(JTA) – Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump confirmed his support for a database to track American Muslims.
Asked about a statement earlier in the week that he was open to the idea, Trump confirmed Thursday night that he would move to require Muslims to register with the government if he were elected.
“I would certainly implement that. Absolutely,” Trump told NBC News in between campaign stops in Iowa.
“There should be a lot of systems beyond databases,” he added. “We should have a lot of systems.”
Asked how his system would differ from what the Nazis did to the Jews, Trump said repeatedly: “You tell me.”
Trump’s comments were widely condemned by his rivals for the presidency as well as by religious leaders.
Rabbi Jack Moline, the former director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, compared Trump’s position to the Nazis.
“This is exactly why there is an America, to not be like that,” Moline, who is now the director of the Interfaith Alliance, a liberal religious freedom advocacy group, told NBC.
Jeb Bush, who is trailing Trump in polls for the Republican nomination, said Friday Trump’s comment is “just wrong.” Hillary Clinton, who is favoured to win the Democratic nomination, said in a tweet that that Trump’s comment is “shocking rhetoric.”