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Community Leaders React To Cruz’s Call For Police Patrols Of Muslim Neighborhoods

John Kasich Also Makes Reference To Cruz's Comments During Stop In Wisconsin

Ted Cruz
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Photo: Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

Muslims, law enforcement officers and others in Wisconsin are questioning political rhetoric following the Brussels terror attacks — specifically, Republican presidential candidate Sen Ted Cruz’s statement calling for law enforcement to monitor Muslim neighborhoods before they become “radicalized.”

Cruz defended his plan for police to secure Muslim neighborhoods on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday.

“Radical Islamic terrorists, they don’t just murder Christians and Jews. They murder other Muslims as well. We need to fight and defeat radical Islam,” he said.

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Cruz told CBS there’s a difference between Islam and “Islamism” or radical Islam.

Twin Ports Islamic Center President Ibrahim Al-Qudah said Cruz’s comments are divisive and frightening. “It’s making me scared, because I could be a very easy target for someone who’s fed on that rhetoric,” he said.

While radicals exist, Al-Qudah contended true Islam promotes peace — not terror.

Law enforcement officers also questioned the practicality of Cruz’s statement. Superior Police Chief Nick Alexander said the comments sound like profiling, and that it doesn’t make sense for police to focus law enforcement resources simply based on one characteristic of an individual.

“When you have intelligence that suggests there’s something criminal or something of a nature that needs to be looked at further, then that makes sense,” he said. “But to just generically say we’re going to increase our presence in Muslim neighborhoods and secure them from radicalization — it might actually serve the opposite.”

Alexander said community members may revolt if people feel the government is unjustifiably intruding on their lifestyle.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich also seemingly made reference to Cruz’s proposal while campaigning in Wisconsin on Wednesday. Speaking in Wauwatosa, Kasich urged more collaboration with Muslims to combat international terrorism. He said that’s the message to emphasize after the deadly attacks in Belgium.

“It’s not about patrolling neighborhoods. It’s not about shutting our borders down. It is about having the intelligence worldwide. It is about bringing a coalition together of our Muslim-Arab friends who find the actions of these extremists as abhorrent and as horrible as we do,” he said.

Kasich also said the U.S. should deepen partnerships with NATO, and make sure terrorism task forces in the United States have adequate resources to deal with individual or “lone wolf” extremists.

Cruz was also in Wisconsin Wednesday, campaigning during the run-up to the April 5 primary.

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