Presidential candidate Donald Trump. (AP/Lynne Sladky)

Speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday, Trump said “I think Islam hates us,” deploring the “tremendous hatred” that he said partly defined the religion.

Donald Trump said that he thinks “Islam hates us,” meaning the West.

“There’s something there that’s a tremendous hatred, we have to get to the bottom of it,” he explained.

He maintained the US’ war was against radical Islam, but said, “it’s very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.”

Asked if the hate was “in Islam itself,” Trump would only say that was for the media to figure out.

“You’re gonna have to figure that out, OK?” he told Cooper. “We have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful. And we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States.”

Trump stirred a controversy in December when he called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US, “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Despite widespread condemnation of the remarks, Trump has stood by the proposal.