Houston Muslim Leader Responds To Ted Cruz’s Proposed Neighborhood Patrols

Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, made headlines last week for suggesting police increase patrols in what he called “Muslim neighborhoods” after the terrorist attacks in Brussels.


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The exact wording of Ted Cruz's press release was: "We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized."

Cruz is not alone — many in the Republican Party share his tough stance against immigrants.

Former Houston City Council member and president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston M.J. Khan said his primary issue with Cruz's comments is that he can't think of neighborhoods that could be designated "Muslim."

"I live on a street where I'm the only Muslim within two, three blocks," Khan said. "So unless he plans to put a patrol car in front of my house and every Muslim house, it will be difficult for him to patrol neighborhoods and Muslim houses."

Khan offered a different idea to fight radicalization among American Muslims. He cites a policy his group has.

"Any extremist views (or) talk or action must be reported immediately and, if nothing else, should be brought to my attention, so I can take any action," he said.

That would at least avoid problems with the Constitution.

Charles "Rocky" Rhodes, a professor at South Texas College of Law, said Cruz's proposal only works if you have probable cause.

"There's a difference between targeting people just because of their religion versus targeting people because they've engaged in some kind of conduit or expression that seems to indicate that there's a suspicion that they might be connected to criminal activities," Rhodes said.

He pointed out that when the New York Police Department infiltrated Muslim communities after 9/11, it didn't lead to any terrorism investigations.

Rhodes and Khan were guests on Houston Matters.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is the News 88.7 business reporter and also covers criminal justice, guns and shootings.Florian's stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of...

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