Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday called for surveillance of mosques as part of US law enforcement efforts to prevent terrorism, and stood by his remarks on banning Muslim immigrants, which others in his party have criticized.
Trump repeated his call for a temporary ban on the entry of Muslims into the United States after a US-born Muslim, the son of Afghan immigrants, fatally shot 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando early on Sunday.
The New York real estate developer said that while the Florida gunman was born in the United States, “his parents weren’t and his ideas weren’t born here.”
“We have to maybe check, respectfully, the mosques and we have to check other places because this is a problem that, if we don’t solve it, it’s going to eat our country alive,” Trump said at a rally in Atlanta.
Trump had called for surveillance of mosques in November, as well as a database of Syrian refugees entering the United States.
The Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, is believed by authorities to have acted alone, inspired by radical ideology he was exposed to over the Internet.
“Any kind of extremism and violence is not preached in American mosques,” said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “In fact, research has shown that mosques are a moderating influence on individuals who attend.”
Prominent Republicans this week distanced themselves from Trump’s comments about Muslims.