The fallacy of Ted Cruz’s 'screaming siren'
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Despite failing in his attempt at a Presidential campaign, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has remained quite busy, particularly in his crusade against “radical Islam.” In a statement made following the horrific terrorist attacks in Bangladesh’s capital this past week, Cruz pontificated that the attacks aren’t “just a wake-up call anymore - it’s a screaming siren of an alarm that requires our urgent attention.” He then indirectly blasted most Democrats and the Obama Administration for struggling only against “generic ‘violent extremism’” rather than generally refusing to explicitly condemn “radical Islamic terrorists.”
 
This is nothing new; Cruz’s fixation with the phrase went as far as manifesting itself in the form of an entire 3-hour hearing, dedicated to nothing more than an Islamophobic discussion of semantics. Notably, neither Cruz, nor any of the witnesses he called on to testify on the supposed importance of specifically calling out instances of terrorism as “radical Islam” throughout the hearing last Tuesday were able to elaborate on how using the phrase would strengthen American national security or tangibly contribute to the fight against ISIS.
 
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What Cruz also fails to realize when chastising the Obama Administration for not talking about “radical Islam,” however, is that this isn’t a first; while Former President Bush’s foreign policy track record is certainly not one that should generally be used as a shining example of success given that the blunders of his administration have left us with a seemingly never-ending war in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the things he did do correctly was also refuse to use the phrase “radical Islam.” 
 
And there’s a reason for it - as the Senator from Texas is either entirely ignorant of or blatantly chooses to ignore, if we’re talking about harmful semantics, using the phrase “radical Islam” contributes to an increasingly polarizing and toxic culture that puts more American lives at risk than not using it. As a study conducted by MuslimGirl found at the end of March, in the 237 days between the first debate of the 2016 Presidential election cycle and the publication of the article, there were 232 reported violent incidents of an Islamophobic nature, whether verbal or physical. Bearing in mind that this number only included reported instances, it can reasonably be assumed that the actual number is significantly higher, as many people do not report similar incidents, for various reasons.
 
Correlation may not equal causation, but the correlation itself here is undeniable: Rhetoric like Cruz’s is dangerous, and aids ISIS and other terrorist groups’ narrative of some kind of war between Islam and the West. What Cruz insists on being a method of prevention subsequently becomes a recruiting tool.
 
Further, in addition to being dangerous, it is willfully ignorant. Counterterrorism is not a laughing matter - far from it - but if the consequences of this overextended game of Pin-the-Tail on Radical Islam weren’t so real, it would at this point be almost cynically amusing. Just look at the cast of characters who testified in its favor at the hearing: Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Chris Gaubatz, and Philip Haney. Among the three of them, they’ve established reputations as conspiracy theorists, accused elected Congressmen of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood in full seriousness, and tried to justify the systemic and institutional profiling of Muslims in the name of national security. 
 
Sen. Cruz’s own inability to even semi-accurately pronounce the phrase “Allahu Akbar” - which he attempts to conflate with some sort of jihadist war-cry, despite the fact that it simply means “God is great” and can therefore be used by all Arabic speakers, Muslim, Christian, or otherwise - further proves his own ignorance when it comes to the basics of the religion he is so set on condemning. This begs the question: If Cruz does not understand basic Islam, how and why do we continue to turn to him as though he can be taken with any semblance of credibility when he talks about radical Islam?
 
There is one thing that Cruz is right about: We do need to respond to this latest wave of terror attacks with urgency. In case he’s unaware, I’d point out that we have, to some extent, with our coalition airstrikes. And given all the hate coming from the right? Maybe it’s a “screaming siren” that it wouldn’t hurt to talk instead about radical love - otherwise, as Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsUS, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 Americans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster MORE (D-Del.) stated at the hearing, we ourselves are in danger of becoming the “radicals.”

Masoom is a correspondent for MuslimGirl.com.