Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump angered American Muslims by saying that he would shut down mosques as president.
During a TV interview with Fox Business host Stuart Varney, Trump was asked whether he would adopt a British proposal to close some mosques as a counterterrorism measure. "I would do that, absolutely, I think it's great," Trump said.
Mr. Trump then said that he was not sure about the legality of closing mosques, but that it was certainly something that should be looked at.
“It depends if the mosque is, you know, loaded for bear,” he said.
The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group for Muslims is condemning Donald Trump for supporting shutting down American mosques that are deemed “extremist.” CAIR said Wednesday the Republican presidential candidate’s anti-Islamic rhetoric once again shows he would violate the basic rights and liberties of American Muslims if elected.
Robert McCaw, manager of CAIR’s government affairs department, said no government should be in the business of deciding which religious beliefs are acceptable. “Donald Trump’s apparent willingness to close down American mosques that he deems ‘extreme’ is totally incompatible with the Constitution and our nation’s cherished principle of religious freedom,” McCaw said, adding that the real estate mogul’s “off-the-cuff remarks are both un-American, and un-presidential.”
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who has been criticized himself by CAIR for anti-Islamic views, also condemned Trump’s remarks. “Donald Trump is talking before he knows what he’s talking about,” the congressman said in Fox News interview Wednesday. “I have been critical of people in the Muslim community, but the fact is you can’t be shutting down mosques. … We do have freedom of religion.”
Mr. Trump drew criticism from Muslim groups last month when he did not rebut a supporter who said: “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.”
Muslims have taken offense to remarks from Mr. Trump and Ben Carson, one of his leading rivals for the nomination, who said he did not think a follower of Islam should be president.
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