WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: Donald Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, has suggested that the United States bar all Muslims from entering the country in the wake of the terrorist attack that killed 14 Americans in California on Dec 2.

“Mr Trump is 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,” said a statement issued by his campaign office on Monday.

Mr Trump also referred to a recent survey by the Pew Research Centre, Washington, claiming that “there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population”.

The statement also referred to another poll by the Centre for Security Policy, Washington, which said that “25 per cent of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51 per cent of those polled “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah”.

Mr Trump claimed that it was this hatred for America that caused Muslims to carry out attacks like the shooting in San Bernardino, California, by a Pakistani couple.

The statement also claimed that Muslim laws authorised “such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women”.

Mr Trump stated: “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension.

“Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country can be the victim of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”

Mr Trump has previously called for surveillance against mosques and said he was open to establishing a database for all Muslims living in the US.

White House immediately reacted saying Mr Trump’s proposal was contrary to American values. People expect Mr Trump to double down on his controversial proposal.

Mr Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN that the ban would apply not only to Muslim foreigners looking to immigrate to the US, but also to Muslims looking to visit the US as tourists.

Mr Lewandowski declined to answer questions about what the shutdown on Muslim immigration would mean for Muslim Americans and Muslims already legally living in the US.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2015