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“As we saw in Brussels today, violent terrorism is a legitimate concern for the home front. But demonizing all Muslims is a misguided and counterproductive response to the terrorist threat posed by those motivated by a radical interpretation of Islam,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “It is an irrational approach that harkens back to the fear and bigotry that led to a dark and tragic chapter in American history – the relocation of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans to internment camps during the Second World War simply because of their ethnicity.”
On Tuesday, Cruz suggested to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels “before they become radicalized.”
In a statement released by his Senate office and campaign, Cruz said, “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.”
The remarks provoked a backlash from Muslim-Americans, Democrats, and Jewish groups alike, who accused Cruz of demonizing a religious and minority group to advance his presidential bid.
“Ordering special patrols of Muslim neighborhoods will almost certainly create an adversarial relationship between law enforcement and the communities they have sworn to protect, making those communities more vulnerable, more frightened, and often less willing to help,” said Greenblatt. “The approach is contrary to the principles of individual rights, equality, justice, and religious freedom on which this nation was founded.”
This is the second time in this election season that the ADL has denounced a major presidential candidate for anti-Muslim remarks. In December, the group denounced Donald Trump’s plan to ban the entry of Muslims to the United States in the wake of the San Bernardino terror attack.
In a related matter, ADL sent a letter to Cruz expressing concern of his association with two anti-Muslim experts, who were recently appointed as members of his national security team. According to the ADL, Lt. Gen. William Boykin and Frank Gaffney, Jr. “have a history of anti-Muslim bigotry and have promoted outrageous conspiracy theories involving Muslims.”
“We urge you to reconsider the standards by which you assess who is qualified to serve as a senior advisor on national security policy,” Greenblatt wrote in the letter sent on Tuesday. “We do not believe that proponents of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories belong on that list.”
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