Jeremy Corbyn has invited Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to tour a north London mosque, ahead of a debate in parliament about whether the American businessman should be banned from the UK.
The Labour leader said it would be better to engage with Trump, who has made inflammatory comments about Mexicans, gay people, women, Muslims and other groups, than exclude him from the country.
“I decided to invite Donald Trump on his visit to Britain to come with me to my constituency because he has problems with Mexicans and he has problems with Muslims,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
“As you know, my wife is Mexican and my constituency is very, very multicultural, so what I was going to do was go down to the mosque with him and let him talk to people there.”
Trump drew international condemnation when he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.
He later claimed that “we have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that police are afraid for their own lives”.
Corbyn said he did not think Trump should be banned from the country for his “weird and off-the-wall” views, but should be educated about life in the UK.
“I think he should come here and he should have lessons in going to all our cities,” he said. “Why he can’t he go to Leicester, Birmingham, Newcastle and see we do have great diversity within our society.
“Take a walk round central Manchester, take a walk round any of our cities, and understand that, yes, we’ve got problems but we’ve also got a great community, a great society and cohesion. He might learn something, you never know.”
David Cameron also has said he does not support a ban, while condemning Trump’s comments about Muslims as “divisive, stupid and wrong”.
The proposal is being debated in the House of Commons by MPs after a petition calling for Trump to be excluded. More than half a million people signed the document calling for the exclusion of Trump, who has threatened to withdraw £700m of investment in Scottish golf courses if he were banned.
Alex Salmond, the SNP foreign affairs spokesman in Westminster and former first minister, has suggested he would be in favour of excluding him from Scotland. “He wants to ban all Muslims from the United States. I want to ban all Donald Trumps from Scotland,” he said on Sunday.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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