(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/21/15) â€“ The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trumpâ€™s apparent willingness to close down American mosques.
During an interview today on Fox Business with Stuart Varney, TrumpÂ was asked whether, as president, he would follow the lead of a British proposal to close â€œextremistâ€ mosques.
“I would do that, absolutely, I think it's great,” said Trump. When pressed on whether he couldÂ close a mosque, given American laws protecting religious freedom, Trump said, “Well I don't know,” and conceded, “I mean, I haven't heard about the closing of the mosque. It depends, if the mosque is, you know, loaded for bear, I don't know. You're going to have to certainly look at it.”
â€œDonald Trumpâ€™s apparent willingness to close down American mosques that he deems â€˜extremeâ€™ is totally incompatible with the Constitution and our nationâ€™s cherished principle of religious freedom,â€ said CAIR Government Affairs Department Manager Robert McCaw. â€œThe government should not be in the business of deciding what is acceptable free speech or religious belief. Donald Trumpâ€™s off-the-cuff remarks are both un-American, and un-presidential.â€
McCaw asked Trump to clarify his definition of â€œextremismâ€ and to elaborate on what criteria would be used to close any house of worship.
Even Rep. Peter King of New York, who has often been criticized for his Islamophobic views, condemned Trumpâ€™s remarks.
Peter King on Mosques: Trump Doesn't Know What He's Talking AboutÂ
In September, CAIR called on Trump to also clarify what he meant when stating that he was “going to be looking at that” to a question about the Muslim “problem in this country” and “When can we get rid of them?”
Also that month, CAIR announced the renewal of its â€œShare the Quranâ€ campaign in response to GOP presidential candidate Ben Carsonâ€™s false claim that Islam is â€œinconsistentâ€ with the Constitution and his bigoted belief that a Muslim should not be elected president.
Earlier this year in a similar controversy, Republican presidential candidate and Governor of Louisianan Bobby Jindal proposed banning immigrants coming to the U.S. who might â€œimpose some variant or some version of Sharia law.â€
Interviewing Jindal about his remarks FOX New host Megyn Kelly called the remarks controversial and asked, â€œWho decides how far into Sharia law you have to be? Who decides whoâ€™s a radical Islamist and whoâ€™s just an Islamist?â€
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-341-4171, email@example.com