Herman Cain Doubles Down On His Anti-Muslim Bigotry
It was bad enough when Herman Cain said he wouldn’t hire a Muslim, a position he later modified to suggest that he’d make any Muslim job applicant to his Administration take some special loyalty oath. Now, during a campaign stop in Tennessee, Cain said that a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro would be an affront to religious liberty:
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain opposes a planned Tennessee mosque that has been the subject of protests and legal challenges.
Cain didn’t bring up the controversial facility in a campaign rally on Thursday, but told reporters afterward that he’s concerned about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
“It is an infringement and an abuse of our freedom of religion,” he said. “And I don’t agree with what’s happening, because this isn’t an innocent mosque.”
Opponents have used the hearings to argue that the mosque is part of a plot to expand Islamic extremism in the U.S. Cain appeared to agree.
“It is another example of why I believe in American laws and American courts,” Cain said. “This is just another way to try to gradually sneak Shariah law into our laws, and I absolutely object to that.”
As with Cain’s unconstitutional religious test however, the problem for him and other mosque opponents is not sharia law. It’s U.S. law. There are both federal and state laws on the books that prevent local zoning laws from being used to block construction of religious institutions, which is why opponents argue that Islam isn’t a religion. At both the federal and the state level, those bills were the work of Republicans — it just didn’t occur to them at the time that “religious freedom” applied to Muslims. The judge, not surprisingly, agreed that Islam is a religion and let construction go forward.(…)
The reason why Cain keeps getting asked about his anti-Muslim views is that no other 2012 GOPer has matched his extensive use of anti-Muslim rhetoric to win over the Islamophobic wing of the Republican base. Cain may not be doing too well in the polls, but if there’s an anti-Muslim primary underway, he is the clear frontrunner. With people like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum in the race, that’s no small achievement, although I’m not sure it’s one to be proud of.