This story has been updated.
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump took his anti-Muslim rhetoric to a new extreme today (Dec. 7), calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Here is his statement:
Donald J. 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. According to Pew Research, among others, there is a great hatred toward Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. More recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” Shariah authorizes 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 form 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 cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.
Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN on Monday that the ban would apply not just to Muslim foreigners looking to immigrate to the US, but also to Muslims looking to visit the US as tourists. “Everyone,” Lewandowski said when asked if the ban would also apply to Muslim tourists.
“Great surveillance and vigilance must be adhered to,” said Trump in an additional statement Lewandowski provided to CNN. “We want to be very fair but too many bad things are happening and the percentage of true hatred is too great. People that are looking to destroy our country must be reported and turned in by the good people who love our country and want America to be great again.”
Quartz took a closer look at Trump’s sources—not that they would justify his proposed ban, even if accurate (they’re not):
The Center for Security Policy is run by Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration official and known anti-Islamic activist and conspiracy theorist. In a 2010 column for conservative website Breitbart.com, Gaffney wrote that a new logo for the Missile Defense Agency “appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo” He has also repeatedly claimed that Huma Abedin, a long-time Hillary Clinton aide, is a Muslim Brotherhood operative.
The center’s survey on Muslims “should not be taken seriously,” Georgetown University researchers wrote on the Huffington Post when it was released in July. “It comes from an organization with a history of producing dubious claims and ‘studies’ about the threat of shariah, and was administered using an unreliable methodology. Its proponents seize upon its shoddy findings, exaggerating and misrepresenting them to American audiences, and falsely claim that the survey data represents the views of Muslims nationwide.”
As for the Pew Research poll cited by Trump, it appears to refer to a 2011 study which found 21% of American Muslims say there is a great deal (6%) or a fair amount (15%) of support for extremism in the Muslim American community. Most importantly, Pew never found “a great hatred toward Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.” The survey, conducted before the rise of ISIL, suggests that only 5% of American Muslims supported Al Qaeda. By contrast, most Muslims rated their life in America as favorable, with 79% saying their communities were “excellent” to live in.
A spokesperson for Trump confirmed his statement to the New York Times: “Asked what prompted it, Mr. Trump said, ‘death,'” the spokesperson said.
The Times noted that Trump’s most provocative statements tend to take place immediately after he falls behind in the polls. Earlier today, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas overtook Trump in Iowa, according to a new Monmouth University poll.