Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz was grilled Tuesday night over his proposal to “empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”
Cruz made the proposal in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks that claimed the lives of at least 34 individuals and injured scores more.
Appearing on CNN, the Texas senator was pressed by Anderson Cooper for details.
“Can you name a neighborhood now that you would like to see these patrols in? A neighborhood that you believe has been radicalized?” Cooper asked. “Is there a neighborhood now that law enforcement is not doing what you suggest?”
“Listen, a classic example was Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s successful program, cooperating with the Muslim communities to target and prevent radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz replied. “And Mayor Bill de Blasio, afraid of being labeled politically incorrect, ended that program.”
“That is foolishness. It’s the same foolishness that governs [President] Barack Obama. After every one of these attacks he goes on national televised address and lectures Americans on Islamophobia,” he added. “We need a president that targets the bad guys.”
Cooper continued to press Cruz.
“But one of the points that many make in the United States, I mean that law enforcement makes, is that it’s critical that not only Muslim communities in the United States assimilate and feel part of the fabric of the United States … but that they are on the front lines of this and the information often times has to come from them. … Do you worry about alienating more people than you’re actually discovering?” the CNN host asked.
“Anderson, of course we should be working with the Muslim community to target radical Islamic terrorism. To prevent radicalization. That is entirely consistent with proactive law enforcement,” Cruz said.
The Texas senator compared the situation to how law enforcement works with communities to combat gang violence in inner-cities.
“So how would you identify a community that needs these patrols, that needs securing?” Cooper asked. “Are you talking about every mosque in America there needs to be police involvement?”
“Anderson, it’s not terribly complicated,” Cruz replied. “It’s typical law enforcement practice and national security practice to focus on where there is an increased incidents of radical Islamic terrorism.”
“But in the United States, is there an increased incidents of radical Islamic terrorism that is not already being addressed?” Cooper pressed.
“Of course. Look, New York City is a great example. Mayor Bill de Blasio shut down the program that was designed to prevent it. That is indefensible,” Cruz said.
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