published Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Herman Cain’s divisive rhetoric

Herman Cain is one of the lesser known candidates for the 2012 Republican nomination for president of the United States. As such, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza knows that he must build name recognition if his campaign is to gain traction. Cain, unfortunately, has chosen to demonize Muslims as a quick way to win that attention. It’s an appalling decision.

His contention that cities have a right to ban mosques, recently stated in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and then repeated on a national TV news show Sunday, appeals to bigotry and intolerance. While his words have raised his public profile, his talk is so inflammatory and so un-American that his party should condemn his rhetoric as extremist and his candidacy as divisive. So far, GOP leaders have not done so.

The vexing situation in Murfreesboro should be familiar. The Muslim community there, as is its right, wanted to build a mosque, a house of worship, as well as a school and swimming pool for women. There was opposition, however. Some opponents argued that planning and zoning rules were not followed in the approval process. Though the town council said otherwise, that’s a legitimate position on which to oppose the mosque.

Others, however, turned to far more vile means to protest the presence of the mosque.

There was heated and hateful discussion about Muslims and mosques at public meetings. There were acts of vandalism and threats of more at the construction site. And, most ominously, there was talk about how Muslims in Murfreesboro (and, by implication, elsewhere in the United States) want to inject their religious beliefs and Muslim extremism into everyday American society. Cain regrettably seized on the latter to promote his campaign.

His argument is full of holes. He says that Islam is both a religion and a set of laws, called Sharia law. He’s absolutely wrong, though, that Muslims want to impose Shariah law on the United States. Regardless, Cain says that is reason enough for communities to oppose the building of a mosque. He’s apparently forgotten what the Constitution says on such matters.

His talk is a thinly veiled attempt to tie peace-loving, law-abiding U.S. Muslims to the terrorist activities of a relative handful of their co-religionists. There’s nothing to suggest that is the case. There is plenty of evidence to suggest the opposite.

Most U.S. Muslims publicly denounce Muslim terrorists, and many serve proudly and bravely in the armed forces. Indeed, Muslims on the whole are energetic participants in the social, civic, economic and public affairs of their communities and the nation. To suggest otherwise — as Cain does — purposefully muddles constitutional principles and long-standing American values for personal and political gain.

Cain can say what he wants, but he has no role to play in Murfreesboro. A judge has ruled that building the mosque won’t bring harm to residents. He did allow opponents to argue that officials violated open meetings rules when they approved construction. That issue is moving forward. That’s the American way. The case should rise or fall on its merits, regardless of the hateful comments of a politician.

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SeaMonkey said...

islam doesn't need anyone to demonize, it's done a fantastic job of doing it to itself since 600 a.d.

there is no more greater example of bigotry and intolerence than islam as practiced by extremists, who, unfortunately, are the face of their religion these days. convert or die.

islam is both a religion and a set of laws......sharia law should be feared.

i agree with cain on the economy, and i think he has every right to fear islam and the attempt by extremists to spread sharia law and islam at any cost... but, i don't see how under our constitution anyone can stop someone else from building a church. he's wrong on that.

it's hypocritical of the tfp to demand that republican leaders condem him, while democrats don't do a damn thing to condem their candidates for making all kind of accusations and vicious attempts to label individuals or groups that aren't in their camp.

July 19, 2011 at 8:58 a.m.
sangaree said...

Cain, unfortunately, has chosen to demonize Muslims as a quick way to win that attention. It’s an appalling decisionW

Herman Cain is an idiot! America will make friends with those Muslims(at least the lighter skinned ones) and still discriminate against and hate people of Cain's hue. What does he think the GOP and tea partiers have been doing to people who look like him once they don't need them anymore? They've been turning on them and kicking them out of their little exclusive social club left, right and center. Moron!

July 19, 2011 at 9:08 a.m.
chet123 said...

LIBERTARIAN/SEAMONKEY....i hate to rub it in...BUT I TOLD YOU SO LOL LOL

July 19, 2011 at 9:28 a.m.
brokentoe said...

SeaMonkey said...

islam doesn't need anyone to demonize, it's done a fantastic job of doing it to itself since 600 a.d.

So goes Christianity. So go ALL major religions.

July 19, 2011 at 11:55 a.m.
brokentoe said...

What does anything think has been happening in middleastern countries at the hands of the west and other powerful allied countries? They've been turning the lighter skin mideasterners and darker skin mideasterners against one another for decades. In fact, in many of those mideastern countries heavily influenced by the west, Brits and others, many of the people are of those very countries who have been told you are the chosen because of their lighter skin have become extremely bias and bigoted against their fellow mideasterners who are brown and darker skinned toned.

July 19, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.
limric said...

I personally of disagree with Herman Cains views and opinions, but this editorials criticism is premised by the lie of multiculturalism and a fear of being viewed as ‘intolerant’ - to make people believe that what they SHOULD think is more important than what they DO think.

We need to stop pretending that all cultures are equal. Through personal experience, I have seen that they’re not. Islamic culture is NOT equal to Western culture. It encourages violence. Violence against women, violence against Jews, violence against homosexuals and anyone that doesn’t agree with their 13th century laws. Yes, that would be Sharia. It sanctions, polygamy and marrying old men to children in a disgusting travesty of human relations. Anyone on the staff of this publication advocating these kind of values would very quickly find themselves out of a job, if not in jail. It’s NOT equal - It’s inferior. And given radical Islam’s openness about its totalitarian agenda, this is NOT something that should be encouraged in ANY WAY. It should be discouraged by no lawful legislation modification and by rigorous enforcement of the law. Remember, “The law”?
Now, I know that I’m going to be accused of racism and Islamophobia (which by the way is a fallacy) by the usual self-righteous pinheads, but I don’t mind because those words have no value in this context. Islamophobia, A: has been neutralized by repeated dishonest disuse and B: is just a bald faced lie concocted by ultra political correctness in tandem with the religious (Islamc) right in a marriage of convenience which is, well, quite simply beneath contempt.

The media has to stop whining about phony perceptions of intolerance and show a little backbone for once. Just once! Do you expect us to spend our lives cowering like pussies from a handful of violent bigots? If you really want to talk about racism, then look no further than the poisonous dictum of the Koran, a divisive, violent and patronizing racist ideology. Islam has it – in spades! (no pun intended)

July 19, 2011 at 1:45 p.m.
amnestiUSAF84 said...

limric said:

We need to stop pretending that all cultures are equal. Through personal experience, I have seen that they’re not. Islamic culture is NOT equal to Western culture. It encourages violence

So is Christianity. All major religions have their fanatics and fruitcakes. Islam isn't the Lone Ranger. All those American 20TH century lynch mobs claimed Christianity as their religion. They prayed about it then when on their spree. The only difference in 21St century America is their descendants hide lurk in the shadows or hide behind their badge.

July 19, 2011 at 3:17 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Muslims deserve equal protection under our constitution, like any Americans of any ethnic group, religion, or race. As long as Americans abide by the laws of the land, they should be able to live and worship as they wish. Unless our constitution is replaced, sharia law can never be practiced fully in the US, as parts of sharia law violate US law. People are freaking out about nothing. This is not Iraq, Afganistan, or even the UK. Muslims live in the US as Americans. Muslims immigrate because they prefer living here with American constitutional freedoms. Muslims cannot deny other Americans those same freedoms. They cannot force us to live under sharia. They cannot force the teaching of Islam in public schools, close Christian churches, or stop the sale of pork in supermarkets. They cannot wed underage girls, kill their wives, or force non-Muslims to pray 5 times a day facing Mecca. They CAN build mosques, open Islamic private schools, operate supermarkets that cater to their tastes, and insist that their own families pray, just as Jews, Protestants, Catholics and other groups do.
I believe that this is a scare tactic by conservatives to distract their minions from noticing that, in spite of taking control in Nov 2010, the economy has not rebounded as promised.

July 19, 2011 at 3:24 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

I just don't understand why Republicans insist on funding and running people who make incoherent and insane comments. Over 50 per cent of their candidates appear to be completely crazy and amazingly stupid at the same time.

I don't personally know any Republicans who actually act like this, or who believe any of these kinds of crazed statements. How it is that they insist on paying for these kinds of activities is beyond me.

July 19, 2011 at 3:45 p.m.
limric said...

Freedom of religion is freedom for ALL religions. I know this lkeithlu. But. Western culture has bent over backwards to accommodate Islam. It’s hard to imagine how we could give it any more respect . . .short of closing down all the bars, growing beards and beating up women who don’t want to dress like nuns. Ah, yes, of course. Silly me. I think many people in the West, are now realizing that Islam has already been given far too much ‘respect’. Especially in Europe where according to my friends, people now see it as a threat to their culture. They carry on accomodating it’s every demand of course, but this is not because Islam is welcome in Europe. Far from it – as I said in my last post, It’s because people have been conditioned by the lie of multiculturalism to believe that what they SHOULD think is more important than what they DO think.

You are being naive lkeithlu. Look at Europe. Many of their cities have large self made Muslim ghettos controlled by religious bigots, where indigenous law and values are increasingly unwelcome. Places full of people who have no intention of integrating and who want nothing less than the end of our civilization. They pander and defer to them thanks to a biased press and a complacent judiciary and the kind of politicians you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. This WILL happen here.

People criticize Islam in private, they know that to do so publicly, in other words to be honest about their feelings would instantly make them racists and Islamophobes or nazis or disgusting imperialists, ethno-centric-fascist bastards grinding their jack boots into the faces of the innocent and the weak - so, we best not make a fuss. You want to beat your wife and mutilate your daughter? Be our guest. We will just have to understand it is a cultural thing - because we wouldn’t want to offend Muslims now would we. And on and on. This IS happening here!

Many Muslims, and all Imams think they have a right to poke a finger into our chest and tell us how we are allowed to live. . . what we can and can’t do, say and think or (heaven forbid) they’ll be offended. Well, I don’t know about you, but anyone trying to corrupt Americas basic tents with 13th century religious idiocy is going to get a very short rebuttal. I ’ll give you a clue, it won’t contain the words ‘allah’ or ‘akbar’.

July 19, 2011 at 4:19 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

limric, I'll agree with you if you can produce one example where Muslim-Americans successfully deprived other Americans of their rights here in the US.

July 19, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
amnestiUSAF84 said...

limric said:

*Western culture has bent over backwards to accommodate Islam.

Was that before or after they brutally forced christianity on Native American Indians? Or brutally forced christianity on the Africans they enslaved? Did you know many of those Africans brought to America in chains and ensalved were actually Muslim?

July 19, 2011 at 5:21 p.m.
LibDem said...

No, cities do not have a right to ban mosques. Yes, Muslims will try to enforce their rules just like Christians do. Maybe, we will stay on guard.

July 19, 2011 at 5:55 p.m.
chioK_V said...

And let us not forget those brutal and heinous acts that took place for centuries under the:

christian crusades

that are still taking place throughout many countries in the world today. Those brutal christian crusades are alive and well.

July 19, 2011 at 7:49 p.m.
limric said...

Banning religious freedom for Muslims is unconstitutional and would have serious consequences. I fully understand this lkeithlu, but time and again Islamic leaders have said Give us our own laws.

“DANGER WILL ROBINSON – DANGER”

Groups such as ‘CAIR’ try to argue about freedom of religion. It isn’t. It’s about the supremacy of constitutional law. Sharia law demands supremacy over man-made law. A couple of years ago the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America issued a fatwa declaring that, according to Islamic law, rape cannot exist in a marriage because a woman is required to consent to her husband. BOING!?!? It was this reasoning that prompted a New Jersey judge in to deny issuing a restraining order against a Muslim man who was sexually abusing his wife. Further: Sharia law provides that a woman’s testimony in court is equal to only half that of a man’s. A man can beat his wife if she is insubordinate. A man can divorce his wife by saying “I divorce you” three times; a woman has no such right. Women have virtually no rights over the custody of their children. In Florida, a Circuit Court Judge ordered that a civil dispute between current and former leaders of a local mosque be decided under “Ecclesiastical Islamic Law” — even though one side does NOT want to be subject to Shariah law! A Texas court ruled that something called the “Texas Islamic Court” is legitimate – the appellate court appears to have upheld sharia law in a divorce, requiring that the parties be bound by this “Islamic Court”! And on and on.

amnestiUSAF84,
My disdain for Islam in no way condones the atrocities Christians have committed for two + millennia. Hopefully by highlighting the true nature of Islam we can avoid the same mistakes.

July 19, 2011 at 7:56 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

" It’s about the supremacy of constitutional law. Sharia law demands supremacy over man-made law. A couple of years ago the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America issued a fatwa declaring that, according to Islamic law, rape cannot exist in a marriage because a woman is required to consent to her husband. BOING!?!? It was this reasoning that prompted a New Jersey judge in to deny issuing a restraining order against a Muslim man who was sexually abusing his wife." This was overturned, for obvious reasons. Rape is rape, regardless of whether the couple is married. Muslim or any other.

"Further: Sharia law provides that a woman’s testimony in court is equal to only half that of a man’s. A man can beat his wife if she is insubordinate. A man can divorce his wife by saying “I divorce you” three times; a woman has no such right. Women have virtually no rights over the custody of their children."

I have yet to see a court rule in support of these three items; they clearly violate US law.

In Florida, a Circuit Court Judge ordered that a civil dispute between current and former leaders of a local mosque be decided under “Ecclesiastical Islamic Law” — even though one side does NOT want to be subject to Shariah law!"

Members of a church must resolve their issues using church doctrine. (Unless, of course, a law is broken, in which case this would not have been a civil case) This happens in other religions too-look at the Episcopal church, some of whose members left and started new congregations under the Anglican Church. Members of a church that disagree with a church's policies or doctrine are free to leave.

A Texas court ruled that something called the “Texas Islamic Court” is legitimate – the appellate court appears to have upheld sharia law in a divorce, requiring that the parties be bound by this “Islamic Court”!

Women in TX can bypass this court, hire a lawyer, and sue for divorce under TX law. It would definitely strain the relationships involved (when does divorce NOT do this?) but the women HAVE THE RIGHT as US citizens to equal protection under law. Muslim women would not be the first women to relinquish this right in the context of church life or marriage. Fundamentalist churches often require women to be subservient to their husbands, and many women accept that even though they have the rights as citizens to get out if they choose.

"And on and on."

I am not trying to defend Islam, as I am an atheist and find most religion a total waste of time (with a few exceptions). However, the culture of fear is perpetuated by a lack of understanding of how our constitution works. We are in NO way in danger of being under sharia law. NONE. We are in far more danger of a fundy theocracy, and even that is pretty unlikely, despite the large number of fundys and their support in the GOP.

July 19, 2011 at 8:29 p.m.
Momus said...

Cain's done, we independence don't like this kind of stuff. NEXT!

July 19, 2011 at 9:19 p.m.
limric said...

“We are in NO way in danger of being under sharia law. NONE. We are in far more danger of a fundy theocracy

Waaait a minute. Your statement is a contradiction. Or circular. Aren’t you substituting one for another, based on the very same perpetuated culture of fear?

Yes, I believe you accidentally did. Pretty slick there Mrs. smarty pants liberal.

You should be reported to the Libertarians for Freedom Brigade. Cuffed and dragged to the dark lair of the hideous Sea Monkeys. ;-)

July 19, 2011 at 9:47 p.m.
JoeHill said...

I understand why the forces of corporate fascim dislike Islam. If you read the Koran, you'll read stronger language than found in the Bible against financial speculators and the wealthy and calls for the care of the least among us. Ooooh, creepy stuff indeed for the hard hearted and greedy.

July 19, 2011 at 9:49 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

"You should be reported to the Libertarians for Freedom Brigade. Cuffed and dragged to the dark lair of the hideous Sea Monkeys. ;-)

Oh Noes! Not the lair of the hideous Sea Monkeys??!! A death worst than fate!

snicker

July 19, 2011 at 9:56 p.m.
xyzyra said...

limric said:

Groups such as ‘CAIR’ try to argue about freedom of religion. It isn’t. It’s about the supremacy of constitutional law. Sharia law demands supremacy over man-made law. A couple of years ago the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America issued a fatwa declaring that, according to Islamic law, rape cannot exist in a marriage because a woman is required to consent to her husband. BOING!?!? It was this reasoning that prompted a New Jersey judge in to deny issuing a restraining order against a Muslim man who was sexually abusing his wife. Further: Sharia law provides that a woman’s testimony in court is equal to only half that of a man’s

You haven't stated anything about Sharia law that hasn't or doesn't in U.S. laws.

I. It's only been recent years in America where a spouse could be charged with sexually assaultin or rape against a fellow spouse.

II. Try going to court and try to prove someone such as a cop lied. You're testimony won't even be half equal to that of the testimony of a cop. You just out and out won't be believe by the courts. And that's man-made up laws.

............*The only thing more disturbing than Tea Party and the GOP is imagining Cain as the next president. That's a Stephen King novel nightmare.

July 19, 2011 at 10:17 p.m.
fairmon said...

I hadn't seriously considered any of the candidates before but the post here pushes me towad Cain. I watched the inteview and the author of this article didn't see and hear the same thing I did or the author has a personal agenda... He is the only one that is not a professional politician. He won't win and he is naive if he has it in his head you can run government like you can a business.

July 19, 2011 at 11:16 p.m.
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