December 7, 2015: Republican frontrunner Donald Trump calls for a ‘total and complete shutdown’ of borders to Muslims after San Bernardino shooting in latest boundary-pushing proposal.
American multi-billionaire Donald Trump was widely condemned both at home and abroad after provocatively calling for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States. In Britain, his outburst caused a record number of more than half a million signing a petition to prevent him from visiting the country.
Unlike Prime Minister, David Cameron, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, had no compunction in joining in calls for the American presidential candidate to be excluded from the UK after her Government dropped him from being Business Ambassador. The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen also stripped him of an honorary degree.
“The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK,” said the Parliamentary petition, which after reaching its first 100,000 signatories triggers MPs to debate banning Trump and for the Government to officially respond.
“If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the ‘unacceptable behaviour’ criteria to those who wish to enter its borders, it must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful.” The Petitions Committee is expected to discuss the record petition at its meeting on January 5.
Cameron went as far as condemning the vitriolic comments made by the leading Republican candidate seeking to stand in next year’s US presidential elections as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong”. But his spokeswoman refused to say whether he would be willing to meet Trump or if he could be barred from the UK, describing the questions as just “hypothetical”.
More outspoken London Mayor, Boris Johnson, described the American tycoon as “unfit” to be president, saying he had “stupefying ignorance” about allegations of Muslim no-go areas in London. But like Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, he rejected calls for Trump to be banned from travelling to the UK.
Opposition Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the US was “an attack on democratic values” and “an affront to common humanity”. In a tweet, he called for people to instead “unite against racism”.
Pulling no punches though, Sturgeon said the US presidential hopeful showed he was “no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland” after relieving him from the position given to him by her Labour predecessors. His comments were “obnoxious and offensive, and have rightly been condemned by people across the political spectrum, in the United States and elsewhere.”
Home Secretary, Theresa May, has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that their presence is “not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds.” The First Minister’s spokesperson said May should “consider the issue.”
Trump, who has made himself frontrunner to win the Republican nomination, called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US. It came in the wake of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that happens in the US on a virtual daily basis. It was only classified as an act of terror after the perpetrators were identified as a Muslim couple.
Those chiding Trump about his claim of no-go areas in London included the Muslim Council of Britain. “It is sad to see Mr Trump becoming a vocal purveyor of anti-Muslim hatred, and, as such, we expect the same rules to apply to him if he tries to enter into the UK,” it said.
“Those who espouse hatred have no place in the UK,” the umbrella organisation said while offering to “organise a multi-faith delegation to accompany Mr Trump and tour these areas and pay for his lunch” in the event that he was allowed in the UK.
Despite the backlash, the presidential candidate showed no signs of backing down, insisting in an article published in the Press and Journal newspaper that politicians should be “thanking me instead of pandering to political correctness.”