Donald Trump: Entry-ban would not apply to Muslim celebrities
The Republican presidential front-runner and the most likely nominee for his party said on Monday he would make an exception for London's newly elected Muslim mayor from his proposed temporary ban.
"There will always be exceptions," the New York Times quoted the real estate billionaire and reality TV star-turned politician as saying.
Trump was answering a question about how his controversial proposal would apply to second-generation Pakistani immigrant Sadiq Khan, who was sworn in as London's mayor on Saturday.
The New York-born candidate suggested the exception to Muslims such as Khan was because of their achievements and status. He said he was happy to see Khan elected, adding: "You lead by example, always lead by example. If he does a good job... that would be a terrific thing."
Khan has since responded. Rebuffing Donald Trump’s suggestion, he said the call by the presumptive Republican nominee for president for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US was something that directly affected those closest to him, and said making an exception for him was not the answer.
|This isn't just about me – it's about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world
- Sadiq Khan, mayor of London
"This isn't just about me – it's about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world," Khan said.
"Donald Trump's ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe – it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of the extremists. Donald Trump and those around him think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam - London has proved him wrong," The Guardian quoted him as as saying on Monday.
Trump once had close ties and business dealings with wealthy Arabs and Muslims, and it remains an open question whether he would be willing to make the same accommodations for them.
He had proposed the idea of the ban after major attacks by Islamic State-linked militants in Paris and California last year.
The ban was condemned as divisive, counterproductive and contrary to "American values" by Muslim and human rights groups and Trump's rivals from both sides of the aisle.
|British conservatives used fear and innuendo to try to turn different ethnic and religious groups against each other, something straight out of the Donald Trump playbook|
Beating fear politics
Sadiq Khan, a Muslim candidate from the left-wing Labour Party, beat his Conservative rival to secure the biggest mandate in British political history after a divisive campaign that saw issues of identity and multiculturalism thurst into the fore.
He told Britain's Observer on Sunday that his rivals used fear and innuendo to try to turn different ethnic and religious groups against each other, "something straight out of the Donald Trump playbook".
The mayor earlier told press he wanted to go to the United States to see the interesting programmes the mayors of New York and Chicago were implementing, but that he would have to visit before January, in case Trump won the November 8 election.
"If Donald Trump becomes the president I'll be stopped from going there by virtue of my faith, which means I can't engage with American mayors and swap ideas," Khan said.