Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has called to "empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized."
Cruz, a senator from Texas, made his remark in response to Tuesday morning's attack in Brussels. It came as part of a statement entitled, "We Can No Longer Surrender to the Enemy Through Political Correctness."
"For years, the West has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear. We can no longer afford either. Our European allies are now seeing what comes of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated, radical Muslim neighborhoods," he claimed.
His spokesperson, Alice Stewart, later clarified that the statement meant there should be a strong presence of law enforcement in neighborhoods with significant Muslim populations.
"We know what is happening with these isolated Muslim neighborhoods in Europe. 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," she said.
"Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies all have divisions that target threats like drugs, gangs, human trafficking, and organized crime," Stewart added. "Radical Islamic terrorism is a significant and growing threat in this country, but this administration refuses to recognize it because they are afraid of being labeled “politically incorrect."
Neither explained precisely how authorities will "secure" the neighborhoods.
Cruz particularly criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's attempts to build bridges with Muslim Americans. "In New York City, Mayor DeBlasio succumbed to unfounded criticisms and eliminated the efforts of law enforcement to work with Muslim communities to stop radical Islamic terrorism," said Stewart.
When the Washington Post asked for a comment from DeBlasio, his deputy press secretary responded: "This is blatantly false. Now we know why everyone is calling Ted Cruz a liar."
Muslim leaders and organizations are also loudly opposing Cruz's comments. A spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is said to have Hamas links, said, "It's really beyond belief that you have one of the leading presidential candidates calling for law enforcement to target religious communities totally based on the fact that they are of a particular faith."