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Donald Trump Won’t Rule Out Government Database, Special IDs, for American Muslims

(PBS screen grab)

(PBS screen grab)

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said that if elected he would “certainly implement” a government database of all American Muslims, and that he is open to the idea of requiring them to carry Muslim-only identification cards.

In an interview with Yahoo News, the billionaire businessman, who according to the latest Bloomberg Politics poll is leading all GOP candidates with 24 percent support (retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is next with 20 percent, followed by Florida senator Marco Rubio at 12 percent), said he believes that the war against Islamist extremism is going to require unprecedented surveillance of American Muslims.

“We’re going to have to do thing that we never did before,” Trump asserted. “Some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. Certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy,” Trump continued. “We’re going to have to do things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”

When asked if those measures could include warrantless surveillance of Muslims, a government database of Muslims and even special identification for Muslims that notes their religion, Trump would not rule anything out.

“We’re going to have to… look at a lot of things very closely,” Trump said. “We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”

Trump pointed to former New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who was sued over a controversial program in which the NYPD spied on Muslims both in and outside of its jurisdiction, as someone he might tap for a position in his administration.

“Ray did a fab job as commissioner, and sure, Ray would be somebody I’d certainly consider,” said Trump. “We had a great surveillance going on in and around the mosques of New York City.”

Trump also said he would have “absolutely no choice” but to shut down mosques whenever “some bad things happen.”

Some observers drew comparisons between Trump’s embrace of unprecedented surveillance and singling out of Muslims to the treatment of Jews, who were forced to wear armbands identifying their religion, in Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe. One reporter asked Trump how his plan would differ from a key component of Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem.’

“Why would Muslim databases not be the same thing as requiring Jews to register in Nazi Germany?” asked NBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard. “What would be the difference? Is there a difference between the two?”

“You tell me,” Trump retorted before walking away from Hillyard.

Former Marine Corps Sgt. Tayyib Rashid, a Muslim, took offense with Trump’s suggestion that Muslims might be forced to carry special IDs. Referring to his military ID, Rashid tweeted, “I’m an American Muslim and I already carry a special ID badge. Where’s yours?”

This is far from the first time Trump has raised eyebrows and ire with his anti-Muslim statements.

“There’s a problem in this country and it’s Muslims,” Trump asserted in a September appearance on CBS News’ 60 Minutes. “Look, I have many, many Muslim friends, living in this building. Muslims, they’re phenomenal people, but like everything else, you have people where there are problems.”

“You can say there are no problems with the Muslims,” Trump continued, “there’s no problems, no terrorism, no crime, they didn’t knock down the World Trade Center. You know, the people who knocked down the World Trade Center, they didn’t fly back to Sweden.”

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