Trump sharpens attack on Muslims after Orlando shootings

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Jun 14, 2016 22:14 IST
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech at St Anselm's College in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday. (Reuters)

Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has doubled down on his call to ban Muslims from entering the US, and added, in light of the Orlando massacre, he will specifically target areas “with a proven history of terrorism”.

Trump also suspended media credentials provided to The Washington Post to cover his campaign on Wednesday, citing problems with a headline.

Trump has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the media, and the Post’s banishment, which drew criticism even from his Republican supporters, is not expected to last long.

But his remarks about Muslims indicated he is not shifting his position on the issue despite a deep sense of disquiet about it even among his party’s ranks and leadership.

Alluding to the “great scorn and anger” that followed his earlier call, issued after the San Bernardino terror attack last December, Trump launched his new, and even harsher, position on Monday.

“When I am elected,” he started, “I will suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the US, Europe or our allies, until we understand how to end these threats.”

He added: “After a full, impartial and long overdue security assessment, we will develop a responsible immigration policy that serves the interests and values of America.”

Trump didn't list the regions with a “proven history of terrorism”, but named a few countries by way of illustrating his point — Pakistan and Somalia, specifically.

“The male shooter in San Bernardino - again, whose name I won't mention - was the child of immigrants from Pakistan, and he brought his wife - the other terrorist - from Saudi Arabia, through another one of our easily exploited visa programmes,” he said.

The “male shooter”, Syed Rizwan Farook, was of Pakistan descent, though was born in the US like the Afghan-descent Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen.

But Trump missed to mention that Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, was not merely of Pakistani descent but a Pakistani citizen who naturalised after marriage.

In a speech with 16 mentions of “radical Islam”, a phrase used frequently by the American right, Trump went on to put the entire American Muslim community in the dock.

“Muslim communities must cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad,” he said, “and they do know where they are.”

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