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Donald Trump could soon find himself rubbing shoulders with Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan on a list of Americans banned from the U.K.
An online petition set up in December calling for the GOP presidential nominee to be barred following his call for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S,” has now amassed more than 500,000 signatures.
British prime minister David Cameron had already described Trump’s comments about Muslims as “divisive, stupid and wrong,” but parliament Tuesday announced that, following the success of the petition, ministers would debate the matter on Jan. 18.
“The U.K. has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech,” wrote the author of the petition, Suzanne Kelly. “If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the ‘unacceptable behavior’ criteria to those who wish to enter its borders, it must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful.”
The government responded to the petition by pointing out that coming into the U.K. was a “privilege and not a right,” and that the home secretary — of which the closest U.S. equivalent is the secretary of homeland security — would “continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the U.K. those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values.”
In response, Trump Organization executive George A. Sorial said in a statement that any restriction to Trump’s travels to the U.K. would affect his investment plans in Scotland, where the local government has already moved to sever ties to the Republican frontrunner by canceling his membership to the GlobalScot business network.
“Westminster would send a terrible message to the world that the United Kingdom opposes free speech and has no interest in attracting inward investment,” Sorial wrote. “This would also alienate the many millions of United States citizens who wholeheartedly support Mr. Trump and have made him the forerunner by far in the 2016 Presidential Election.”
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