As a board member of the American Conservative Union, Suhail Khan often schmoozes with Herman Cain at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
So Khan was doubly surprised when Cain said last March that he would not be comfortable with a Muslim in his Cabinet or as a federal judge. The reason, the Republican presidential candidate said, is that “there is this creeping attempt . . . to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government.”
As Cain likely knew, Khan is a Muslim. Why would Cain question the patriotism of Muslims such as the former Bush White House aide?
Why in particular would a black man who has experienced discrimination apply a hateful stereotype to all Muslims? And how does labeling all Muslims as possible terrorists help the war on terror when we need the cooperation of peace-loving Muslims to pinpoint the extremists?
“I was disappointed to hear his remarks,” Khan tells Newsmax. “The language that he was using to describe Islam and Muslims very much echoed comments and language often used by some of the very strident anti-Muslim figures who have emerged in the last few years and are really are spreading misinformation and fears about Muslim-Americans.”
Americans need to keep their focus on real Muslim terrorists, Khan says. “They are seeking to do our country harm,” Khan says, “and we need to go after them and put our very valuable and finite resources into going after them specifically and not into fighting whole segments of American society based on made up fears.”
As noted in my new book “The Secrets of the FBI,” tips to the FBI by Muslims have led to roll-ups of terrorist plots in Lackawanna, N.Y.; Lodi, Calif.; and Atlanta, Ga., among other places.
Editor's Note: Get Ron Kessler's book, "The Secrets of the FBI."
Khan is painfully aware of what bigotry can lead to. Last August, Khan and Marshall Breger put together a visit by leading rabbis and imams to Dachau concentration camp in Germany and to Auschwitz in Poland.
Breger is an orthodox Jew who is a professor at Catholic University of America and was President Reagan’s liaison to the Jewish community.
Khan always felt that Cain would be open to an honest discussion of the issues. On July 27, Cain met with American-Muslim leaders at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center, known as the Adams Center, in Sterling, Va.
Imam Mohammed Magid of the Adams Center later told Khan that Cain asked good questions about Islam and apologized for what he had said. A Baptist preacher, Cain agreed to return to give a short sermon.
After the visit, Cain issued a little-noticed statement rolling back his unfortunate remarks. “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,” Cain said.
“As I expected,” Cain said, “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.”
Every American who treasures the principles on which this country was founded should adopt Cain’s position. Today it may be Muslims who are targeted unfairly. Tomorrow it could be Christians and Jews.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is a New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. His latest, "The Secrets of the FBI," has just been published. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via email. Go Here Now.
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