United States Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has called for a halt to Muslims entering the country, in the wake of the deadly California shootings.
In a campaign statement, he said a “total and complete” shutdown should remain until the U.S authorities “can figure out” Muslim attitudes to the U.S.
At a rally in South Carolina hours later, frontrunner Mr. Trump repeated the pledge, to loud cheers, the BBC reports.
Criticism from the White House and other Republicans was swift.
Mr. Trump’s comments were contrary to U.S values and its national security interests, a statement from the White House said.
Republican Jeb Bush, also running for president, said the New York businessman was “unhinged.”
Mr. Trump’s statement was delivered as the U.S comes to terms with its deadliest terror attack since 9/11.
Last week a Muslim couple, believed to have been radicalised, opened fire and killed 14 people at a health centre in San Bernardino.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama made a rare Oval Office address in response to the attack and warned against the U.S falling prey to divisiveness.
Mr. Trump’s statement to reporters on Monday said polling by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think-tank, indicated that 25 per cent of Muslims in the U.S believed violence against America was justified.