to preach which religion I have to choose. I am surprised for him not to think this is discrimination. Black people had to struggle to get equality. Now Muslims and other religion followers have to struggle for equality. And he does not see this as discrimination. Of course not because it does not affect him.

    July 17, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. American Muslim

    Is there anything about the GOP that stands for inclusiveness? They sure know how to instill and perpetuate fear of anything they dont understand.

    July 17, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Cain is irrelavent whether he supports or doesn't support mosques, his is just an opinion in which he's entitled. Just like pizza, some people like Godfather's pizza and some people don't, stick to pizza Cain.

    July 17, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. AR1000

    He won't get the nomination. This guy is just a walking foot in his mouth candidate.

    July 17, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. DorisV

    That Cain person must be a real nut job. I think the majority of the republican presidential hopefuls are out of their heads. Islam is a religion. Where does he get off calling it a government. In some countries, they have opted for Islamic governance but stricltly speaking it is not a government. Please Cain, crawl back into whatever hole you emerged from and take Bachmann and Palin with you.

    July 17, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Dale

    Well, it just goes to show that minority folks are not immune to bigotry, racism and hatred.

    July 17, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. George

    Yeah, he's right, who needs freedom of religion, this is America after all.

    July 17, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. John

    Not only Is It Discrimination It all so Racist. And that Pretty bad coming from a Africa American. Something Like This I would expect from the TEA PARTY. I guess you would say the same thing If some people was trying to stop some Africa American from building a church In there Neighborhoods. Than you be singing another tune Than. They have as much right as anybody else does. You mat not like It, but they have the right to do so has long as they can pay for It. You be around the Tea Party to Long. What would you have say if people say It wasn't Discrimination to not let a black man to run a Company and become a Millionaire. You would like that would you . Discrimination Is Discrimination and Racist Is Racist, You just can't pick the one you don't like and say It Isn't so. And just to let you Know I;m a White man. Now would I like One In my Neighborhoods, No I wouldn't . But they do have the right to, but It doesn't mean you got to like It , but you got no right to stop It.

    July 17, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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