Ted Cruz's response to the deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday has drawn heavy criticism. The Republican presidential candidate said the US needs "to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods" in order to avoid similar attacks here, the New York Times reports. According to Politico, a Cruz spokesperson added that we need "an empowered, visible law enforcement presence that will both identify problem spots and partner with non-radical Americans who want to protect their homes." Cruz later clarified that he wasn't saying law enforcement should target Muslims, only that police should do in areas "where there is a higher incidence of radical Islamic terrorism" what they do in areas with a "high level of gang activity." He was unable or unwilling to name any such areas.
Cruz's advocacy of increased surveillance of American Muslim communities received a swift response. Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the proposal is biased, hateful, anti-Muslim, anti-American, and unconstitutional. "That’s really going to be similar to third-world countries and to what happened in Nazi Germany," the Times quotes Awad. "Ted Cruz is a disgrace," Politico quotes Debbie Wasserman Schultz of the DNC. "This is not leadership; it is fear-mongering for political gain." And at least one law-enforcement official isn't onboard either. “The statements he made today are why he’s not going to become president of this country,” Politico New York quotes NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton. “We don’t need a president that doesn’t respect the values that form the foundation of this country."