US Elections 2016

Trump again calls for profiling of Muslims

Mr Trump has also said he would consider registering Muslims in a special database or requiring that they carry cards that identify them as Muslim.
Mr Trump has also said he would consider registering Muslims in a special database or requiring that they carry cards that identify them as Muslim.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

It's a preventive move, he says. But Indonesian vice-president warns it will threaten trade

WASHINGTON • Mr Donald Trump has renewed his call for the United States to consider profiling as a preventive tactic against terrorism in the aftermath of the mass shooting on June 12 in Orlando, Florida.

"I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense," Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said in an interview on CBS television on Sunday.

Mr Trump issued a similar call in December after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead and more than 20 injured.

Profiling has been an occasional theme of the Trump campaign.

In addition to his most recent comments, Mr Trump has discussed increased surveillance of Muslims and mosques, and has said that he would consider registering Muslims in a special database or requiring that they carry cards that identify them as Muslim.

As Mr Trump made his latest call for profiling, Indonesia's vice-president yesterday voiced concerns over Mr Trump's comments on Muslims, saying "discrimination according to religion" could prompt retaliatory policies from other countries.

Mr Jusuf Kalla said that the government was "not happy with Trump's opinions" - the first critical remarks from a top official in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

"Any country, especially big countries, seen making policies about 'radicalism' or discrimination according to religion will be a bad issue," Mr Kalla said in an interview.

"There will be vice-versa policies from other countries," he said, adding that an impact would be felt on economy and trade.

Lawmakers in Indonesia are already thinking about restricting US trade and investment if Mr Trump becomes president. Mr Trump has partnerships to operate luxury resorts in Bali and Java, which Indonesian officials have said could be threatened by his rhetoric.

But the government was in a wait-and-see mode, Mr Kalla said, adding that Mr Trump's comments could be seen as posturing as part of his presidential campaign.

On Sunday, Mr Trump also sought to downplay any differences between his positions on gun control and those of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Last week, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter that people on the government's terrorist watch list should be barred from buying firearms, a stance that contradicts that of the NRA.

But Mr Trump now seems to be backtracking, saying on the ABC network that he "understands exactly" the NRA's objections to restricting access to people on the watch list.

Meanwhile, one of the most influential Republican leaders, Mr Paul Ryan, has said he has a responsibility as US House Speaker to back Mr Trump and prevent a Democratic win in November, while promising to challenge the presumptive Republican nominee if he doesn't abide by conservative principles.

Still, he acknowledged that the Republican Party is divided and added: "I'm not going to tell somebody to go against their conscience."

Democrat Hillary Clinton has opened a double-digit lead nationally over Mr Trump, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll released last week.

Mrs Clinton has the support of 49 per cent of likely voters in November's election, compared with 37 per cent for Mr Trump, according to the survey.

BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2016, with the headline 'Trump again calls for profiling of Muslims'. Print Edition | Subscribe