A day after US President Barack Obama called for rejecting religious tests for admission into the country, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed a “total shutdown” of Muslims entering America in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack that killed 14 people.
On Monday afternoon, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” Trump added, while continuing his attacks on President Obama.
At a rally in South Carolina hours later, frontrunner Mr Trump repeated the pledge to loud cheers. Trump told the crowd that mosques in the United States should also be scrutinized.
“We have to look at mosques, we have no choice, we have to see what’s happening, because something is happening in there…man, there’s anger, there’s anger and we have to know about it,” he said.
Trump’s view immediately drew the ire of many, and not just the Democrats.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned Trump’s statement, likening the business tycoon to a leader of a lynch mob.
“We were extremely shocked to hear Donald Trump calling for total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US. This is outrageous coming from someone who wants to assume the highest office in the land. It is reckless and simply un-American. Donald Trump sounds more like a leader of a lynch mob than a great nation like ours. He and others are playing into the hands of ISIS,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad at a press conference in Washington D.C.
“Donald Trump is unhinged. His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious,” tweeted Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush.
Top Democratic presidential candidate Hillary called Trump’s views as “reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive”. “You don’t get it. This makes us less safe,” she tweeted.
“Demagogues throughout our history have attempted to divide us based on race, gender, sexual orientation or country of origin….Now, Trump and others want us to hate all Muslims. The United States is a great nation when we stand together. We are a weak nation when we allow racism and xenophobia to divide us,” another Democrat Bernie Sanders said.
(With inputs from PTI)