Donald Trump courts trouble again: 5 other controversial politicians

 

Donald Trump, the 69-year-old US Republican presidential front runner, is no stranger to controversy. But this time his comments calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States have backfired spectacularly.

From the White House to other world leaders to even author J.K. Rowling, a rising number of voices have fiercely criticised the real-estate mogul for his inflammatory remarks.

Here's a look at some other politicians who have also sparked controversy with their remarks:


1. Pauline Hanson


Pauline Hanson announcing her Fed Up campaign tour at the Caloundra Airport. PHOTO: ONE NATION POLITICAL PARTY/FACEBOOK

The Australian politician, who heads the eponymous and right-wing Pauline Hanson's One Nation party, rose to prominence in 1996 when in her maiden speech to Parliament she said the country was being swamped by Asians and that "mainstream Australians" were subject to reverse racism.

Earlier this year, the former MP hit the headlines when she claimed halal food in Australia was funding Islamic terrorist organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Calling halal certification in the country a "profit, money-making racket", the 61-year-old said: "A lot of Australians have an issue with paying tax for it when 98 per cent of them are not Muslim."

2. Marine Le Pen


Marine Le Pen speaking at a news conference in Lille, France, on Dec 7. PHOTO: REUTERS

The president of France's far-right, anti-immigrant National Front political party went on trial in October on charges of inciting racial hatred in comments made five years ago during campaigning.

Ms Marine Le Pen, 47, had compared Muslims praying in the streets to Nazi occupation. A judgment is due on Dec 15.

On top of her legal woes - the lawyer by profession is also facing charges of her party conspiring in fraud during the 2012 parliamentary polls - she is involved in a feud over the National Front's long-term direction with her estranged father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

The senior Le Pen, who founded the party in 1972, pulled out of regional elections this year after a public spat with his daughter where he repeated his claims that Nazi gas chambers were a "detail of history". His daughter has been trying to change the image of the party from its racist and anti-Semitic past. He has also been convicted in the past for making anti-Semitic comments.

3. Geert Wilders


Geert Wilders speaking at The Hague in 2014. PHOTO: AFP

The local media has a rather apt description for Mr Wilders, the leader of the anti-immigrant Party of Freedom, a political party in the Dutch parliament. "Wherever he goes, a circus follows," said one reporter.

Best known for his criticism of Islam, the 52-year-old triggered protests in October when he travelled to Perth to launch the Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA), an anti-Islam political party.

He had previously labelled Islam "retarded", called the Prophet Mohammad a paedophile and likened the Quran to the Mein Kampf, an autobiographical manifesto by Germany's Aldof Hitler.

4. Jusuf Kalla


Jusuf Kalla during an interview at his office in Jakarta on Dec 1. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The Indonesian vice-president created a stir when he said neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia should not complain about the haze caused by forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

"For 11 months, they enjoyed nice air from Indonesia and they never thanked us," the 73-year-old said earlier this year. "They have suffered because of the haze for one month and they get upset."

In response, some netizens set up a website named "Thank You Indonesia for 11 months of clean air", which referenced the unpopular comments made by Mr Kalla and where visitors clicked on a button to "thank" Indonesia.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) CEO summit last month, Mr Kalla reiterated his comments. "Ten months every year, the good weather goes to our neighbours. You enjoyed it, we did not ask you to pay for it. But if there's some bad problem, it is our problem to the region too."

He also blamed the wind for the haze blanketing the region: "I'm so sorry to Malaysia and Singapore to say that we cannot control the wind. We don't want the haze to go everywhere. (It happened) not because we want it to (affect) our neighbours, but because of the wind," he said.

5. Boris Johnson


Boris Johnson taking part in a tug of war with members of the armed services in London on Oct 27. PHOTO: REUTERS

Mr Johnson, 51, has committed many a faux pas with his inappropriate and ill-timed remarks. At a gay rights event in June 2013, the Mayor of London sparked fury and caused guests to walk out in protest by making a crude joke about same-sex marriage.

"I'm delighted that as of this autumn any young man will be able to take his chum up the Arsenal... and marry him," he had said then.

In another memorable gaffe, he seemed to suggest women go to university because they want to get married.

It was committed during a panel debate with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in July 2013, when Mr Najib said that 68 per cent of university students in Malaysia were women.

Mr Johnson's response? "They've got to find men to marry."