NEW YORK: Donald Trump, the Republican presidential hopeful, Wednesday appeared to have softened his stand on barring Muslims from traveling to the US, saying the proposed ban was “just a suggestion”‘
Responding to criticism from the newly elected Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Trump said the planned ban was only “temporary”.
“It hasn’t been called for yet. Nobody’s done it,” the billionaire businessman said in an interview with Fox News radio.
“This is just a suggestion until we find out what’s going on,” he added.
Trump stood by his proposal, which has been criticized as potentially unconstitutional, as he has repeatedly since emerging as the presumptive Republican nominee last week.
But now the slight softening suggested a change in rhetoric following protracted criticism from London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who launched the most direct attacks on Trump’s policies in recent days.
“My message to Donald Trump and his team is that your views of Islam are ignorant,” Khan said in an interview with CNN that aired on Wednesday.
“It is possible to be a Muslim and live in the West. It is possible to be a Muslim and love America”. Sadiq Khan has also expressed concern that he would not be able to travel to the US under a Trump administration because of his Muslim faith.
Trump had offered to make an “exception” for Khan, but he refused the offer, saying the Republican leader’s views were “ignorant” and would make the UK and the US “less safe”.
“I assume he denies that there’s Islamic terrorism,” Trump responded on Wednesday.
“I mean, if you look at this Islamic radical terrorism all over the world right now, it’s a disaster what’s going on. I assume he is denying that”.
Trump has previously offered caveats to his proposal, and suggested that diplomats, foreign leaders and other prominent Muslims could be allowed into the country despite the overarching prohibition.
In the meantime a group of lawmakers from the Democratic Party has also unveiled a bill on Wednesday that would prevent Donald Trump from implementing his proposed ban on Muslim entering the United States.
The bill has been introduced on the eve of the visit by Trump to the capital Washington DC, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for the next US President, who has during his election campaign called for ban on Muslims from coming to the United States.
The bill titled “Freedom of Religion” Act was introduced by U.S. Representative Don Beyer which seeks to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act with a new section titled “Prohibition of denying admission because of religion”.
The bill stipulates that “notwithstanding any other provision of the immigration law, an alien may not be denied admission to the United States because of the alien’s religion or lack of religious beliefs”.
“Our Founding fathers guaranteed religious freedom for all, in the First Amendment to our Constitution. People all around the world look to us as the standard for freedom, liberty and tolerance,” Mr. Beyer said in a statement emailed to Newsweek”. – APP