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Donald Trump says UK has 'massive Muslim problem'

Republican presidential hopeful's outburst comes after petition to ban him from UK became biggest ever on parliamentary website
Donald Trump: 'Everybody is wise to what is happening' (AFP)

Donald Trump has responded to UK critics of his views on Muslims, saying Britain has “a massive Muslim problem”, and aligned himself with a British commentator who compared migrants to cockroaches.

His claim comes after more than 450,000 British residents and citizens signed a parliamentary petition calling for him to be banned from the UK for 'hate speech'.

In a post on Twitter on Thursday, the Republican presidential hopeful said: 

Trump sparked controversy on Monday by saying in a speech to supporters that all Muslims should be barred from entering the United States until it could figure out "what the hell is going on".

He later claimed that some parts London were "no-go" areas for police due to radicalised Muslims.

Those comments were widely condemned at the top levels of political life on both sides of the Atlantic.

The office of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said the claims were "totally inaccurate" while a White House spokesman said his views "disqualified him from serving as president". 

Members of the Republican party also rejected his comments. He responded: "I don't care."

Trump also on Thursday praised the "respected columnist" Katie Hopkins for her "powerful writing" on "the UK's Muslim problems". Hopkins is a British writer who has compared migrants to cockroaches and called for gunboats to attack migrant boats.

Hopkins replied: "You have support in the UK. The liberal left love petitions."

The "Ban Trump" petition has become the most popular campaign on the parliamentary petitions website, beating the previous record of 446,482.

By law, the British government must respond to the petition, and its subject is being considered for parliamentary debate.

Twitter users hit back against Trump's claim of a "massive Muslim problem".

The widespread condemnation of Trump's remarks has begun to affect his businesses abroad. After announcing his "Muslim ban" policy, Landmark Group, based in Dubai, decided to remove all Trump products from its home furnishing stores, Doha News reported.

However, the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker, called Trump his "friend" and said his anti-Muslim sentiment was simply for political gain.

“Look, Donald is my friend, and we have been friends for a long time," Baker said. "I think it is an exercise only to gain political mileage. Nothing more. This is the opportune time to excite more extremist people so that they could give him their votes.”

Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic  presidential nomination, meanwhile said that Trump had crossed the line.

"I no longer think he is funny. I think for weeks you and everybody else were just bringing folks to hysterical laughter, but now he has gone way over the line.

"And what he is saying now is not only shameful and wrong, it is dangerous."

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