Donald Trump calls for Muslims to be barred from entering the US Kurtis Lee

Donald Trump on Monday called for all Muslims to be barred entry into the United States for an indefinite period of time, issuing a statement saying that “people that believe only in Jihad” need to be excluded.

The statement is the latest in a steady escalation of Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims and immigrants in general. Over the weekend, he said that at least some Muslims already in the U.S. should be “tracked.”

“Shariah (Islamic law) authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women,” Trump said in the statement, issued by his campaign.

“Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine,” Trump said. “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.”

The statement called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, and more recently in San Bernardino, Calif., Trump’s campaign has focused largely on what he has described as the threat to the U.S. from Islamic terrorists.

He has previously called for closing some mosques and creating a database to register Muslims in the United States.

He also has said he saw television coverage of “thousands of people” cheering in New Jersey as the World Trade Center towers collapsed in the Sept. 11 attacks — a claim debunked as false by local law enforcement and elected officials. And on Sunday, he said the idea of profiling is valid considering the recent terrorist attacks.

Trump’s comments about Muslims have been rebuked by some other Republican candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and by Democrats. They have also drawn protests from Muslim groups.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, said Trump’s rhetoric is essentially fear-mongering and harmful to the country as a whole.

“It’s very, very dangerous and detrimental to the country,” Hooper said. “When you’re pandering to the lowest common denominator of your party, it can lead to bigotry and give false perceptions.”

Trump remains the leader in national polls of Republican candidates and in many polls of early primary states. A survey released Monday by Monmouth University showed him in second place behind Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in Iowa, which holds the first contest of the primary season.