The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Mitt Romney: no Muslims in my cabinet

Mitt Romney, who increasingly appears to be the likely Republican candidate for the 2008 US presidential elections, doesn't want Muslims in his cabinet. He has given at least two reasons, both outrageous:

TPM Election Central has learned that at a private fundraising lunchleon in Los Vegas three months ago, Romney said a second time he would probably not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet -- and on this occasion, he made other comments that one witness described as "racist."

The witness, Irma Aguirre, a former finance director of the Nevada Republican Party, paraphrased Romney as saying: "They're radical. There's no talking to them. There's no negotiating with them."

A second witness, a self-described local registered Republican named George Harris, confirmed her account.

The new accounts provided by the witnesses lend credence to the now-notorious account of a more recent private Romney event that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor yesterday that already caused an uproar. In that account, a Muslim businessman, Mansour Ijaz, claimed that Romney had said that based on the "numbers of American Muslims" in the country, "I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified" for a muslim.

So basically he believes that all Muslims are radicals, and thinks minorities that don't meet a certain threshold should be barred from cabinet or other senior positions. The percentage figure for Muslims in America goes from 0.5% to 1% of the population.

Update: Scott Horton digs deeper into this issue.