Anger at Trump's anti-Islam rhetoric
Leading US politicians have harshly condemned would-be Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's demands for a ban on Muslims entering the US. Commentators are dismayed to see Trump still mobilising voters despite his discriminatory discourse and fear his remarks play into the hands of terrorists.
America's enemies love Trump
Donald Trump's demand for a ban on Muslim immigrants is not only foolhardy but also dangerous, the conservative daily The Times argues: "It would seem undignified even to begin to point out the absurdity of the reasoning behind such a proposition, let alone the manifest impracticality. … To be forced to remind anyone that America's Muslim inhabitants, who enjoy the same rights as all other citizens, are in general well-educated, patriotic and peaceful also seems unnecessary and insulting. To lump together millions of ordinary and moderate people with a small and vicious band of religious extremists is to achieve by stupidity what the terrorists cannot achieve by violence. … Too many non-Americans will think they are seeing a nation frightened into bigotry and isolationism rather than taking an active role in leading the free world and defeating the barbaric Islamic State. To put it bluntly, enemies of America are loving Trump."
Anti-Islam tirades sadly attracting voters
Donald Trump's calls for a ban on Muslims entering the country marks a new low in the US election campaign, writes the Christian-social daily Trouw observes, drawing parallels with Europe: "The worst thing about it is that with his radical and discriminatory course Trump is scoring points with the voters. … In his well formulated TV appearance President Obama criticised the branding of entire groups as scapegoats. … The values he cited form the basis not only of the US constitutional state, but also of most European states. It is sad that with the siren call of enmity parties can also win elections here - as the Front National's victory in the French regional elections and the growing support for [Wilders' party] the PVV show. The latter is actually seeking candidates who 'despise Islam'. With such an attitude we distance ourselves from the ideals of freedom and equality which are the very heart and soul of our democracy."
Provocations falling on fertile ground
Donald Trump's success highlights the rifts in American society, writes the liberal daily Dennik N fears: "The idea that this person who sees his wealth as adequate qualification could become president is making even the Republicans squirm. Fortunately that isn't very likely to happen. The Republicans have witnessed the premature fall of many rising stars. … Even if he did win the Republican candidacy, he would still have to beat the Democrats' candidate. That would be a catastrophe. But even if he bows out of the race tomorrow, the long-term backing he has enjoyed speaks volumes - about the fears of many voters which politicians like to exploit, for instance. Or about the quest to find scapegoats, and about the deepening rifts between different groups in society."
Republicans must get rid of Trump
With his calls for Muslims to be banned from entering the US Trump has disqualified himself even among those who have supported him up to now, comments the centre-left daily El País in delight: "Especially worrying is that a person who has shown contempt for women, blacks, Hispanics and now also Muslims is still ahead of his rivals in the fight for the Republican candidacy for the US presidential elections. Trump has gone from being a pre-election anecdote - something there's never any shortage of - to a distorting element that threatens the fundamental principles of coexistence and the very history of the United States. This makes it all the more significant that now - at last! - major figures of the Republican party have taken the step of criticising the provocative magnate without any regard for the polls. … Now society and the voters must do the same."