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Trump calls for halt to Muslims entering US

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke during a campaign rally earlier this month.Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called Monday for a ''total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,'' an idea that prompted one of his rivals to call him ''unhinged.''

The proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike, a sweeping prohibition affecting all adherents of Islam who want to come to the U.S. The idea also raised immediate questions about whether it could pass muster under constitutional protections of the free exercise of religion.

The proposed ban would stand ''until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on,'' his campaign said in a statement.


Trump says in a statement released by his campaign Monday that his proposal comes in response to the level of hatred among ''large segments of the Muslim population'' toward Americans.

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says Trump's proposed ban would apply to ''everybody,'' including Muslims seeking immigration visas as well as tourists seeking to enter the country.

"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," Trump said in the statement. "If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again."

Trump followed up the release of the statement with a tweet:

He did not respond to questions about whether it would also include Muslims who are U.S. citizens and travel outside of the country, or how a determination of someone's religion might be made by customs and border officials.

In response to a request for additional detail, Trump said via a campaign spokeswoman: ''Because I am so politically correct, I would never be the one to say. You figure it out!''


Trump's proposal comes just one day after President Obama called for tolerance toward Muslims in a primetime address on the fight against ISIS and the San Bernardino attacks.

''We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want,'' Obama said Sunday night. ''ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death. And they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world, including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology.''

The FBI said Monday the Muslim couple who carried out the massacre had been radicalized and had taken target practice at area gun ranges, in one case within days of the attack last week that killed 14 people.

The call to ban Muslims from entering the US immediately drew fire online. In a tweet, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley called Trump a "fascist demagogue."

A recent Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll found Trump leading among Republican presidential candidates in New Hampshire, with 22 percent of support. Marco Rubio was second in the poll, with 11 percent of support.

Christina Prignano of the Globe staff contributed to this report.