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More than 250,000 Britons petition to ban Donald Trump from UK

world Updated: Dec 10, 2015 01:08 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Donald Trump

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a Pearl Harbor Day rally aboard the USS Yorktown Memorial in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.(REUTERS)

More than 250,000 Britons have signed an online petition to ban US presidential front-runner Donald Trump from the country following his proposal to stop Muslims from entering the United States.

Trump, who owns two golf courses in Scotland which he visited earlier this year, called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”. His comments followed last week’s deadly shooting spree by a Muslim couple in California.

Having topped 100,000 signatures, the petition now has to be considered for debate by parliament and will require a written government response.

Breaking convention, British politicians and Scotland Yard heaped ridicule and worse on Trump after he reportedly claimed that the police were afraid of going into some radicalised areas in London.

In typical Boris Johnson style, the London mayor called his comments “utter nonsense”, and retorted: “Crime has been falling steadily both in London and in New York - the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.”

The Robert Gordon University said it was “considering its position” on the honorary degree it bestowed on him in 2010 for his contribution to business in Scotland.

Read | JK Rowling calls Donald Trump worse than Voldemort, Twitter agrees

Trump’s remarks provoked Prime Minister David Cameron to comment, so did Scotland Yard, which delivered a riposte: “We would not normally dignify such comments with a response, however, on this occasion we think it’s important to state to Londoners that Mr Trump could not be more wrong.”

It added: “Any candidate for the presidential election in the United States of America is welcome to receive a briefing from the Met police on the reality of policing London.”

Trump is reported to have told MSNBC: “Paris is no longer the safe city it was. They have sections in Paris that are radicalised, where the police refuse to go there. They’re petrified. The police refuse to go in there…We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives.”

As British politicians across the spectrum flayed Trump, similar retorts were delivered by leaders in Paris. Many recalled the row raised by Fox News in January in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, when it was claimed that Paris had “no-go” areas.

Read | Donald Trump calls for ‘complete shutdown’ on Muslims entering US

Cameron’s spokesperson said he “completely disagrees with Donald Trump”, and called his comments “divisive, unhelpful and completely wrong”. Trump’s comments on banning Muslims from entering the US also came in for much criticism.

She said: “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.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took to Twitter to say that Trump’s call was “an attack on democratic values” and an “affront to common humanity”.

The London mayor said: “As a city where more than 300 languages are spoken, London has a proud history of tolerance and diversity and to suggest there are areas where police officers cannot go because of radicalisation is simply ridiculous.”

The two main candidates for the forthcoming London mayoral election – Sadiq Khan (Labour) and Zac Goldsmith (Conservative) – also weighed in, with the latter calling Trump an “appalling creature” and “one of the most malignant figures in politics”.

Khan said Trump did not have a clue about London: “He is clearly ignorant about London’s tolerance and diversity…More importantly, he should apologise for pretending to speak on behalf of our police…Trump can’t just be dismissed as a buffoon – his comments are outrageous, divisive and dangerous – I condemn them utterly and hope his campaign dies a death.”

Read | ‘Nazi’ and ‘crazy’: Muslims decry Trump’s call to keep them out of US