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Controversial Businessman Donald Trump has called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.
The comments mark a dramatic escalation of his rhetoric on Islam and were widely condemned by his rival Republican presidential candidates and others in the party. The Republican front-runner’s proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike, a sweeping prohibition affecting all adherents of a religion practiced by more than a billion people worldwide.
He said in a statement such a ban should stand “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.
He recently drew criticism for re-tweeting an image of inaccurate statistics that vastly over-represented the number of whites killed by blacks.
But so far those and other errors of fact have not diminished his popularity among many Republican voters.
At an evening rally in South Carolina, Mr Trump supporters cheered and shouted in support as he read his statement and warned that without drastic action, “it’s going to get worse and worse, you’re going to have more World Trade Centers”.
Rod Weader, a 68-year-old real estate agent from North Charleston who attended the rally and said he agreed with Mr Trump’s plan “150 per cent”.
“As he says, we have to find out who they are and why they are here,” he said.
His Republican rivals were quick to reject the latest provocation from a candidate who has delivered no shortage of them. “Donald Trump is unhinged,” former Florida governor Jeb Bush said via Twitter. “His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious.”
Mr Trump’s plan also drew criticism from the heads of the Republican Party in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the first three states to vote in next year’s presidential primaries.
“It is un-Republican. It is unconstitutional. And it is un-American,” said Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the Republican Party of New Hampshire.
Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Mr Trump’s proposed ban would apply to “everybody”, including Muslims seeking immigration visas as well as tourists seeking to enter the country.
In an interview, Mr Trump said Muslim members of the US armed forces would “come home” and that his plan would “not apply to people living in the country”.
The FBI said on Monday the Muslim couple who carried out the massacre had been radicalized and had taken target practice at area gun ranges, in one case within days of the attack last week that killed 14 people.
“Donald Trump sounds more like a leader of a lynch mob than a great nation like ours,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“He and others are playing into the hands of Isis (Islamic State). This is exactly what Isis wants from Americans: to turn against each other.”
Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American business magnate, investor, author, television personality and candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 presidential election. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization, and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump’s career, branding efforts, lifestyle and outspoken manner helped make him a celebrity, a status amplified by the success of his NBC reality show, The Apprentice.
Trump is a son of Fred Trump, a New York City real estate developer. He worked for his father’s firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and officially joined the company in 1968. In 1971, he was given control of the company, renaming it The Trump Organization. Trump remains a major figure in American real estate.
On June 16, 2015, Trump formally announced his candidacy for president in the 2016 election, seeking the nomination of the Republican Party. Trump’s early campaigning drew intense media coverage and saw him rise to high levels of popular support. Since early July 2015, he has consistently been the front-runner in public opinion polls for the Republican Party nomination.Trump’s populist anti-immigrant politics are a defining contrast to the establishment Republican faction, earning him support among working class white voters amid heavy controversy in the news media