Muslims in Asia, Mid East denounce Republican Donald Trump's call for US ban on Muslims

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd at a Pearl Harbor Day Rally at the U.S.S. Yorktown Dec 7, 2015.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd at a Pearl Harbor Day Rally at the U.S.S. Yorktown Dec 7, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD/CAIRO (REUTERS, AFP) - Some Muslims in Pakistan on Tuesday (Dec 8) denounced Mr Donald Trump's call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, dismissing the US Republican presidential frontrunner as a bigot who promoted violence.

In Egypt, the country's official religious body also condemned Mr Trump's call, warning it could fuel hate and tensions in American society.  

Mr Trump's statement on "preventing Muslim immigration" has drawn swift and fierce criticism from many directions at home, including from the White House and rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Mr Trump, responding to last week's California shooting spree by two Muslims who the Federal Bureau of Investigation said had been radicalised, called for a complete block on Muslims entering the US "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on".

"It's so absurd a statement that I don't even wish to react to it," said Mr Asma Jahangir, one of Pakistan's most prominent human rights lawyers. "This is the worst kind of bigotry mixed with ignorance. I would imagine that someone who is hoping to become president of the US doesn't want to compete with an ignorant criminal-minded mullah of Pakistan who denounces people of other religions.

"Although we are not as advanced as the US, we have never elected such people to power in Pakistan."

Mr Tahir Ashrafi, head of the Ulema Council, Pakistan's biggest council of Muslim clerics, said Mr Trump's comments promoted violence.

"If some Muslim leader says there is a war between Christians and Muslims, we condemn him. So why should we not condemn an American if he says that?" he said.

He added that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a problem of Syria, not religion.

"If you solve the Syria issue, 75 per cent of the IS problem will be solved."

Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa, which each year issues tens of thousands of edicts that carry influence but not the force of law, denounced Trump’s latest statement. “This hostile vision towards Islam and Muslims will increase the tension within American society,” Dar Al-Iftaa said in a statement. “It is unfair to sanction all Muslims because of a group of extremists... we can’t accuse one religion or one country of being a source of extremism and terrorism.”

Urging Americans to reject Trump’s call, Dar Al-Iftaa said his proposal “will lead to conflict... and increase hate, which will be a threat to social peace in the United States. “This will give a chance to extremists from all parties to realise their criminals aims,” it said. 

Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir said his government would not comment on election campaigns in other countries, while adding that his country had made known its position on terrorism.

"As the country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia affirms that Islam teaches peace and tolerance," he told Reuters. "Acts of terror do not have any relation with any religion or country or race."

Mr Trump's comments at a rally on Monday in South Carolina prompted criticism from Republican former Vice-President Dick Cheney and Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, who said he was "unhinged".

They followed last week's killings in San Bernardino, California, by a Muslim couple.

The husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, was US-born. The wife, Tashfeen Malik, was born in Pakistan and went to the United States from Saudi Arabia.