New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has added his voice to a growing chorus of critics of Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Cuomo told CNN on Monday that Trump's plan "plays right into" the hands of the Islamic State.
"I believe it is actually fomenting the growth of ISIL; Donald Trump could be a recruitment poster for ISIL because he is fanning the flames of hate," Cuomo said on CNN's "New Day."
He added: "No Muslims in the United States. One billion Muslims were just alienated with one sentence."
A number of political leaders and prominent Muslims have criticized Trump's call for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the country, an idea the GOP presidential hopeful presented less than 24 hours after President Obama urged tolerance in an Oval Office address and said the fight against terrorists should not “be defined as a war between America and Islam.”
Republicans on Capitol Hill — led by House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — denounced the proposal, which, Ryan said, "is not what this party stands for." On Friday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) attended an afternoon prayer service at the Islamic Center of the North East Valley in Scottsdale, where he lamented "the rhetoric" of the past week, "mostly from the presidential campaign."
Boxing champion Muhammad Ali, one of America's most recognizable Muslims, also delivered a broadside against Trump, without mentioning the billionaire by name. In a statement titled “Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States,” Ali rebuked the plan and defended Islam as a religion of peace that is being twisted by a small, hateful group.
"I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is,” Ali said.
Former basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar issued a much harsher critique, describing Trump as "ISIS's greatest triumph."
“Trump’s irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric and deliberate propagation of misinformation have created a frightened and hostile atmosphere that could embolden people to violence,” the outspoken Hall of Fame basketball player wrote for Time magazine. “He’s the swaggering guy in old Westerns buying drinks for everyone in the saloon while whipping them up for a lynching.”
Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), one of two Muslim congressmen and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, called Trump a "a modern P.T. Barnum" and suggested that a recent rise in Islamophobia may be putting American Muslims in harm's way.
Cuomo echoed that concern Monday.
"ISIL is saying to a disenfranchised population 'come join us, fight the good fight,'" he said. He added: "I think we're actually playing into it when they hear Trump's rhetoric. And I think it's dangerous and hurtful as a matter of national policy."
Despite the controversial remarks, Trump continues to lead in polls.
In fact, a poll of Republican and Republican-leaning voters conducted after Trump's call for a Muslim ban shows him enjoying a 27-point lead, his biggest yet. His comments on Muslims have attracted growing media coverage and growing criticism.
Trump and the rest of his Republican opponents will participate in the final GOP debate of the year Tuesday night in Las Vegas.