76ºF

Trump backtracks after voicing support for Muslim database

After telling an NBC reporter that he would support creating a national database of Muslims, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says it was the reporter's idea.
After telling an NBC reporter that he would support creating a national database of Muslims, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says it was the reporter's idea.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After telling an NBC reporter that he would support creating a national database of Muslims, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says it was the reporter's idea.

Trump tweeted Friday, saying, "I didn't suggest a database-a reporter did. We must defeat Islamic terrorism & have surveillance, including a watch list, to protect America."

"Should there be a database system that tracks the Muslims here in this country?" the NBC News reporter asked Trump.

"There should be a lot of systems, beyond database, we should have a lot of systems, and today you can do it," Trump replied. "But right now we have to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall. And we cannot let what's happening to this country happen."

"But that's something your White House would like to implement?" the reporter subsequently asked.

"I would certainly implement that. Absolutely," Trump said.

After word of Trump's comments spread, other Republican presidential candidates were quick to condemn the proposal of a Muslim database.

Arshad Yousufi, the spokesman for the Islamic Society of Colorado Springs, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 he found the plan impractical and discriminatory.

"You're just spreading what I would call prejudice and fear among Americans and alienating the Muslims when you do that," Yousufi said. "Are you going to have a database of Christians to find out who's a member of a white supremacist group? That's about as rational as this approach."

Dr. Khurshid Qureshi has lived in the United States for more than 50 years. He said that while he understands the fear of terrorism, the notion of a database would impinge on the rights of Muslim-Americans.

"All of these amendments provide equal rights for all of its citizens," Qureshi said. "There is no relation between Islam and the terrorists. These people have hijacked our religion. Our religion is of peace and tranquility."

Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both voiced their disapproval. Sanders called the statement "outrageous and bigoted."