Donald Trump is not backing down from his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, on Tuesday he made the morning show rounds to double down on his plan.
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“I have no doubt that we have no choice but to do exactly what I said until our country’s representatives can figure out what the Hell is going on because we have a problem in this country,” said Trump on CNN adding his ban would be a temporary solution. A separate campaign press release provided more specifics on the plan.
The GOP frontrunner insisted the idea is in line with his supporters citing the enthusiastic crowd in South Carolina Monday night where he made the announcement. “We have tremendous support we’ve had calls in the thousands. There were thousands of people there, there were thousands of people who couldn’t get in and frankly it was a standing ovation that wouldn’t stop,” said Trump on ABC’s Good Morning America.
The real estate mogul didn’t stand alone, Donald Trump Jr. appeared on Fox and Friends to make a case for his father’s point of view.
“He's [Trump] more concerned about the safety of Americans than offending people around the world," said Trump Jr.
Trump’s campaign referenced poll data to support “hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.” According to the controversial think tank Center for Security Policy, “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad" adding 51% of those polled, "agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah." Critics have condemned the Center for Security Policy as Islamophobic and the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified the founder of the group, Frank Gaffney Jr. as “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes.”
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The billionaire businessman didn’t stop there, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Trump picked a fight with host Joe Scarborough forcing the program to go into a commercial break. When the show returned, Trump defended his plan as a way to combat the threat of terrorism by “Islamic extremists.” When pushed on how he would enforce such a ban, the Donald explained he would inquire if someone was Muslim upon entrance into the United States and if the answer is yes they would be turned away.
"Donald Trump is really doing the work of ISIS, they are seeking to divide the world along religious and civil lines and Trump is helping them do that with his inflammatory rhetoric.”
According to research by the Public Religion Research Institute released in November, Americans’ perceptions of Islam has taken a negative turn over the past few years. The study reveals 56% of Americans agree that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life, while approximately 41% disagree. In 2011, Americans were nearly balanced in their views of Islam.
Dan Cox, is the research director for the Public Religion Research Institute, he says Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims is not necessarily fueling anti-Islamic ideas but rather he is appealing to supporters.
“Trump says what he wants and doesn’t care if he gets your vote at a time when Americans don’t want someone to be afraid to say what they think,” said Cox. “There is no hard evidence that suggests Donald Trump is changing people’s minds, he is more likely giving a voice to the people who already believe in what he is saying.”
Case and point, another finding in the study reveals 76% of Republicans agree Americans are at odds with the values of Islam. In 2015, 79% of the GOP expressed greater concern about terrorism being a critical issue in the U.S. compared to 57% in 2011.
Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director for Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the growing number of the public’s misunderstanding of Islam is disturbing and a result of Islamophobia rhetoric from Republicans like Donald Trump.
“We believe Trump’s bizarre Muslim policy statement is immoral, un-American, unconstitutional and probably illegal,” said Hooper. “It should be repudiated by all sane people in America.”
Hooper says the GOP frontrunner is using his platform to spread the same message of terrorist groups.
“Donald Trump is really doing the work of ISIS, they are seeking to divide the world along religious and civil lines and Trump is helping them do that with his inflammatory rhetoric.”
Republicans, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Democrats unified to sound off against Trump’s proposal. Hillary Clinton’s campaign immediately took to Twitter with sharp criticism:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 7, 2015
At the same time Clinton’s campaign used Trump’s controversial comments as a fund-raising opportunity. In an email to supporters, Clinton’s vice chairwoman Huma Abedin proclaimed she is a “Proud Muslim” and blasted the GOP frontrunner for Islamophobia rhetoric.
“Trump wants to literally write racism into our law books. His Islamophobia doesn’t reflect our nation’s values — it goes far enough to damage our country’s reputation and could even threaten our national security,” wrote Abedin.
In the email she also called on Clinton supporters to “build a stronger, more inclusive country together.”