Herman Cain has said a lot of horrible things about American Muslims, such as how he'd give them a special loyalty test before letting them serve in his government, and how it's okay for localities to ban mosques to prevent the plague of Sharia law from infecting the local townspeople. But after meeting with a group of Muslim leaders at a mosque in Northern Virginia yesterday, Herman Cain released a statement, apologizing for being such a crazy bigot:
I would like to thank Imam Mohamed Magid and the ADAMS Center for extending their hospitality to me this afternoon. 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. In my own life as a black youth growing up in the segregated South, I understand their frustration with stereotypes. 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.
Is this merely a poll-driven course-correction for Cain, or a sincere change of heart? One of the mosque's trustees who was in attendance thinks the latter:
"He seemed genuinely surprised," Robert Marro, a trustee at the ADAMS Center mosque in Northern Virginia told TPM. "It was almost like he was saying, 'I should've known better.'"
Yes! As much as Cain deserves credit for his newfound tolerance and understanding, it's still kind of bizarre that, as a well-educated and obviously intelligent person, he harbored such extreme biases to begin with. Or that someone running for president had such a poor grasp of one of the most sacred and basic rights of the Constitution. Or that he was oblivious, until now, to the parallels between discrimination against Muslims and discrimination against black people. On June 17, for example, he had this exchange with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: As someone who I'm sure who faced prejudice growing up in the '50s, '60s, how do you respond to those who say you are doing the same thing?
CAIN: I tell them that that's absolutely not true, because it is absolutely totally different .... We had some laws that were restricting people because of their color and because of their color only. That's what that situation was.
Well, better late than never.