British Lawmakers Debate Banning "Fool," "Buffoon" Donald Trump over Anti-Muslim Views

StoryJanuary 21, 2016
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Tariq Ali

political commentator, historian, activist, filmmaker, novelist and an editor of the New Left Review. His most recent book is The Extreme Centre: A Warning. He is also the author of several books on Pakistani politics and history.

British lawmakers held a three-hour debate Monday on the possibility of banning Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump from entering the country. More than 570,000 people signed a petition in favor of the ban—more than any other petition submitted to the current Parliament—after Trump called for banning Muslims from entering the United States. While they condemned Trump as a "buffoon" and a "dangerous fool," British lawmakers do not actually have the power to ban him from the country. We get reaction from political commentator and historian Tariq Ali.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Tariq Ali, we’re going to have to break, but I do want to ask you a question, where you just have 30 seconds to respond, and it’s wading into U.S. politics and where you are, in Britain. The British Parliament had a debate over whether to ban Donald Trump—they decided not to—because of his statement that he wanted to ban all Muslims from coming into the United States. The significance of this?

TARIQ ALI: Well, it’s significant, but it’s—it was not a surprising decision. And I, myself—Amy, I have to say that, you know, I’m not in favor of banning people, because once you start banning people from the right who are mouthing extreme-right rubbish, this then leads to similar bans against progressive people, people on the left accused of being terrorists, etc. It’s better to debate these people out rather than to ban them. That’s my opinion.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you for being with us, Tariq Ali, a British-Pakistani political commentator, written a number of books on Pakistani politics and history and on global politics, and Jibran Nasir, joining us from Islamabad, Pakistani political activist and lawyer.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we go directly to Detroit. Stay with us.

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