US presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s controversial call for Muslims to be barred from entering America have been slammed as “unhelpful and quite simply wrong” by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Mr Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for next year’s presidential election, sparked outrage in the US after saying there should be “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US.
His comments came in the wake of last week’s terror attack in San Bernardino, California, where a Muslim couple shot 14 dead at a health centre.
Speaking at a Westminster media briefing yesterday, Mr Cameron’s official spokeswoman declined to say whether Mr Trump’s comments might lead to him being barred UK entry under hate-speech laws. But she said: “The Prime Minister completely disagrees with the comments made by Donald Trump, which are divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.”
The Downing Street statement is a departure from the practice of prime ministers avoiding comment on contenders for the US presidency.
Mr Trump had issued a campaign statement calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.
His comments were criticised by other Republican contenders, including Jeb Bush, who called the property tycoon and star of US TV’s The Apprentice “unhinged”.
Campaigners against Mr Trump’s golf course development in Scotland have submitted a petition to Parliament calling for him to be barred from the UK “for his continued, unrepentant hate speech and unacceptable behaviour”. Mr Cameron’s spokeswoman declined to say whether the PM would be willing to meet Mr Trump. She added: “The Prime Minister has been very clear that, as we look at how we tackle extremism and this poisonous ideology, what politicians need to do is look at ways they can bring communities together and make clear that these terrorists are not representative of Islam and indeed what they are doing is a perversion of Islam.”
Mr Trump said what he is proposing is “no different” to the actions of president Franklin Roosevelt, “who was highly respected by all” despite his wartime measures such as putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps in the US. Mr Trump told ABC’s Good Morning America that the US is essentially at war with Muslim extremists.