Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz blames ‘willful blindness’ to Islamic jihadism as critics call him “Islamophobic” and leftist Muslim terrorist sympathizers try to offer a “cure.”
Dallas News The hearing, titled “Willful Blindness: Consequences of Agency Efforts To Deemphasize Radical Islam in Combating Terrorism,” was part of an investigation into the administration’s refusal to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” and the removal of the world “jihadist” from FBI training documents.
Ted Cruz sparked a testy debate over semantics and the best way to tackle Islamic extremism Tuesday, at a hearing meant to air allegations that the Obama administration has censored such terms as “radical Islamic terrorism” in law enforcement and intelligence circles.
Democrats, Muslim activists and a handful of protesters used the three-hour hearing to rebuke Cruz, painting him as Islamophobic and overzealous. They accused him and Donald Trump, who defeated Cruz in the Republican nomination fight, of stoking irrational fears and needlessly stirring a backlash by demonizing Muslims and oversimplifying the fight against violent extremists.
The hearing opened with a bit of political theater. Before Cruz arrived, a CodePink activist called out to the audience: “Is there anyone here who suffers from Islamophobia?” She offered a pack of gum disguised as a remedy called “Islamophobin,” whose label promises to treat “blind intolerance, unthinking bigotry” and “election year scapegoating.”
“The Democrats engage in insults and partisan politics rather than address the real national security threats to this country, and it’s making this country less safe,” Cruz said afterward. “We have testimony that there was a ‘purge’ of law enforcement and intelligence material, to remove references to radical Islamic terrorism. That should concern anybody troubled by censorship, anybody concerned about keeping our country safe from terrorism.”
Witnesses representing Muslim advocacy groups warned that Cruz’s emphasis on radical Islamic terrorism is counterproductive, because it fuels anti-American hatred overseas, and stirs irrational and dangerous fears at home.
Cruz’s criticisms weren’t limited to terminology, though he asserted that the mindset behind the linguistic “censorship” has hampered efforts to thwart attacks.
“The failure to acknowledge those red flags that were present in case after case after case of radical Islamic terrorism, whether Fort Hood or the Boston Marathon or Orlando or San Bernardino, may well have prevented the administration from stopping those acts of terror,” he said.