June 13th, 2011
11:17 PM ET

At debate, Republican candidates spar over Islam

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - There weren’t too many sharp differences among the Republican presidential candidates in Monday night’s New Hampshire debate, but a crack did emerge over how Islam and Muslims ought to be treated in the United States.

The CNN debate opened with discussions on economic issues, but later veered toward faith-based matters like the role of religion in candidates’ decision making, abortion, gay marriage – and how the United States ought to treat Muslims living within its borders.

The exchange on that issue opened with a question to former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who had said previously that he wouldn’t feel comfortable appointing a Muslim to his presidential Cabinet.

“I would not be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims – those that are trying to kill us,” Cain said at Monday night’s debate. “And so when I said I wouldn’t be comfortable, I was thinking about the ones who are trying to kill us.”

Cain went further, addressing the prospect of Sharia, or Muslim law, being applied in the United States, which some conservatives say constitutes a growing threat to the American legal system.

“I don’t believe in Sharia law in American courts,” Cain said Monday. “I believe in American laws in American courts, period.”

“There have been instances in New Jersey, there was an instance in Oklahoma , where Muslims did try to influence court decisions with Sharia law,” he continued. “I was simply saying, very emphatically, American laws in American courts.”

Cain also said he would ask Muslims seeking jobs in his administration “certain questions … to make sure that we have people committed to the Constitution.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who spoke next, appeared to brush aside Cain’s concerns about Sharia and his suspicions of American Muslims.

“Of course, we're not going to have Sharia law applied in U.S. courts. That's never going to happen,” Romney said. "We have a Constitution and we follow the law.”

Romney then appeared to defend American Muslims, even if he didn’t mention them specifically.

“We recognize that people of all faiths are welcome in this country,” he said. “Our nation was founded on a principle of religious tolerance. That's in fact why some of the earliest patriots came to this country and why we treat people with respect, regardless of their religious persuasion.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich quickly jumped in to push back on Romney, siding more with Cain over the issue of Islam. Gingrich invoked Faisal Shahzad, the so-called Times Square bomber of 2010, who is a U.S. citizen from Pakistan.

“Now, I just want to go out on a limb here,” Gingrich said. “I'm in favor of saying to people, 'If you're not prepared to be loyal to the United States, you will not serve in my administration, period. '”

“We did this in dealing with the Nazis and we did this in dealing with the communists,” Gingrich continued. “And it was controversial both times, and both times we discovered after a while, there are some genuinely bad people who would like to infiltrate our country. And we have got to have the guts to stand up and say no.”

Cain’s and Gingrich’s comments on American Muslims supplied some of the night’s biggest applause lines.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Herman Cain • Islam • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Politics

soundoff (206 Responses)
  1. James Black


    June 18, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  2. James Black


    June 18, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  3. Muneef

    [18:27] You shall recite what is revealed to you of your Lord's scripture. Nothing shall abrogate His words, and you shall not find any other source beside it.

    [18:28] You shall force yourself to be with those who worship their Lord day and night, seeking Him alone. Do not turn your eyes away from them, seeking the vanities of this world. Nor shall you obey one whose heart we rendered obl-ivi-ous to our message; one who pursues his own desires, and whose priorities are confused.

    [18:29] Proclaim: "This is the truth from your Lord," then whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve. We have prepared for the transgressors a fire that will completely surround them. When they scream for help, they will be given a liquid like concent-rated a-cid that sca-lds the faces. What a miserable drink! What a miserable destiny!

    [18:30] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, we never fail to recompense those who work righteousness.

    [18:31] They have deserved gardens of Eden wherein rivers flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and will wear clothes of green silk and velvet, and will rest on comfortable furnishings. What a wonderful reward; what a wonderful abode!

    [18:43] No force on earth could have helped him against GOD, nor was it possible for him to receive any help.

    [18:44] That is because the only true Lord and master is GOD; He provides the best recompense, and with Him is the best destiny.

    [18:45] Cite for them the example of this life as water that we send down from the sky to produce plants of the earth, then they turn into hay that is blown away by the wind. GOD is able to do all things.

    [18:46] Money and children are the joys of this life, but the righteous works provide an eternal recompense from your Lord, and a far better hope.

    [18:47] The day will come when we wipe out the mountains, and you will see the earth barren. We will summon them all, not leaving out a single one of them.

    [18:48] They will be presented before your Lord in a row. You have come to us as individuals, just as we created you initially. Indeed, this is what you claimed will never happen.

    [18:49] The record will be shown, and you will see the guilty fearful of its contents. They will say, "Woe to us. How come this book leaves nothing, small or large, without counting it?" They will find everything they had done brought forth. Your Lord is never unjust towards anyone.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Muneef

      [18:54] We have cited in this Quran every kind of example, but the human being is the most argumentative creature.

      [18:55] Nothing prevented the people from believing, when the guidance came to them, and from seeking the forgiveness of their Lord, except that they demanded to see the same (kind of miracles) as the previous generations, or challenged to see the retribution beforehand.

      [18:56] We only send the messengers as simply deliverers of good news, as well as warners. Those who disbelieve argue with falsehood to defeat the truth, and they take My proofs and warnings in vain.

      [18:57] Who are more evil than those who are reminded of their Lord's proofs, then disregard them, without realizing what they are doing. Consequently, we place shields on their hearts to prevent them from understanding it (the Quran), and deafness in their ears. Thus, no matter what you do to guide them, they can never ever be guided.

      [18:58] Yet, your Lord is the Forgiver, full of mercy. If He called them to account for their deeds, He would annihilate them right there and then. Instead, He gives them a respite until a specific, predetermined time; then they can never escape.

      [18:59] Many a com-m-unity we annihilated because of their transgressions; we designated a specific time for their annihilation.

      June 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Muneef

      [18:100] We will present Hell, on that day, to the disbelievers.

      [18:101] They are the ones whose eyes were too veiled to see My message. Nor could they hear.

      [18:102] Do those who disbelieve think that they can get away with setting up My servants as gods beside Me? We have prepared for the disbelievers Hell as an eternal abode.

      [18:103] Say, "Shall I tell you who the worst losers are?

      [18:104] "They are the ones whose works in this life are totally astray, but they think that they are doing good."

      [18:105] Such are the ones who disbelieved in the revelations of their Lord and in meeting Him. Therefore, their works are in vain; on the Day of Resurrection, they have no weight.

      [18:106] Their just requital is Hell, in return for their disbelief, and for mocking My revelations and My messengers.

      [18:107] As for those who believe and lead a righteous life, they have deserved a blissful Paradise as their abode.

      [18:108] Forever they abide therein; they will never want any other sub-sti-tute.

      [18:109] Say, "If the ocean were ink for the words of my Lord, the ocean would run out, before the words of my Lord run out, even if we double the ink supply."

      [18:110] Say, "I am no more than a human like you, being inspired that your god is one god. Those who hope to meet their Lord shall work righteousness, and never worship any other god beside his Lord."

      June 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  4. Muneef


    EISA 'Jesus'

    June 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  5. Muneef

    Maybe you should read this very interesting text book which I came to by considance;

    June 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Rehana

      Know the difference between religions and God's Judgment?
      Religions are man made run by the clergy of each civilization.
      Be ware of the clergy wether an imam or priest or padre or pandit or a rabbi--.
      Islam,Christianity,Judaism,Hinduism are all names that do not exist in God's Judgment.
      Let the humanity at large unite as :
      We are one human race.
      With one God.
      One God's Judgment.
      God is in direct contact with every human being via His Judgment that he has etched into every humn brain ie human conscience for us to take guidance from not from another human being.

      June 17, 2011 at 12:39 am |
  6. Muneef

    Should the innocents peaceful ones be held responsible or punished or rejected for an act of some hostile political mafia groups or terrorists ?!         

    Wonder if such an act is considered fair ? Don't you think such act will only drive them innocents into becoming as them out of their injured pride and unjust hostility ?

    After all Islam is like Christianity which we knew as Muslims being called in our Arabic Quran as  "Nazarenes" since "Jesus is a Nazarene from Nazareth" it is now consisting out of many sectors.... where it should not be  held guilty all sectors for one or two sectors that consists of extreme hostile teachings or acts of violence say for example (KKK) acts...? Can all Christians or Americans be held guilty towards such racial acts of one or few groups that had made it self an ideology developed out of many ideologies that passed through out past and present history such as of for example;
    -The America's History.
    -Marx's. (Svt)
    -Hitler. (Grmn)
    -Moe . (China)
    -Then come the Irish and Cubans fronts trained Palestinians  much of their acts which ended well developed to the new movement that Holds Religious names although most are far from what they been named and use it as a mask to hide their real faces as done in some annual festival in Venice,Italy. 

    You will only feel for innocent Muslims the date you become to have your own Christian Groups getting your own killed and rejected worldwide as those disguised groups who caused Innocent Muslims suffer worldwide...

    June 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Should the innocents peaceful ones be held responsible or punished or rejected for an act of some hostile political groups or terrorists ?!         

    Wonder if such an act is considered fair ? Don't you think such act will only drive them into becoming as them out of injured pride and hostility ?
    After all Islam is like Christianity consists out of many sectors where you can not hold guilty all sectors for one or two sectors hostile teachings or acts;

    Verses from the Quran;

    [6:159] Those who divide themselves into sects do not belong with you. Their judgment rests with GOD, then He will inform them of everything they had done.

    [6:160] Whoever does a righteous work receives the reward for ten, and the one who commits a sin is requited for only one. No one suffers the slightest injustice.

    [6:161] Say, "My Lord has guided me in a straight path – the perfect religion of Abraham, monotheism. He never was an idol worshiper."

    [6:162] Say, "My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to GOD alone, the Lord of the universe.

    [6:163] "He has no partner. This is what I am commanded to believe, and I am the first to submit."

    [6:164] Say, "Shall I seek other than GOD as a lord, when He is the Lord of all things? No soul benefits except from its own works, and none bears the burden of another. Ultimately, you return to your Lord, then He informs you regarding all your disputes."

    [6:165] He is the One who made you inheritors of the earth, and He raised some of you above others in rank, in order to test you in accordance with what He has given you. Surely, your Lord is efficient in enforcing retribution, and He is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

    June 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Archie

      Please explain to us the concept of abrogation in the Koran and its theological legitimacy in Islamic scholarship. Then tell us when these recitations appear chronologically, and whether they are abrogated. Also, please discuss the Hadiths, particularly Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, and explore their descriptions of how Mohamad directed the Umma to deal with the kafir. Finally, explain the concept of kitman, and how Mohamad commanded Muslims to deceive the nonbelievers until the Umma are strong enough to conquer and subjugate them.

      June 17, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Muneef


      Out of all that you said I believe only one thing out of all;
      "That no God but One and Muhammed s.a.w is his Messenger" this is the heart of the issue here and the rest is just shells prepared as Diligence and assiduity by men of knowledge after the prophet Muhammed death....beside that such teachings are those who want to be at higher rank in religious knowledge such as Sharia and Faqih such as judges and imams...

      June 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  8. pete

    When did this blog get taken over by the scr-ew balls? Did someone call everyone pre-verted baby killers? I had gotten use to the Religious saying "you cannot disprove God", then the atheists saying "its not up to me to prove a negative."

    But this? At least there was some good debate and discussion. Now its horrible butterfly movies with horrible music and and clips of "Islam doesn't want you to see this" (i was hoping it was some time of binki contest........it wasn't)

    June 15, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  9. JohnQuest

    Where does FairGarden get his/her information from, their own home maybe?

    June 15, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  10. Marie Kidman


    June 15, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  11. Reality

    Once again, what instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-driven acts of terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere ..................................

    June 15, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Edward

      First your misquoting the Quran. Have you read it completely? Have you even read the bible. I am an veteran from the United States Army. I served my country for 8 years. I am a single father of two sons (the only reason I got out was for my boys). I was a football, basketball player in high school. I have a girlfriend named Tricia. I am white. I am a MUSLIM. No where in the Quran does it say to commit crimes!!! When criminals do crimes do we call it christian crime or islamic crime. Its crime!! Nothing else. So before you misquote something out of the Quran, try reading the Bible first. Find out what ethics are and what God would want you to do. Its amazing, our own poeple here are as ignorant as everyone else in the world. Its amazing.

      June 16, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Reality


      Some examples of koranic/mosque-driven criminal acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,483 and 925 in non combat roles. 99,901 – 109,143 Iraqi civilians killed as of 3/3/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,141 killed in action, 242 killed in non-combat situations as of 03/03/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      June 16, 2011 at 7:48 am |
  12. FairGarden

    USA is already hijacked by Sodomites and baby-killers and hedonists. Present America is anything but fulfillment of the American Dream. Even if she adopts Sharia Law now, things cannot get worse. Actually, Sharia Law may benefit the American youth in making them behave better than now.

    June 15, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Law alone will not affect anyone's behavior. Especially not the youth.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  13. What, Me Worry?


    June 15, 2011 at 7:07 am |
  14. U S A U S A U S A U S A U S A


    June 15, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  15. Selamün Aleyküm


    June 15, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  16. As-Salamu Alaykum!


    June 15, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  17. I don't get it. What's the big deal? Peace, man!


    June 15, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  18. FairGarden

    Secular Americans, your kids' in-com-po-tence on US history is now the world-wide fa-mous. They don't even know what Abraham Lincoln did, thanks to your foolish eff-ort to eli-minate the Christian heri-tage from your history books. You guys are more pathetic than the post-war Ja-pan-ese in hiding facts. Please be occupied by Chinese and Arabs; we non-Americans know the US history better than you do! Stupid people get enslaved by foreigners and lose the land, mind you. Say sorry to your fellow American Christians.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:02 am |
  19. FairGarden

    Americans, what you need in your nation is godliness, not worship of equality with secularism. Your people have no moral values and spend the precious lifetime with counting money, bashing the religious, slandering politicians, watching garbages, and fearing natural disasters and the Chinese military and implementing of pagan law, while promoting perversion and baby-killing. That's not what USA is for. If you don't risk your life to uphold godly morality, you always end up upholding something evil. Government must not be morally neutral; you proved to the world it does not work.

    June 15, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • tallulah13

      I AM an American. I know Americans. Most of them, religious or atheist, are good people. You are obviously not an American, obviously you don't know Americans, yet you insist on judging others. I thought that was against the wishes of your god:

      Matthew 7:1-5 (King James Version)

      King James Version (KJV)

      Matthew 7

      Judge not, that ye be not judged.

      For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

      And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

      Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

      Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

      June 15, 2011 at 12:19 am |
    • choco lateboo bees ! :)


      Prove it!

      ahhh haaaa GOT CHA!!! I got you girl!! Girl you so crazay! always messin'!
      what im gonna do wif yous?

      call me girl

      June 15, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • FairGarden

      @Tall-13, read the rest of the chapter. It tells us to judge immoral people like secular Americans. Don't mis-apply the Bible. I'm glad you are not a Muslim since it'll be a great shame to them. You Americans became stupid beyond hope by misquoting "Judge not" all the time.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • FairGarden

      The only good Americans are Christian Americans. The rest are perverts, baby-killers and empty-headed party goers.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • FairGarden

      blah blah blah ... unfounded accusations .... blah blah blah ... zero proof to back things up ... blah blah blah .. spews more hatred and bigotry ... blah blah blah

      June 15, 2011 at 7:32 am |
    • FairGarden(the real one)

      The 4th FairGarden(right above) is a fake. To secular Americans, lying is nothing. Cheaters.

      June 15, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Tallulah13

      So you're saying that the bible contradicts itself? Are you calling Jesus a liar?

      June 15, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  20. tallulah13

    Crying shame they weren't sparring over job creation, which is actually important.

    June 14, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Ted M

      It's not only important, it's easily done, yet these political wh-ores would rather wallow in their partisan filth and stuff their faces with bribes until the whole country starves.

      June 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.