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Herman Cain’s Muslim Problem

25 May 2011 Mother Jones 6 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

— By Tim Murphy| Wed May. 25, 2011 8:33 AM PDT

On Tuesday, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain dropped by Glenn Beck’s radio program to argue that his previous promise to not appoint any Muslims to his Cabinet had been “misconstrued.” As he put it: “I did not say that I would not have them in my cabinet. If you look at my career, I have hired good people regardless of race, religion, sex gender, orientation, and this kind of thing.”

Cain’s position now is that only radical Muslims would be prohibited from serving in his administration. That sounds reasonable. Except he told Laura Ingraham in April that he’s never met a Muslim who didn’t fit his definition of a radical—and in the same interview, alleged that Rep. Keith Ellison (D–Minn.), who’s Muslim, has pledged his loyalty to Allah, not the Constitution. But even if Cain’s original statement, and subsequent defenses of it, were misconstrued, he still hasn’t adequately explained the rest of what he told Think Progress back in April.

When asked for examples of the “creeping attempt…to gradually ease” Islamic sharia law into the American judicial system he explained:

One judge did it up in New Jersey, and ruled in a case. Then last week we heard about a judge down in was it Texas? It might have been Texas where a judge said there was a dispute in a mosque and he was gonna consider ‘eclesiastical’ law in his deliberations, because of a dispute that was going on inside a mosque. This is the United States of America. Just because it’s going on inside a mosque doesnt mean you execute the laws based on what’s going on in the [mosque].”

Cain is right: This is the United States of America. But everything else here is inaccurate. In the civil case in question—which was in Florida, not Texas—the judge (a Republican) ruled that he was going to use “ecclesiastical” law because both parties had agreed, per their mutually agreed-upon contract, to settle their dispute through ecclesiastical Islamic law, in the form of a Muslim arbitrator. That’s totally normal; Christians and Jews also take advantage of independent arbitrators to settle disputes. If the government were to ban the use of such forums, it would mark a dramatic encroachment on the First Amendment’s freedom of religion—I’m fairly certain that Herman Cain doesn’t want to run for President on the platform of restricting Christians’ free speech rights. The actual trial, the judge noted, would be conducted according to Florida civil law; he was simply assessing whether the arbitration process had been handled properly.

Anyone can make a gaffe, which is how Cain is spinning his “no Muslims” comment. But the more serious problem isn’t that Cain misspoke; it’s that he has taken an extreme, unconstitutional position based on a conspiracy theory that could have been debunked in 30 seconds.

Original post: Herman Cain’s Muslim Problem


  1. Hi!

  2. Pam Geller is an American Hero

  3. Herman…..who?

  4. It is sad when someone who has faced racism and prejudice can pass it on to others so quickly and with no problem.
    Has this man forgotten that at one time, he would not had the opportunity to seek the office of president. Did this man forget about Jim Crow and segragation laws against his ancestor. Did he forget what slavery and hatred because of color was all about. Did he forget that many slaves stolen from our home land were muslim.
    Seems that money has made him forget who he is and where he comes from.
    What goes around comes around.
    We all know that some REpubican in the back room is calling him other than his name. And that word most likely starts with the letter “N”.
    How soon people forget.
    Please excuse the spelling errors. mind moves faster than fingers sometimes.
    As Saleem Alikum to all.

  5. Alan:

    Surely the “z” and “h” keys are nowhere near one another.

    Here’s the correction to your post:

    “Pam Geller is an American Zero”. And that’s not to mention the facts of her being a hateful, lying Islamaphobe.

  6. the z is bottom left and the h right in the middle? how could this be so, Pam Geller is a moron….
    of course your god seems no better,,,,,
    from the battle of badr?????????????

    [8.12] When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.
    [8.13] This is because they acted adversely to Allah and His Apostle; and whoever acts adversely to Allah and His Apostle– then surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil).
    [8.14] This– taste it, and (know) that for the unbelievers is the chastisement of fire.
    [8.15] O you who believe! when you meet those who disbelieve marching for war, then turn not your backs to them.
    [8.16] And whoever shall turn his back to them on that day– unless he turn aside for the sake of fighting or withdraws to a company– then he, indeed, becomes deserving of Allah’s wrath, and his abode is hell; and an evil destination shall it be.
    [8.17] So you did not slay them, but it was Allah Who slew them, and you did not smite when you smote (the enemy), but it was Allah Who smote, and that He might confer upon the believers a good gift from Himself; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
    [8.18] This, and that Allah is the weakener of the struggle of the unbelievers.
    [8.19] If you demanded a judgment, the judgment has then indeed come to you; and if you desist, it will be better for you; and if you turn back (to fight), We (too) shall turn back, and your forces shall avail you nothing, though they may be many, and (know) that Allah is with the believers.
    [8.20] O you who believe! obey Allah and His Apostle and do not turn back from Him while you hear.
    [8.21] And be not like those who said, We hear, and they did not obey.

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