Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the United States until the government can “figure out what is going on”.
His suggestion, made in a press release from his campaign office yesterday, is based on several polls conducted among Muslim Americans, which, he claims, show a “great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population”.
In a direct statement, Trump argues that the US will remain vulnerable to attacks while it continues to let Muslims into the country:
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. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.
Other prominent Republican figures have condemned the statement. Jeb Bush called Trump “unhinged”, while George W. Bush’s vice president Dick Cheney said the attack on Muslims “goes against everything we stand for and believe in”. Others have pointed out that establishing whether someone is Muslim at the country’s border would be near-impossible.
The only poll cited specifically in the statement came from the Center for Security Policy, a far-right think tank, and claimed that (as quoted in Trump’s release):
“25 per cent of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51 per cent of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.”
The Washington Post called the poll “shoddy” and pointed out that it was an online survey of only 600 people who opted in, meaning it is unlikely to be representative. It was also conducted among US Muslims, whereas Trump’s policy would be directed at Muslims outside the US.
That’s not to say Trump would plan to leave US Muslims alone – he has previously said Muslims living in the country should register to a special database.
Now listen to Caroline Crampton, Barbara Speed and Jonn Elledge discuss Donald Trump’s views, on this week’s New Statesman podcast…