Muslims in Pakistan and Indonesia on Tuesday denounced Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, dismissing the US Republican presidential front-runner as a bigot who promoted violence.
Trump’s statement on “preventing Muslim immigration” drew swift and fierce criticism from many directions at home, including from the White House and rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump, responding to last week’s California shooting spree by two Muslims who the Federal Bureau of Investigation said had been radicalised, called for a complete block on Muslims entering the United States “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.
“It’s so absurd a statement that I don’t even wish to react to it,” said Asma Jahangir, one of Pakistan’s most prominent human rights lawyers.
“This is the worst kind of bigotry mixed with ignorance. I would imagine that someone who is hoping to become president of the US doesn’t want to compete with an ignorant criminal-minded mullah of Pakistan who denounces people of other religions ... Although we are not as advanced as the US, we have never elected such people to power in Pakistan.”
Tahir Ashrafi, the head of the Ulema Council, Pakistan’s biggest council of Muslim clerics, said Trump’s comments promoted violence.
“If some Muslim leader says there is a war between Christians and Muslims, we condemn him. So why should we not condemn an American if he says that?”
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir said his government would not comment on election campaigns in other countries, while adding that his country had made known its position on terrorism.
“As the country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia affirms that Islam teaches peace and tolerance,” he told Reuters. “Acts of terror do not have any relation with any religion or country or race.”
Din Syamsuddin, chief of Indonesia’s Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Muslim organisation in the country, said Trump’s comments were a joke.
“It is laughable that there is a person in this modern, globalised era who is so narrow-minded as to ban some people from entering America,” he said.
Rizki Aulia, a white-collar worker in Jakarta, said there was no relation between Muslims and terrorism.
“I think terrorism is not about religion. Non-Muslims do it too, so why should Muslims be banned from entering the US?”
Trump’s comments at a rally on Monday in South Carolina prompted criticism from Republican former Vice President Dick Cheney and Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, who said Trump was “unhinged”.
They followed last week’s killings in San Bernardino, California, by a Muslim couple.
The husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, was US-born. The wife, Tashfeen Malik, was born in Pakistan and came to the United States from Saudi Arabia.