Cain Improves

August 02, 2011

Republican presidential candidate and former pizza chain head Herman Cain rightfully received a lot of criticism in recent months for his anti-Muslim remarks. I offered critiques of his rhetoric as harmful and inaccurate in posts here, here, and here. Fortunately, Cain recently started to mature on the issue. Cain decided to meet with some Muslims leaders and then apologized for the tone of his rhetoric. Following his meeting at a mosque in Northern Virginia, Cain stated:

We enjoyed heartfelt fellowship and thoughtful dialogue about how patriotic Americans of all faiths can work together to restore the American Dream. While I stand by my opposition to the interference of shariah 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. 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 peacefully. As I expected, we discovered we have much more in common in our values and virtues. ... Those in attendance, like most Muslim Americans, are peaceful Muslims and patriotic Americans whose good will is often drowned out by the reprehensible actions of jihadists. I am encouraged by the bonds of friendship forged today at our meeting, and I look forward to continuing this very healthy dialogue. The relationship we established was so positive that the Imam has invited me back to speak to not only some of their youth, but also at one of their worship services.
Wow! This is quite a change, and it is nice to see someone moving from being so hateful against a religious minority to instead finding common ground through respectful dialogue. A Muslim leader in the meeting felt Cain's change seemed sincere. Meeting people from different backgrounds and faiths is an important first step in understanding people instead of fearing people. Hopefully Cain will maintain this new perspective and impact the political discussions about Muslims, who are often denigrated in our age of confessional politics.