Chicago's Muslim community condemns Brussels terror attacks

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The head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago said his heart and prayers go out to the people of Belgium. (WLS)

A Chicago-area Muslim group is condemning the terror attacks in Brussels that killed 31 people and wounded scores of others.

The head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago said his heart and prayers go out to the people of Belgium. He also voiced concern over the political fallout from the attacks.

"Even the mere question, 'Do Muslims condemn this?' to me is an affront to our humanity. It goes without saying. If you look at Facebook, Muslims are only talking about this. They're angry. They're upset, just like anybody else," said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago.

Rehab warned against stigmatizing Muslims, saying those behind the Brussels attack should not be considered religious terrorists.

"Muslims have been killed by ISIS and al-Qaeda - a lot more in number than anybody else of any other faith," Rehab said. "Even if they were to warp the religious texts, which they do, you always, always, always have to have the ingredient of political radicalization."

But that view isn't shared by some vying for the presidency.

"This is a war with radical Islamic terrorism. ISIS has declared jihad on Europe and on the United States of America," said U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican candidate for president.

Cruz went further Tuesday. In a statement, he said: "We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized."

That statement was condemned by CAIR.

"The last time we saw a political leader wanting to patrol and secure communities based solely on their religion was in a little country called Germany in the 1930s, and it didn't end very well," Rehab said.

CAIR said it saw an uptick in the number of complaints about anti-Muslim harassment and hate mail in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. The group said it is bracing for similar reports in the coming days.

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u.s. & worldterrorismbrussels attacksChicago - Downtown
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