GOP presidential contender Herman Cain has been laying kind of low since his most recent incendiary remarks about Muslims and the Islamic faith last week led to accusations that he is a bigot. In an interview on Fox News Sunday last week, Cain cited protests and legal challenges to a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to support his argument that Islam is not like other religions and that communities should be able to ban mosques if they so choose.
To his credit, Cain isn’t too proud to admit when he’s made a mistake. After a Wednesday afternoon meeting with Muslim leaders at the ADAMS Center in Sterling, Virginia, to discuss politics and religion, he issued an apology.
“While I stand by my opposition to the interference of sharia law into the American legal system, I remain humble and contrite for any statements I have made that might have caused offense to Muslim Americans and their friends,” Cain said in a statement after the meeting. “I am truly sorry for any comments that may have betrayed my commitment to the U.S. Constitution and the freedom of religion guaranteed by it. Muslims, like all Americans, have the right to practice their faith freely and faithfully.”
Cain also said that he discovered that he and Muslims share common values and that as someone who grew up in the segregated South, he understands how frustrating it is to be stereotyped. He apparently charmed the group, because one of the imams at the meeting has invited him to speak with some Muslim youths and at a worship service.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), who is Muslim, said meeting with Muslims would be good for Cain.
“He might learn something,” Ellison said. “Alienating whole sections of Americans is a bad idea and if he wants to build some bridges, I commend him for that.”
(Photo: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)