Herman Cain apologizes for Muslim remarks

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is interviewed by CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli, June 8, 2011. CBS News

WASHINGTON — Republican Herman Cain is apologizing to Muslim leaders for vitriolic remarks he made about Islam while campaigning for the presidential nomination.

The former Godfather's Pizza CEO has said communities have a right to ban Islamic mosques because Muslims are trying to inject sharia law into the U.S. He's also said he would not want a Muslim bent on killing Americans in his administration.

On Wednesday, Cain met with four Muslim leaders in Stirling, Va. He said in a statement later he was "truly sorry" for comments that may have "betrayed" his commitment to the Constitution and the religious freedom it guarantees.

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He also acknowledged that Muslims, "like all Americans," have the right to practice freely their faith and that most Muslim Americans are peaceful and patriotic.

Earlier, Cain had said his view doesn't amount to religious discrimination because he says Muslims are trying to inject Shariah law into the U.S.

Shariah is a set of core principles that most Muslims recognize and a series of rulings from religious scholars. It covers many areas of life and different sects have different versions and interpretations of the code.

Asked if his view could lead any community to stand up in opposition to a proposed mosque, Cain replied, "They could say that." He pointed to opposition to the planned mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn., as an example.

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