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World Reacts To Donald Trump's Call To Ban Muslims Traveling To U.S.


Donald Trump's call to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. until American authorities can, quote, "figure out what is going on" is being heard around the world. Zainab Fattah is a reporter for Bloomberg News in the gulf country Dubai where Donald Trump has business interests.

ZAINAB FATTAH: He's definitely sought out a lot of business in the region, and he has also some deals with retailers. One of them today announced that they will be severing ties with him.

CORNISH: Can you recount a specific headline or two that you found really interesting that reflected some of the reaction in the region?

FATTAH: Today, there was an editorial in Gulf News in which the newspaper likened Trump's extremist views to those of DAESH, the way ISIS is called in the Middle East. It seems like a lot of papers here that kind of ignored before a lot of the rhetoric are starting to kind of pay attention to it. There were also calls for the partners of Mr. Trump in the region to sever ties with him.

CORNISH: Can you talk a little bit about the broader region? In the countries around you, are you seeing headlines, editorials or Muslim faith leaders speaking out?

FATTAH: Yes, we are starting to see the reaction filtering across the media, across the Arab world. Since Trump got into the election, people weren't paying a lot of attention to what he says. Now with the latest comment, it got a lot of people's attention, and we saw editorials and papers condemning what he's saying. Al-Azhar University, the oldest Islamic university in the world, issued a statement describing his comments as hateful and saying that they will probably cause a lot of divisiveness in the U.S. and hatred against Muslim-Americans. There were a lot of jokes being made on social media by people who are likening Trump's extremist views on this to that of ISIS.

CORNISH: That was Bloomberg News reporter Zainab Fattah in Dubai. Meanwhile, Germany has received 965,000 asylum seekers so far this year, many of them Muslims from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Joerg Lau is foreign editor of the German national weekly Die Zeit. He says Trump's comments have affected the political debate there in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

JOERG LAU: We have a debate going on about right-wing populism, xenophobic parties sprouting all over the place in Europe. And this is really very unsettling news that comments like his come now also from the U.S.

CORNISH: Talk a little about average German citizens. I don't know if you've been out talking with people or if you've seen things on social media. What are the range of reactions?

LAU: Well, you get some supportive reactions, saying, this guy is completely right; why don't our politicians speak up like he does against this huge wave of immigration? But I would say the majority is really embarrassed, outraged about this issue because, I mean, you have to see that we're taking in about 8,000 to 10,000 migrants per week in Germany. Everybody's trying to do their best to welcome them, to integrate them - refugees from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan - and there is a sense that the U.S. is quite leaving us alone with this problem. And now these xenophobic tones coming out of the campaign, they are certainly not helping, and people are quite irritated by it.

CORNISH: Prior to this point, how did Germans regard Donald Trump?

LAU: Well, he was seen basically as a political clown, but I think this is changing. People were expecting him to play a little role, I mean, in the beginning of the campaigns, but now he's getting stronger and stronger and even more radical. And his supporters seem to like what he does. So this is really hard to understand from a German point of view. I mean, you could face trial in this country for the things that he says because this is considered to be incitement.

CORNISH: Joerg Lau, foreign editor of Die Zeit - we asked him and Bloomberg's Zainab Fattah for international reaction to Donald Trump. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.