Source: The Guardian
Muslim communities are “absolutely not reporting” suspected terrorists and need to “open up to society”, Donald Trump has said in his first UK interview since launching his bid for the US presidency.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB), Trump said there was “very little assimilation” in cities where there had been a “large inflow” of Muslims, and denied that some British citizens were scared of the idea of him in the White House.
The frontrunner for the Republican nomination told the programme’s presenter, Piers Morgan, on Wednesday that residents of the Brussels neighbourhood Molenbeek had “coddled and taken care of” Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam before his arrest.
The billionaire, who was once described by Morgan as a friend he had known for 10 years, also pledged to “hit Isis so hard you wouldn’t believe it” if he became US president.
Discussing Muslim communities, Trump said: “When they see trouble they have to report it. They are not reporting it. They are absolutely not reporting it and that is a big problem.”
Trump complained about the failure to turn in Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the married couple who went on to launch a deadly attack in San Bernardino, California, in December: “It’s like they are protecting each other but they are really doing very bad damage.
“They have to open up to society, they have to report the bad ones. And, you know, if you report the bad ones, all of a sudden you are not going to have the problems.”
Trump denied he was racist, telling the programme: “I’m not ‘anti’ anything; I’m just common sense, I say it like it is.
“I have great respect for Muslims, I have many friends that are Muslims. I am just saying there is something with a radicalised portion that is very, very bad and very dangerous.”
He said he was astounded at the failure of anyone to turn in Abdeslam, the chief surviving suspect in the Paris terror attacks who was ultimatelyfound in his own neighbourhood after a four-month manhunt.
“There is something wrong, and we have to get to the bottom of it, when someone like who was just captured was really coddled and taken care of by people that live in the neighbourhood.
“Many people knew he was there yet he was the No 1 fugitive in the world. Everybody from that area knew he was there and nobody turned him in.”
Trump’s interview came as Brussels was still reeling after suspected Islamic extremists attacked the city’s airport and underground network, killing at least 31 people.
“I knew Brussels years ago,” he said. “I was there probably three or four times and it was so beautiful, so secure and so safe. Now it’s an armed camp. It’s like a different world, a different place, there is no assimilation.”
The tycoon-turned-politician provoked anger last year after he called for a “total and complete shutdown” of US borders to Muslims after the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
More than half a million people signed a petition calling for Trump to be banned from the UK after issuing the pledge. He also claimed that parts of London were “so radicalised” police were “afraid for their own lives”.