Cruz clarifies call to ‘patrol’ Muslims
© Greg Nash

Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWith religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again Interstate compacts aren't the right way to fix occupational licensing laws Texas Dem: ‘I don’t know what to believe’ about what Trump wants for wall MORE’s presidential campaign on Tuesday elaborated on his controversial call to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in the wake of a terror attack in Brussels, Belgium, that left dozens dead and wounded.

“We know what is happening with these isolated Muslim neighborhoods in Europe,” the Cruz campaign said in a statement to The Hill. “If we want to prevent it from happening here, it is going to require an empowered, visible law enforcement presence that will both identify problem spots and partner with non-radical Americans who want to protect their homes.”

In the aftermath of the attack in Belgium, Cruz called for the U.S. to “empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

Those remarks provoked backlash from Democrats and liberal groups, who accused the Texas senator of demonizing a minority group for political gain in the wake of a terror attack.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called Cruz a “disgrace” in a blistering statement.

“His comments today were worse than opportunistic and inappropriate politicking in the wake of the terrible tragedy in Brussels — they were a shameful display of hate that only serves to foment anger and make the world less secure,” Wasserman Schultz said. 

“Barely before the smoke had cleared, he declared that — here in the United States — we should institute police patrols in Muslim neighborhoods,” she continued. “This is not leadership; it is fear-mongering for political gain.”

Civil liberty groups such as Credo Action and the Council on American-Islamic Relations also condemned Cruz’s remarks.

But the senator is sticking by his words, saying he “will never allow political correctness to drive decisions about our security.”

“Innocent, peaceful Americans, no matter their faith, deserve to live in safe neighborhoods; that is what law enforcement exists to do, and that includes preventing radical Islamic terror cells from taking root in them,” Cruz’s campaign said. 

“The police should have every tool available to follow leads and take action against those who would do us harm,” the campaign continued. “That is what Cruz is calling for and it is the basic responsibility of our elected leaders — to prioritize the safety of our citizens.”