Former pizza tycoon turned talk-radio host turned presidential candidate Herman Cain said over the weekend that the Muslim faith “does not belong in our government,” and that were he President, he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or to a federal court.
Cain’s comments came at the Conservative Principles Conference in Iowa on Saturday in response to a question from a Think Progress reporter who asked directly if Cain would “be comfortable” appointing a Muslim to a federal position were he President.
“No, I will not,” Cain immediately responded. “There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government.”
“This is what happened in Europe. And little by little, to try and be politically correct, they made this little change, they made this little change. And now they’ve got a social problem that they don’t know what to do with hardly,” he added.
Cain’s spokesman, Ellen Carmichael, has since tried to clarify Cain’s comments in an interview with Salon’s Justin Elliot on Monday, saying Cain’s issue is with Sharia law, not Muslims themselves.
“He has worked side by side with folks of all religions and all backgrounds. It is not an issue with all Muslims,” she told Salon.
“Mr. Cain would consider any person for a position based on merit, as anybody else would, as is the law,” she added.
Cain has come under fire recently for comments he made suggesting that Muslims in America were trying to convert non-Muslims to their religion.
Watch the video of Cain’s original comment below: