In an eyebrow-raising interview with GQ, Herman Cain stated that he believes that the majority of Muslims in America are extremists.
Cain sat down with GQ correspondent Chris Heath, senior editor Devin Gordon, and food critic Alan Richman in mid-October to discuss the race for the Republican nomination, Cain’s favorite types of pizza, and a host of other topics. At one point, Gordon asked Cain — who said in March that he wouldn’t feel “comfortable” appointing a Muslim to his cabinet — about his controversial views regarding Islam.
Herman Cain: I know that there are peaceful Muslims, and there are extremist. I have nothing against peaceful Muslims. Nothing whatsoever. But I also know that we must be careful of extremists and we must be careful of the tendency by some groups in this country to infuse their beliefs into our laws and our culture.
Devin Gordon: Do you think that there is a greater tendency among the Muslim faith for that kind of extremism?
Herman Cain: That would be a judgment call that I’m probably not qualified to make, because I can’t speak on behalf of the entire Muslim community. I have talked with Muslims that are peaceful Muslims. And I have had one very well known Muslim voice say to me directly that a majority of Muslims share the extremist views.
Chris Heath: A majority?
Herman Cain: Yes, a majority.
Devin Gordon: Do you think he’s right?
Herman Cain: Yes, because that’s his community. That’s his community. I can’t tell you his name, but he is a very prominent voice in the Muslim community, and he said that.
Cain later clarified that his comments referred only to Muslims in America.
Cain’s statement is incredibly ironic. Although conservatives have harshly criticized the Politico report that exposed the sexual harassment allegations against Cain because it relied on anonymous sources, Cain is making sweeping generalizations about the Muslim community based on the opinion of one anonymous man.
The interview contains several other comments that are sure to draw attention. Cain told Gordon that he would be scared if Ron Paul, Rick Perry, or Michele Bachmann were president because of Paul’s libertarian views, Perry’s communication issues, and Bachmann’s “lack of gravitas.” Additionally, when asked which ice cream flavor best represents each Republican candidate, Cain said that Mitt Romney would be “vanilla,” and Bachmann would be “tutti-frutti.”