Donald Trump and Emanuel AME Church among Nobel Peace Prize nominations

Emanuel AME Church, where nine people were shot and killed during a Bible study last year, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are among the nominations for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

A crowd gathers outside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church after a prayer vigil nearby in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 19, 2015.Reuters

The peaceful response of Emmanuel AME Church, whose members chose to forgive gunman Dylann Roof, prompted a group of politicians from Illinois to nominate the church.

Donald Trump has also been nominated, according to Kristian Berg Harpviken, a Nobel watcher and head of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, although he did not list Trump among those he thought had a chance of winning.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Pella, Iowa, on Jan. 23, 2016.Reuters

Harpviken told Reuters he had seen a letter from an unidentified US nominator, who proposed Trump for "his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and communist China."

Regarding the church's nomination, Frank Zuccarelli, a supervisor of Thronton Township, Illinois told WBBM-TV: "If anyone was responsible for promoting the peace, it was Mother Emanuel and the church leadership.

"They demonstrated more love, peace and forgiveness than we have ever seen before... They are a great example for us all to follow."

Zuccarelli, alongside other politicians including US Representatives Bobby Rush and Robyn Kelly, nominated Emmanuel.

"In some other city, an incident of such hatred and racist horror might have sparked an outpouring of anger, violence and divisiveness – driving crowds into the streets in clashes with each other and police. Instead, something unexpected happened – an outpouring of unity and forgiveness," said the Nobel Peace Prize for Charleston petition.

"The entire community of Charleston – church, ordinary citizens, political leaders, business leaders and law enforcement, came together to support those families who lost loved ones. They came together in a spirit of forgiveness, love and peace – not anger or hatred."

The peaceful response to the shooting has had significant repercussions. Within days of the mass shooting, governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley took steps to retire the Confederate Flag, seen by many black people as a racially divisive symbol, from the state Capitol grounds.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, made up of five members, receives around 200 nominations.  The first judging meeting is to be held on February 29.