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Posted: June 04, 2017

CNN 'Believer' host Reza Aslan calls Trump 'embarrassment to humankind' over London tweet

By Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

UPDATE: Aslan has taken down the tweet and issued the following apology:

ORIGINAL STORY: The host of a CNN documentary series about spirituality is making headlines over his heated reaction to President Donald Trump's response to Saturday's deadly terrorist attacks in London.

Religious scholar Reza Aslan, host of "Believer," took to social media after Trump tweeted following the London attacks in support of his controversial travel ban targeting Muslim-majority nations.

>> Read more trending news

"We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!" Trump wrote Saturday evening before posting a separate tweet expressing solidarity with and offering help to the United Kingdom.

Aslan, who is Muslim, tweeted in response to Trump's first message: "This piece of [expletive] is not just an embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency. He's an embarrassment to humankind."

>> Trump tweets ‘ We need the travel ban’ amid reports of London terror attack

Minutes later, Aslan called Trump a "man baby that must be ignored in times of crisis" after NBC News posted that Trump had tweeted unconfirmed information about the attack.

>> London Bridge terror attacks: What we know

Aslan soon became a trending topic on social media, drawing ire from conservative pundits and outlets such as Breitbart.


Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Reza Aslan

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Reza Aslan

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 09: Executive producer Reza Aslan speaks onstage during ABC's Of Kings and Prophets panel as part of the ABC Networks portion of the 2016 Television Critics Association Winter Tour at Langham Hotel on January 9, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Donald Trump tweets 'We need the travel ban' amid reports of London terror attack

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump tweets 'We need the travel ban' amid reports of London terror attack

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday evening to argue in favor of his proposed travel ban amid reports of a terror attack in London.

>> Read more trending news

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” Trump wrote in a tweet about two hours after police confirmed that they were dealing with incidents on the London Bridge and nearby Borough Market. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the travel ban as an extra level of safety.”

The Justice Department filed a petition Thursday asking the Supreme Court to reinstate the ban, which would limit travel from six Muslim-majority countries.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week voted 10-3 against restoring the ban, saying that the policy was “rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country.”

After reports first surfaced that police in London were responding to a vehicular attack on the London Bridge, the president retweeted a post from Drudge Report that claimed that a van “(mowed) down 20 people” on the bridge.

BBC News reported that about five people were struck Saturday night by a speeding van on the London Bridge. Police said they were called shortly afterward to reports of stabbings in nearby Borough Market.

Both incidents were determined to be terrorist incidents, police said.

The president later shared support for the people of the United Kingdom, writing on Twitter that, “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U.K., we will be there.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

London Bridge terror attack: What we know now

Eight people were killed in London late Saturday in the third major terrorist attack in Britain in the past three months. 

The death toll was increased after officials found a body in the Thames Tuesday night.

British police have arrested 12 people, and the Islamic State group said it is behind the attack.

A van rammed into people on London Bridge and continued on to nearby Borough Market, where police said three assailants jumped out and stabbed multiple people.

>> Read more trending news

Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, said the attackers were shot and killed by officers.

Here’s what we know:

The Attack

At least one bystander was shot and injured by police as they responded to the attackers. Eight officers fired as many as 50 bullets to stop the carnage.

Police believe that the three people shot and killed by police.

"Our current belief is that there were three attackers," Rowley said early Sunday. "But we’ve still got some more inquires to do to be 100 percent confident of that."

Two of the attackers were identified by police Monday as Khuram Shazad Butt, a 27-year-old British man born in Pakistan, and Rachid Redouane, a 30-year-old man who claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan. Police said he also used the name Rachid Elkhdar with a different date of birth.

Police on Tuesday named a third man associated with the attack – Youssef Zaghba, 22, The Associated Press reported.

Rowley said the suspects were killed within eight minutes of the first call to police warning them of the attacks.

The Associated Press reports that at least 12 people – five men and seven women – were arrested Sunday in connection with the attacks. British authorities also “searched two homes Monday and detained ‘a number’ of people in the investigation,” the AP reported. Police are still trying to determine if others were involved in planning the attack.

Islamic State group “fighters” were responsible, the group said in a statement Sunday through its Aamaq news agency.

The victims

Police confirmed Monday that a Canadian tourist was among those killed in the attack.

Christine Archibald, 30, was on vacation in London when she was killed.

“She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected,” the Archibald family said in a statement released by police. “She lived this belief, working in a shelter for the homeless until she moved to Europe to be with her fiance. She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death. Please honor her by making your community a better place. Volunteer your time and labor or donate to a homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you.”

An eighth victim was found Tuesday night in the Thames River. Officials confirmed that the body was the remains of Xavier Thomas, a French tourist who was hit by the van and fell into the river, the Standard reported.

Authorities have not released the identities of the other victims.

At least 48 people were injured in the attack, according to the London Ambulance Service.

British Prime Minister Theresa May visited victims at the hospital Sunday. The Associated Press is reporting that 21 people are in critical condition.

Among those injured was a British Transport Police officer, authorities said. He suffered injuries to his head, face and leg, according to police.

His injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Third attack in three months

Police are calling the latest attack an act of terrorism.

“A full investigation is underway, led by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command,” Rowley said.

It is the third terror attack in London this year. Last month, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 people. In March, police said that 52-year-old Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge, killing four people before fatally stabbing a police officer.

He was shot and killed by police.

Trump administration reaction

U.S. President Donald Trump was briefed on the situation and offered his support for the United Kingdom in a tweet Saturday.

“Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U.K., we will be there,” Trump wrote.

That tweet came minutes after Trump renewed calls for his travel ban.

Trump later lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan and pointed out that the attackers did not use guns, but “knives and a truck.”

A representative for Khan said the mayor “has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police – including armed officers – on the streets.”

At a gala at Washington’s Ford’s Theatre on Sunday, Trump said, “This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end. As president, I will do what is necessary to prevent this threat from spreading to our shores.”

Vice President Mike Pence issued a statement on Twitter, as well.

“Our thoughts (and) prayers are (with) the victims, courageous first responders (and) all the people of London,” Pence wrote.

British reaction

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May called a meeting of the government’s emergency response committee Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

In a statement, the prime minister thanked first responders.

“Our thoughts are with those who are caught up in these dreadful events,” she said.

On Sunday, May added, “It is time to say, enough is enough.”

“While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is, to be frank, far too much tolerance of extremism in our country,” she said.

  Photos: London police respond to terror attacks
  At least 20 Dead After Explosion Near Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester

At least 7 killed in London Bridge terror attacks; 3 suspects killed by police

Seven people were killed in a pair of terror attacks reported Saturday night in London, police said. Three people believed to have carried out the attack were also killed.

>> Read more trending news

Officers responded around 10 p.m. local time to reports of a vehicle collision involving pedestrians on the London Bridge, police said. A short time later, police received reports of stabbings in the nearby Borough Market.

Police responded to a third incident in the Vauxhall area, but determined it was a stabbing and not a terror incident.

  Photos: London police respond to terror attacks

CNN cuts ties with Kathy Griffin over graphic photo

Kathy Griffin will no longer appear in CNN’s New Year’s Eve program in the wake of controversy over a graphic photo that showed the comedienne pretending to behead President Donald Trump.

>> Read more trending news

The news network announced the decision in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

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