Hillary Clinton calls Orlando club shooting act of 'radical Islamism'

Published June 13, 2016
A man carries a sign supporting both the Orlando shooting victims and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the 46th annual Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood, California. —Reuters
A man carries a sign supporting both the Orlando shooting victims and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the 46th annual Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood, California. —Reuters

WASHINGTON: The presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton warned against demonising an entire religion, saying doing so would play into the hands of the Islamic State group. However, while commenting on the worst mass shooting in US history, she said: “We can call it radical jihadism, we can call it radical Islamism.”

“But we also want to reach out to the vast majority of American-Muslims and Muslims around this country, this world, to help us defeat this threat, which is so evil and has got to be denounced by everyone, regardless of religion,” Clinton said during CNN's New Day on Monday.

She also renewed her call for an assault weapons ban that would outlaw one of the weapons used by the Orlando shooter.

“We know the gunman used a weapon of war to shoot down at least 50 innocent Americans,” Clinton told CNN.

The mass shooting shook the presidential campaign Monday, sending Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump scrambling to position themselves as best-qualified to lead a nation on edge over terrorism and gun violence.

In a flurry of TV interviews, Trump redoubled his call for banning Muslims who come from other countries, although the shooter in Sunday's Orlando nightclub attack was an American citizen born in New York.

While Trump focused in particular on keeping out refugees from Syria, he said a ban should apply to people from “different parts of the world with this philosophy that is so hateful and so horrible.”

The presumptive Republican nominee also appeared to suggest that President Barack Obama may sympathise with Islamic terrorists, a stunning statement about the current commander in chief.

“He doesn't get it or, or he gets it better than anybody understands,” Trump said on Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends. “It's one or the other. And either one is unacceptable.”

Like Obama, Clinton has often avoided using the phrase “radical Islam,” which has deeply angered Republicans.

Clinton and Trump planned to address the shooting further in back-to-back speeches Monday. Clinton was speaking at an event in Cleveland and Trump in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Trump's speech was originally supposed to focus on his case against Clinton, as well as her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

But he abruptly switched his focus following the attacks on the gay nightclub in Orlando.

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