Sunday 18 February 2018

Outrage at Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the US

US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at an event in Washington, DC
US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at an event in Washington, DC
Ivanka Trump
Author JK Rowling

David Lawler in New York

Donald Trump has been condemned around the world after calling for all Muslims to be barred from entering the United States in the wake of terrorism attacks in Paris and California.

It was a bombshell even by the outspoken candidate's standard of bombast, and led to fierce criticism from his political opponents in the US as well as world leaders. Yet Trump was unmoved, telling his supporters: "I. Don't. Care."

The furore began when the Trump campaign issued a statement saying: "Donald Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

His officials confirmed that the ban would apply not only to immigrants and refugees, but tourists as well.

He said he was calling for the ban because of data indicating there was "great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population".

"Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension," Mr Trump said. "Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine."

He claimed that while he knew he wasn't being "politically correct", he was leading the "noisy majority".

He added: "We used to call it the quiet majority, but people are fed up - they are fed up with incompetence, they are fed up with stupid leaders, they are fed up with stupid people."

The statement provoked a deluge of condemnation - from his Republican rivals as well as Democrats.

In a rare public rebuke of a prominent US politician, 10 Downing Street made it clear that British Prime Minister David Cameron "completely disagrees" with the Republican presidential front-runner's comments.

A spokesman said Cameron regards Trump's comments as "divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong" and also indicated he feared the remarks would undermine the fight against Isil by undermining a message of unity in communities.

Trump's comments drew widespread criticism from outside the world of politics too, with the author JK Rowling insisting he is worse than 'Harry Potter' villain Lord Voldemort.

A spokesperson for the Council on America-Islamic Relations compared it with Nazi rhetoric from the 1930s. "Donald Trump sounds more like a leader of a lynch mob than a great nation like ours," said Nihad Awad.

Mr Trump later addressed a rally in South Carolina, reading from his statement to cheers before adding: "It's common sense and we have to do it."

He went on to say that the US was heading for more terrorist disasters and that the Paris attacks would not have ended with so many casualties if French people had been allowed to carry guns.

The property mogul was heckled briefly by a protester before adding that mosques were a source of problems in the US.

"We have to look at mosques. We have to see what is happening because something is happening in there.

"Man, there is anger, there is anger," he said. "And we have to know about it."

The real estate mogul sparked controversy last month when he suggested that as president he would consider registering Muslims in a government database.

He is also involved in an ongoing dispute with rival candidates and members of the media over his claim to have seen Muslims in the United States celebrating the 9/11 attacks. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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