Trump receives backlash; Petition to ban him from Britain tops 230000

Washington, PTI | Updated : 10 December 2015, 08:20 AM

A petition to ban US presidential hopeful Donald Trump from Britain reached more than 230,000 signatures today after the Republican front runner called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

The petition will now be considered for debate by parliament as it has over 100,000 signatures, and will receive a written government response.

“The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK,” said the petition.

Trump’s comments have caused an outcry in Britain and prompted the Scottish government today to drop him as a business ambassador for the country, where he owns golf courses and hotels.

“Mr Trump’s recent remarks have shown that he is no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland,” a spokesman for the regional government said.

Trump, whose mother was born in Scotland, took up the role in 2006.

Remarks by the property billionaire that police feared for their lives in parts of London due to radicalisation caused a social media outcry and drew the ire of the capital’s mayor, Boris Johnson.

“When Donald Trump says there are parts of London that are no-go areas, I think he is betraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of the president of the United States,” Johnson told ITV News.

Web users also mocked the blustering tycoon with the ironic hashtag #trumpfacts.

One tweet carried an image of Queen Elizabeth II wearing a headscarf with the inscription: “Even the British monarch is now forced to wear a hijab”.

The anti-Trump petition was posted late yesterday by Scottish resident Suzanne Kelly, a long-time critic of the 69-year-old.

Twenty-four lawmakers have also signed two House of Commons motions condemning the remarks. One calls on the government “to refuse a visa allowing Donald Trump to visit the UK until Mr Trump withdraws his comments”.

Finance minister George Osborne told parliament that Trump’s comments were “nonsense” but added that debate was “the best way to deal with Donald Trump and his views rather than trying to ban presidential candidates”.

Trump had called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

He later defended his comments on US network MSNBC, saying: “They have sections in Paris that are radicalised, where the police refuse to go.

“We have places in London... that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives.”

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said Trump “could not be more wrong” and invited all US presidential candidates for a briefing “on the reality of policing London”.

More than 17,000 had signed another petition, also launched by Kelly, calling on the Robert Gordon University in the Scottish city of Aberdeen to strip Trump of an honorary degree awarded in 2010.

A Scottish university today revoked an honorary degree it awarded to Donald Trump amid an outcry over a call by the Republican presidential front runner to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

“In the course of the current US election campaign, Mr Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university,” said a spokesman for Robert Gordon University in a statement.

“The university has therefore decided to revoke its award of the honorary degree.”

The university, based in the northern Scottish city of Aberdeen, awarded Trump an honorary doctorate of business administration in October 2010.

Earlier, the Scottish regional government sacked Trump as a business ambassador, saying the property tycoon was “no longer fit” to hold the position.

The billionaire, who has ancestral roots in Scotland, owns golf courses and hotels in the country.

A call by Trump for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” provoked widespread criticism in Britain, and a petition to bar the billionaire from the United Kingdom has attracted more than 235,000 signatures in 24 hours.

What Obama said?

In a veiled attack on leading Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, US President Barack Obama has urged his countrymen to reject bigotry in all its forms.

“We condemn ourselves to shackles once more if we fail to answer those who wonder if they’re truly equals in their communities, or in their justice systems, or in a job interview. We betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms,” Obama said yesterday at the Capitol while marking the end of slavery.

While Obama did not name Trump in his remarks, analysts said his statement was aimed towards some of the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the Republican presidential candidates including his call to ban all Muslims entering the United States.

“But we betray our most noble past as well if we were to deny the possibility of movement, the possibility of progress; if we were to let cynicism consume us and fear overwhelm us.  If we lost hope,” Obama said.

“For however slow, however incomplete, however harshly, loudly, rudely challenged at each point along our journey, in America, we can create the change that we seek,” he said.

Acknowledging that Obama’s message was quite contrary to the one delivered by the Republican candidate, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest later told reporters that the US president had delivered similar messages in the past.

“I think this is quite consistent with the message the President has been delivering for a number of years,” he said.

“It’s a message that has resonated with a significant majority of the American population and, yes, it stands in quite stark contrast to the language, message, and values that’s being promulgated not just by Trump, but by a variety of Republican candidates in the presidential field,” Earnest said.

He said Obama’s speech was a forceful and passionate defense of the kinds of values that the country has long defended.

“While serving in this office and even before serving in this office, the President took up the mantle of defending for and advocating for those values,” Earnest said.

“At each turn over the course of our country’s history, where we have perceived that our country has fallen short of our commitment to those values, we have, even in the face of significant obstacles, summoned the courage and the tenacity to overcome those obstacles and form a more perfect union,” Earnest added.

Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US, in the wake of a mass shooting in California by a Muslim couple believed to have been radicalised.

The remark was the latest in a series of increasingly virulent remarks by Trump in recent weeks.