A Presidential Nominee Disparages Islam and Mosques: News Roundup

In the news this week: Presidential candidate Herman Cain promotes communities’ right to ban mosques, Representative King announces a third hearing, a proposed bill may block California circumcision bans, and other stories.

Herman Cain has arguably made the biggest splash of the Republican nominees. This past week Mr. Cain said that communities should be able to ban mosques during an interview (HuffingtonPost). He continued by saying, “Islam combines church and state. They're using the church part of our First Amendment to infuse their morals in the community.” Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, wrote to Cain relaying his concern and consternation at Mr. Cain’s statements. In particular, Gaddy stressed that Cain is contributing to irrational fear and is “just plain wrong” about Islam being both a religion and a set of laws (American Baptist Press).

In other political news, “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she's hopeful that a religious tolerance agreement between the West and Islamic countries will end efforts to criminalize blasphemy that threaten freedom of expression. At an interfaith conference in Turkey, Clinton said an initiative by the U.S., the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference will promote religious freedom without compromising free speech.” (Houston Chronicle)

Rep Peter King (R-NY) announced a third hearing on the radicalization of the Muslim-American community scheduled for July 27th (House Committee on Homeland Security). According to King, this hearing will, “will examine Somalia-based terrorist organization al-Shabaab’s ongoing recruitment, radicalization, and training of young Muslim-Americans and al-Shabaab’s linking up with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).” Adam Serwer of The American Prospect supports this topic in contrast to those of the previous two hearings. He argues that al-Shabaab’s relative success in recruiting Americans is alarming and worthy of congressional investigation, but is concerned about King’s approach to the issue. 

The Huffington Post reports:
Two California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would pre-empt local governments from passing laws banning male circumcision and limit the enacting of such legislation to the state.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, says the bill, co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, was filed as an urgency statute, which means it could become law immediately if it is passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.
In other news: