Washington: Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump Monday night while defending his controversial proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States, issued yet another anti-Muslim statement, questioning the loyalty of the community.
“We have no idea if they love us or hate us", Trump said, drawing cheers at a rally in South Carolina.
“We’re out of control. We have no idea who is coming into our country,” Trump said at the rally. “I want ISIS to surrender.”
Earlier, a statement from Trump's campaign team said the halt on Muslims entering the country should remain in place "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
Trump's campaign cites poll data allegedly showing "hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population".
"Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine," the billionaire real estate mogul, who is leading in opinion polls among likely Republican voters, said in the statement.
"Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life", he added.
Trump has been increasingly virulent in his remarks targeting Muslim Americans since the deadly Paris attacks, and again in the wake of last week's shooting attack in California, which was carried out by a Muslim couple, leaving 14 dead and 21 wounded.
He has in the recent past advocated the closure of American mosques and recommended special IDs and databases for American Muslims.
"Just put out a very important policy statement on the extraordinary influx of hatred and danger coming into our country. We must be vigilant!" Trump tweeted after the statement was released.
His announcement unleashed quick condemnation on Twitter.
"@realdonaldtrump removes all doubt: he is running for President as a fascist demagogue," Democratic presidential contender Martin O'Malley said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called an urgent press conference later today to condemn what the group has called is "a policy statement by leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
News conference participants will also speak out against rising Islamophobia in America, exacerbated by inaccurate and inflammatory statements by public figures like Trump, Ben Carson and others, which has led to an unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino terror attacks.