Muslim Democrat: Cruz’s neighborhood patrols ‘scapegoat’ Islamic communities

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on Wednesday blasted Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzEleven states sue Obama over transgender bathroom directive Poll: Clinton leads Trump in Wisconsin by double digits Texas to sue over Obama's transgender bathroom directive MORE (R-Texas) for suggesting police target surveillance on America’s Muslim communities.

“It’s bad policing,” he told host Chris Hayes on MSNBC’s “All In." "It doesn’t help us get safer. It does undermine the rights of U.S. citizens and residents.

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“We’re not going to let go of our American value system just because Ted Cruz is scared and doesn’t actually want to do the hard work of actually making America safe and would rather just scapegoat a religious minority.”

Ellison, who practices Islam, said his experiences living in Minnesota’s Muslim neighborhoods disprove Cruz’s suggestion they may hide future jihadists.

“I’m from Minnesota [and] I’m a few blocks away from where he might be talking about in terms of Muslim neighborhoods,” he said of Cruz, a GOP presidential candidate.

“I can tell you, this neighborhood is full of excellent, hard-working and patriotic people who love this country and make it better all the time. I’m offended for them, I’m offended with them.”

Ellison additionally accused Cruz and Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSusana Martinez fires back at Trump WATCH LIVE: Trump holds Calif. rally a day after violent protests Clinton pledges infrastructure plan in first 100 days MORE of using Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels for scoring political points.

“I am so broken-hearted for the people of Brussels,” said Ellison, who has endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi, Dems rush to defense of Wasserman Schultz Poll: Clinton leads Trump in Wisconsin by double digits Tea Party group ‘endorses’ Wasserman Schultz MORE (I-Vt.) in his Democratic presidential bid. "My sympathies go out to them. It is incredibly sad that their tragedy ends up being a political football in the United States.

“People like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump try to exploit this for electoral gains. The fact is that what both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have said is reprehensible, unconstitutional, counterproductive, wrong and bad policing, as [New York Police Department Commissioner] Bill Bratton has made clear.”

At least 31 died and more than 200 others were wounded during a string of coordinated attacks across Brussels early Tuesday morning.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has claimed responsibility, reigniting a national debate on the relationship between law enforcement and Muslim Americans.

Cruz called for police surveillance of Muslim American neighborhoods after the attacks, and Trump reiterated his past calls for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

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