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. sjenner

    Assuming this article is accurate, there is absolutely no logic to Cain's statement. While communities do have the right to control zoning and planning, they do NOT have the right to use those laws to discriminate against people civil rights, including First Amendment right to religious freedom and liberty. In other words, laws must be applied equally. That is a core constitutional principal. It is highly incongruous, to say the least, that someone like Cain can wrap himself in the Constitution, yet approve of tactics that violate its most basic tenants.

    July 17, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. kyle

    It's pure discrimination, if he would have said religous building I would understand, but to point out one religion that's wrong.

    July 17, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Maybe we don't want any black churches in OUR town ................................ Maybe we don't want any churches in our town that promote the KKK ................................... Maybe we don't want churches in our town that preach to republicans ........................

    It could go on and on and on.

    Just saying.

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

    On the other hand, he does represent the views of the average Republican quite well.

    July 17, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. sparky

    the new american christian taliban is brought to you by the loons seeking the gop nomination.
    so half of the country sides with the republicans, out of all that population this is the brain trust that rose to the top...

    July 17, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Marcello

    Doesn't this guy have anything else to talk about? He's the most monotonous bigot yet. At least Archie Bunker gave us a laugh every once in a while.

    July 17, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Terje

    Some fundamentalist Christians think Mormonism is a dangerous cult. Does that mean that communities can stop the opening of new LDS temples?

    Anti-Semites believe conspiracy theories that claim Jews are dangerous. Should they be allowed to stop the construction of a synagogue in their community?

    Many in the gay community view the fundamentalist Protestant churches as a fundamental danger to their human rights. Does that mean that a predominately gay community has the right to stop a Baptist Church from opening there?

    Witches have been viciously persecuted in the past by various Christian churches. Does that history give them the right to oppose any future church construction?

    Should parents be allowed to stop the construction of a Catholic Church, because the history of sexual abuse means they "would rather err on the side of caution" in order to protect their kids?

    And atheists who are able to point to the war and violence historically conducted in the name of organized religion doubtless view all religion as dangerous. Don't they have a valid objection to the construction of any house of worship?

    How ironic, in 1993 Republicans and conservatives were adamant about enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act – a federal law that prohibits state and local government from using things like local zoning laws to interfere in religious practices. The simple fact is that today those same advocates are mounting an assault on the freedom of one specific religion. Try to imagine how they would feel if the same arguments were being used to try to stop the construction of fundamentalist Christian churches.

    July 17, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    See any similarities between Cain and the Taliban?

    July 17, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. troll hunter

    what if i don't want a godfather's pizza in my community?

    July 17, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Ignore him and anyone like him. Maybe HE should move to Somalia along with some other people that want to do away with our government and our rights and rules.

    July 17, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. John

    One could say the same thing for Christianity. They want us to follow the bible, and put the 10 commandments in the courtroom. They try to instill their point of view into everyone's life.
    Let's keep religion separate from everything.

    July 17, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. WiserThanEwe

    I agree, freedom of religion should be repealed. We should be able to keep churches out of our neighborhoods, too. For that matter, the Bill of Rights has some other troublings problems. No more assembly without permits! The press should have to get everything cleared before publication! Speaking against the president should be a crime. (This is only Republican presidents – speaking against a Democrat is a duty, not a crime). Guns should be banned. Opps, sorry. This is the amendment that keeps America free – let's keep just that one.

    July 17, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Asq

    Soo, I take it that this is Cain's official withdrawal from his presidential campaign?

    July 17, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. rhumba

    But it is discrimination to say that you'd NEVER hire a Muslim. You republicans love that word "never", don't you?

    July 17, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. A Kickin` Donkey

    I watched the interview and understand Cain`s position.

    He is a Republican. Translation: he believes he is empowered to impose his racism on Muslims because he feels some Muslims are intent on imposes Sharia law as a party of practicing their religion.

    Regardsless of how demented or practical this view might be, this is America – that is not how we handle the concern. If they own the land, they can build the mosque.

    Cain is afraid that enough Muslims that want to impose Sharia will gain a majority and then use the Democratic process to impliment it. The big flaw in this logic is that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Muslims cant impose anything that trumps it.

    July 17, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. Phillip Davis

    I'm sorry Mr. Cain, but you and whoever else that are fighting this is in violation of the First Amendment - not to mention Universal Human Rights. You argue that terrorists are trying to kill us, but terrorists are trying to kill Muslims also. And another thing to think about - we have American terrorist right here in our own backyards. Look at all the crime on the streets. It may not have hit your neighborhood yet, but when it does, you will have a totally different perspective on the situation. The point is, there are good and bad people everywhere, in every religion, and prohibiting a Mosque is not going to solve the problem. Also, I don't know the percentage of Muslim Americans, but I can imagine it to be quite many, and trust me, they will practice their faith. Finally, have you ever heard of the term "Cultural Relativism"? You guys should look into that and began your journey to acknowledgment and acceptance. And please do not use this issue as part of your campaign. Respectfully.

    July 17, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. Abdou Abdel-Rehim

    I wish you never get elected.

    July 17, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  18. B

    Mr. Cain is a very angry man, not exactly what the country needs right now.

    A steady hand at the helm is what we currently have.

    July 17, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  19. Eric

    This would be much easier if he said that neighborhoods should have the right to opposing the building of religious building they don't want there. It would go a much longer way instead of singling out muslims and applied it to all religious buildings. I can tell you I don't want a church built across the street from me and I think I should have the right to oppose projects in my neighborhood. People do this all the time with businesses, religious institutions should be no different.

    July 17, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Chuck

    I now agree that he is more qualified than making stupid statements.

    July 17, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  21. hercurock

    Amen...nuff said

    July 17, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. Palermo

    Comical that his arguments against Muslims are the exact same arguments used against African Americans years ago.

    July 17, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. Ramesh Shrestha

    Mr. Cain, I have a question for you. How many other preventive things that happened in America in the past are you willing to call nondiscriminatory? Blacks not allowed to ride in the front of the buses, Blacks not allowed to vote, Blacks not allowed to use public facilities, a Mormon senator not allowed to seat in the Chamber, women not allowed to vote, Mormons not allowed to build their them how many? It is a shameful hypocrisy on your part. America does not need a stupid president as you.

    July 17, 2011 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  24. BigEasy In New Orleans

    I am wondering what his thoughts would be if they opposed an Afro-American Baptist church???

    July 17, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. larryww

    it has nothing to do with his color....Cain is just ignorant and republicans like him.

    July 17, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
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