However, Cain wasn’t always so opposed to religious liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. On August 16, 2010, Cain discussed New York’s Park51 Islamic Center controversy on his Atlanta-based radio show. Though Cain opposed the project because he viewed it as “disrespectful,” he prefaced his argument by noting that “build[ing] a mosque on private property is one of those guaranteed liberties we have in this country. I understand that.”
Herman Cain in 2010:
CAIN: I have tried to stay away from this issue, because I understand, like many of you, that people who are capable of getting the necessary permits and are capable of getting the necessary funding to build a mosque on private property is one of those guaranteed liberties we have in this country. I understand that. You understand that. We all understand that.
Herman Cain in 2011:
WALLACE: You’re saying any community, if they want to ban a mosque?
CAIN: Yes. They have a right to do that. That’s not discriminating based upon religion.
Notably, Cain met with Muslim leaders in late July and apologized for some of his derogatory words, including his declaration to ThinkProgress that he “will not” appoint Muslims in his presidential administration. Though Cain has unfortunately continued to parrot the absurd threat of Sharia law since then, it is notable that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO did acknowledge Muslims’ rights as recently as last year.
During his presidential campaign, however, Cain’s anti-Muslim fearmongering was likely influenced by a small handful of misinformation experts detailed in the Center for American Progress’ recent report, Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.