The day after Sen. Ted Cruz called for an increase in surveillance of Muslim-Americans in wake of the latest terrorist attack in Brussels, the AP went to a local community in Southern California known as “Little Arabia” (near Anaheim) to talk to some Muslim folks about Cruz’s comment.
“I was born and raised here. I see myself as an American. You know?” said Omar Ghanim, 23, who is of Palestinian descent. Ghanim says of ISIS, “they don’t follow the Islamic rules or anything Islam. We’re a peaceful people. We’re not violent.”
Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates was questioned about calls to step up patrols of Muslim communities, and countered that the Muslim community “is one of our greatest partners in our fight against terrorism and public safety generally.”
Ahmad Tarek Rashid Alam, publisher of the weekly Arab World newspaper and one of the immigrants who helped build Little Arabia, said Islamophobic statements are, unfortunately, “nothing new.” “This has been going on in every Islamic neighborhood for years,” he tells AP. “But now our kids are in the police, in the Army. Are they going to watch us?”