During a press conference in Argentina on Wednesday, President Obama dismissed the call by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the wake of the Brussels attacks to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods in America.
Obama said that an attempt to target of Muslim neighborhoods would be “wrong and un-American.”
“As far as what some candidates have said, I think I’ve been very clear on this. One of the great strengths of the United States — and part of the reason why we have not seen more attacks in the United States — is we have a extraordinarily successful, patriotic, integrated Muslim-American community,” the President said. “They do not feel ghettoized. They do not feel isolated. Their children are our children’s friends, going to the same schools. They are our colleagues in workplaces. They are our men and women in uniform, fighting for our freedom …”
“And so, any approach that would single them out or target them for discrimination is not only wrong and un-American, but it also would be counterproductive. Because it would reduce the strength, the antibodies that we have to resist terrorism,” he continued.
He then mentioned Cruz’s father, Raphael Cruz, a Cuban immigrant.
“As far as the notion of having surveillance of neighborhoods where Muslims are present, I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance,” Obama said. “Which, by the way, the father of Sen. Cruz escaped for America. The land of the free. The notion that we would start down that slippery slope makes absolutely no sense. It’s contrary to who we are. And it’s not going to help us defeat ISIL.”
Obama also rejected calls to carpet bomb parts of the Middle East after Cruz on Tuesday continued to say that he will “carpet bomb” the Islamic State if elected president.
“What we don’t do and what we should not do is take approaches that are going to be counterproductive,” the President said on Wednesday. “So when I hear somebody saying we should carpet bomb Iraq or Syria, not only is that inhumane, not only is that contrary to our values, but that would likely be an extraordinary mechanism for ISIL to recruit more people willing to die and explode bombs in an airport, or in a metro station. That’s not a smart strategy.”
The President assured Americans that combatting the Islamic State is a top priority for his administration.
“We are approaching this in a way that has a chance of working, and it will work. And we’re not going to do things that are counterproductive, simply because it’s political season,” he said. “We’re going to be steady. We’re going to be resolute. And ultimately, we’re going to be successful.”
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