U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz called for law enforcement authorities to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S. in the wake of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels.

Cruz, whose hometown of Houston has the largest Muslim population in Texas, didn’t specify what constituted a Muslim neighborhood or what the new law enforcement powers he is calling for would entail — just that “we need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

He was quickly assailed for engaging in political demagoguery that could inflame passions and endanger the constitutional liberties of innocent Muslim-Americans.

Cruz’s statement — and subsequent comments to reporters — comes in the thick of a presidential race in which Cruz hopes to catch and overtake front-runner Donald Trump, whose campaign surged in December when he called for a ban on Muslim immigration in the wake of acts of terrorism in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif. Cruz rejected that idea as going too far, but it has proven popular with Republican voters.

Now it’s Cruz testing the limits.

“It’s a kind of a shock and beyond belief that a leading candidate for the nation’s highest office would target Americans just because of their religious affiliation,” said Arsalan Safiullah, a staff attorney with the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Texas.

“His statement should be condemned by all Americans who value the Constitution and religious liberties,” Safiullah said.


GOPUSA Editor’s Note: Here we go again with the typical left-wing slant to a so-called “news” story. According to left-wing “journalists,” the only time a leader mentions Islamic terrorism is to score political points. How about that fact that there are terrorist attacks occurring by radical Muslims all over the world? Isn’t it wise to consider what America should do to be more prepared?

He said Muslims come in all races, colors and socio-economic backgrounds, and that he has lived in Fort Worth, College Station, Austin and Sugar Land and never encountered a “Muslim neighborhood.”

“Are we talking about checkpoints, are we talking about stopping someone who looks stereotypically Muslim and asking to see their papers?” Safiullah asked.

In tweets and comments Tuesday, Trump said he had forewarned the fate that befell Brussels, and that “this madness must be stopped, and I will stop it.”

“President Obama looks and sounds so ridiculous making his speech in Cuba, especially in the shadows of Brussels,” Trump tweeted.

Cruz, a blistering critic of the president’s opening to Cuba, joined in that condemnation.

“While our friends and allies are attacked by radical Islamic terrorists, President Obama is spending his time going to baseball games with the Castros,” Cruz told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. “President Obama should be back in America keeping this country safe or President Obama should be planning to travel to Brussels.”

But Cruz also said Tuesday’s events showed how wrong Trump was in his call Monday for a reduced U.S. commitment to NATO, which is headquartered in Brussels.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the third candidate in the Republican presidential race, took a decidedly different tack from his two rivals.

“We are not at war with Islam — we’re at war with radical Islam,” Kasich told reporters in Minneapolis. “In our country we don’t want to create divisions where we say, ‘OK, well, your religion, you’re a Muslim, so therefore we’re going to keep an eye on you.'”

“The last thing we need is more polarization,” he said.

After November’s terror attacks in Paris, Cruz proposed legislation that would immediately bar refugees to the United States from any country, such as Iraq or Syria, that contains territory controlled by a foreign terrorist organization.

“We need a president who sets aside political correctness in the wake of Brussels,” Cruz said Tuesday. “We don’t need another lecture from President Obama on Islamophobia. We need a commander-in-chief who does everything necessary to defeat the enemy, and we need to immediately halt the president’s ill-advised plan to bring in tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees.”

But Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said, “to suggest we should police one group of people because of the Brussels attacks suggests the speaker doesn’t know the saddest parts of our American history. We need not repeat those mistakes.”

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(c)2016 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

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