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. TM

    Cain wouldn't know the meaning of the First Amendment if it was right in front of him pained in letters 20 feet tall

    July 17, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Peter E

    I have never seen republicans so vocally in favor of government interference in PRIVATE PROPERTY. I thought they hated government interference in PRIVATE PROPERTY.

    I also love how American muslims have to prove their loyalty to America, even though it was foreigners who perpetrated 9/11.
    Of course, NRA members and anti-government advocates (Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was a vocal advocate of the NRA, was a registered republican and became the greatest home-grown terrorist in America) do not have to prove their loyalty to America... We all know they LOVE America... they just feel it justified to kill those they disagree with.

    July 17, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. Ron

    I love this guy. He is an example of the proof that we blacks will not vote for someone strictly because they are of color. More proof..we didn't come out for Jessie Jackson, nor the year Al Sharpton ran. But this dude has no chance at all. 1. He's black ( I know, I know, bad thing to say but true) 2. He is a Republican (who's name is mud with most black people, and most of the country not feeling them now) 3. He says stupid things like he does not support someone building a mosque or worshiping near him. 4.He thinks Republicans are stupid apparently.. ( you can't come out as the "black Republican and say things contradictory to the other black guy) and think anyone..even black folk will believe you or take you seriously

    July 17, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. ThsIsNotReal

    Any sort of liking I have for Herman Cain goes down every time he speaks. RON PAUL for 2012! He will give all groups their freedoms without any sort of discrimination.

    July 17, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes, let's hate muslims, because they attacked us... it all began on 9/11... long as you ignore the past century of colonialism and puppet regimes the USA has supported and continues to support.

    America loves democracy... that's why we funded and armed Saddam Hussein. That's why we funded and armed the Taliban. That's why we funded and armed the repressive regime of the Iranian shah. That's why we funded and armed the repressive dictatorships of Mubarak, Musharaf, the Saudi royal family, and half a dozen other middleeastern and central asian countries.
    Yes, I'm sure the first injury happened only in 2001. Until then we were such great friends of muslims...

    July 17, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    His pizzas are crappy too...

    July 17, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. JamesKlimaski

    Mr. Cain seems to forget about the restrictive covenants whereby communities kept Backs or Jews or Native Americans from living there. This is the same thing. I'd bet there are lots of places in the U.S. that would like to keep him out despite his money.

    July 17, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. independent voter

    That's the same argument that was used during the 60's when black people wanted to build churches in the south. Bigotry comes in all shapes and colors.

    July 17, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  9. a6102658

    This your typical high quality Tea Party candidate, they have nothing to offer that affects the whole nation, it is only food for Zombies, this specially catered for weak minded sheep, than can be fed Hate and made them feel as if the were a special subset of a human race.

    July 17, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. Andrew

    This is religious bigotry, pure and simple. If it was a Christian church or a synagogue, no one would care. Muslim does NOT equal terrorist. Muslim does NOT equal un-American. This guys are catering to crazy people and thank god he will not be elected, there are more smart people in this country that the people who is catering for. You would think a black guy would be more sensitive to bigotry and discrimination but I guess, money and power blinds people and make them say anything to win. Well, they keep up the selling of American values and before long we will be a third world country and not much better than any Muslim country that breads hate.

    July 17, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. Midwestmatt

    Aaaaaaaaaand, plop goes his fantasy candidacy...

    Right into the racist muck he obviously sees no irony in wallowing in.

    July 17, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    If Herman Cain doesn't live in the area, then he shouldn't be speaking about this. Every religion has some rules of how to conduct oneself in public and private. These are life guides and if he can't see that every religion does that, then he hasn't studied his own.

    July 17, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  13. John

    This kind of hateful thinking is becoming mainstream among Republicans. The public figures for the most part won't say such things in public. But they know their base thinks this way, and they will cater to them.

    July 17, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  14. Chipster

    "The church part of our First Amendment. . . .??? " Does Cain mean that "freedom of religion" part that says that the state can't promote religion and that people are free to worship without government interference? I suppose Cain never bothered to research anything about the Mosque in TN or else he would know that the Mosque has been there for many, many years. They simply want to expand the size of the Mosque for the increase in the number of their worshipers. Cain's idea of erring on the side of caution is to toss the Constitution in the garbage and deny Muslim Americans their rights. Muslim Americans died on 9/11 too, some of them were firefights and police officers who gave their lives trying to save others. Some Muslim Americans are serving their country in our armed forces too but Cain claims he isn't discriminating? He's only fooling himself.

    July 17, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  15. Alex in Wisconsin

    Let's wait for the other shoe to fall. If Mr. Cain agrees that a community banning Churches and synagogues is ok, then there is no discrimination involved. If he thinks its wrong for a community to ban a Church, the it's classic discrimination and he should be ashamed of himself. As an African American who lived through the 60s, he should know to oppose discrimination in all forms, lest the African American community is taken back to the pre-civil rights era by force.......oh yea, he's running with the Tea Party. Nevermind the latter.

    July 17, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  16. Chipster

    Cain's position that "....ultimately, people know what is best in their own communities." is both laughable and tragic. I suppose he would have no objections if his community decided it was in their best interest to refuse to allow African Americans to live in their communities or deny only Baptists the right to worship there – since communities know what's best. Does Cain know what's constitutional? Equal protection, civil rights, freedom of religion...those are constitution because without the Constitution, people like George Wallace, Lester Maddox, and Herman Cain would be free to discriminate against those whom they believe are unworthy and perhaps less equal to them. Mr. Cain, look up discrimination in the dictionary please.

    July 17, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  17. Alex in Wisconsin

    Ok, Terrorist are trying to kill us. but as a man of the 60s, he should know that not all terrorist follow Islam. And you don't think Christiantiy mixes government and church? Visit the Vatican. Attend church service at the Church of England. Ask your average tea partier about the role Christianity should play in the governing of the USA. I hate to say it, but Herman Cain makes me miss Michael Steele. At least Chairman Steele was somewhat grounded in reality and was reasonable when Limbaugh let him. This guy needs to come off the Cocoa Puffs and get real

    July 17, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  18. Charles

    Then please tell me why the only place a Muslim congregation was able to build a mosque was across the street from a strip club, while I see 100 million dollar churches everywhere I look.

    It sure doesn't look like discrimination when you're on top. Mr. Cain, how can you seriously look at the color of your skin and adopt the same policies that kept your parents from voting?

    July 17, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  19. Thankfully Independent

    It's not discrimination if church or synagogue construction have also been banned/opposed. So Mr. Cain, how many churches or synagogues are you on record for opposing?

    July 17, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  20. Seattle Sue

    Calm down folks, Mr Cain will not make it through the primary much less become President.

    July 17, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  21. Avram Baskin

    So, what's next? What if people don't want a Jewish Community Center in their town? Herman Cain can say whatever he wants, but in my opinion this is religious discrimination. Freedom of religion is not subject to a popular vote.

    July 17, 2011 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  22. CRB

    I do not know what Cain is running for because he is clearly not running for President of the United States. He really believes that what he is saying is okay. Incredible! Did his advisors quit or something? How could he not see that his ideas regarding Muslims are traveling in the wrong direction?

    Of course his competion is thrilled! Cain represents one less candidate to run against!

    July 17, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  23. me

    Much like a joke, if you have to explain it ... Cain has to explain how his opinion of denying religious beliefs isn't discrimination just because it sounds like discrimination.

    July 17, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  24. Paolo

    To paraphrase Franklin: He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.

    July 17, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  25. Wise1Speak

    FATHER, forgive him, for he know'eth not what he say'eth.

    July 17, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
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