US Presidential Candidates React to Brussels Attacks

23 March, 2016

Muslim-Americans and rights groups denounced U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz's call for increased surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods after the attacks in Brussels.

Cruz said police should be permitted to "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized."

The Republican Senator from Texas praised New York City's program of surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods after 9/11 attacks in the U.S. The program was discontinued after complaints of religious and racial profiling.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Cruz's statement. It said his comment "send[s] an alarming message to American Muslims who increasingly fear for their future in this nation."

The Anti-Defamation League is an American organization that fights anti-Semitism. The group said, "demonizing all Muslims is a misguided and counterproductive response to the terrorist threat." And it compared Cruz's approach to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to the media about events in Brussels near the Capitol in Washington, March 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to the media about events in Brussels near the Capitol in Washington, March 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Reactions from other U.S. presidential candidates

Businessman Donald Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, told CNN that he supports Cruz's idea "100 percent."

After the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California last November, Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims from other countries entering the United States.

Trump also repeated his call for American investigators to be permitted to use stronger questioning methods. He said Belgium could have kept the bombings from happening if it had tortured a suspect in last year's terrorist attacks in Paris after he was arrested last week.

Ohio Governor John Kasich is another Republican presidential candidate. He told MSNBC that President Obama should return to the U.S. from his trip to Cuba and Argentina.

"He ought to work with the heads of state around the world. They ought to assemble teams and they need to examine these vulnerabilities we have, because without effective human intelligence, without coordination and cooperation among all the civilized nations, we get these gaps and these gaps get exploited by these people who are intent on killing civilized people."

Democratic response

Democratic candidate and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton told CNN that terrorists are developing ways of building bombs that are hard to discover.

She said "we have to continually be learning and getting ahead of these thugs and criminals in order to prevent them doing what they did in Brussels."

Clinton called for the United States and European nations to increase the amount of information they share.

In a statement, Democratic candidate Senator Bernie Sanders said the attacks were "another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians." He called the attacks "a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue."

I'm Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Christopher Jones-Cruise reported this story for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

radicalize – v. to cause (someone or something) to become more radical especially in politics

racial profiling – v. the act or practice of regarding particular people as more likely to commit crimes because of their race

internment – n. the act of putting someone in a prison for political reasons or during a war

gap – n. a missing part of a program; a space where something is missing

exploit – v. to use (someone or something) in a way that helps you unfairly

barbarism – n. cruel and violent behavior