Washington, Mar 23: Top Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have favoured increased surveillance of Muslim neighbourhoods in the US, following the horrific terrorist attack in Brussels that killed over 30 people.
The remarks by the two Republicans was immediately slammed by the Democratic party and other think-tanks, who described it as an extremely dangerous rhetoric.
"We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaida or ISIS presence. We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighbourhoods before they become radicalised," Cruz said in a statement as he joined a similar call made by Trump earlier.
Cruz, 45, said today's attacks in Brussels underscores that this is a war. "This is not an isolated incident. This is not a lone wolf. This is a war with radical Islamic terrorism. ISIS has declared jihad on Europe and on the United States of America," he said.
In an interview to CNN, Trump reiterated his earlier call for a ban on Muslims entering the country. "You're going to make certain exceptions, and exceptions on heads of state and some of these people and I'm not saying we don't do that," Trump, 69, said.
"But we have a real problem and people don't have any idea what's going on. We have a government that's impotent, a government that doesn't get it, it doesn't understand what's happening," he said.
Trump called for change in law to include water boarding. "What I would do is look, to change our law on the water-boarding thing, where they can chop off heads or drown people in heavy steel cages and we can't waterboard," he said.
"So we have to change our laws so we can fight at least on an almost equal basis. They have no laws whatsoever that they have to obey," he added.
In a statement, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said the remarks made by Trump show that he lacks the temperament of a president. "Donald Trump's latest comments are absurd and offensive and clearly show he lacks the temperament and reasoned decision-making we expect from our commander-in-chief," said DNC national press secretary Mark Paustenbach.
"This isn't the first time a Republican has made vast generalisations about the Muslim community. It's this type of false and divisive rhetoric that is undermining America's credibility and is putting our country's national security at risk," Paustenbach said.