GOP frontrunner Donald Trump said Syrian refugees are "probably" ISIS during a Friday rally that was disrupted by protesters who included a woman wearing a traditional Muslim head covering.
Refugees from Syria “could be ISIS ... and by the way, it is turning out that they probably are ISIS,” said Trump in Rock Hill, South Carolina. "There’s so many men, they’re so young, they are very strong. Where are the women? Where are the children?"
Trump caused an international furor in December when called on Muslims to be barred from entering the United States.
During his speech, a woman wearing a hijab stood in silent protest and was soon removed by police, along with a few other anti-Trump hecklers. Some Trump supporters jeered and booed the woman, who was identified as Rose Hamid. She was wearing a T-shirt that read "Salam, I come in peace."
Other protesters wore yellow stars with the word "Muslim" written on them, evoking the Nazis' treatment of the Jews.
Women in headscarves have protested silently at least two previous Trump rallies but have not been removed.
Within hours, leading Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), condemned Hamid's removal and called on Trump to apologize publicly.
"The image of a Muslim woman being abused and ejected from a political rally sends a chilling message to American Muslims," CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.
Trump also lashed out at President Barack Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
"In Los Angeles, in California, you had the two people, the two wackos that came in," he said in apparent reference the couple in San Bernardino, California, who went on a deadly rampage on December 2. "How about that? Came in on a what, a marriage visa?"
One of the perpetrators, Syed Rizwan Farook, was born in the U.S., while his wife, Tashfeen Malik, immigrated there.
"And we have a president, we have a president that doesn't even want to talk about what's really happening," he said. "We have a president that wants to kill the second amendment ... We have Hillary Clinton who wants to destroy and take your guns away from you, by the way. She wants to take your guns away."