On June 28, 2016, dozens of people lined up to attend a Senate hearing where Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and others took issue with the Obama administration’s refusal to use the word “radical Islam.” Contention not only arose among the audience but also among the committee.
As Cruz entered the room, protestors with Code Pink stood up and offered Cruz packs of gum labeled “Islamophobin,” claiming it to be a cure for Islamophobia.
Cruz, ignoring the comments, continued the hearing by pointing out the absence of the two top Justice Department counter-terrorism officials.
“No one from this administration is even willing to show up and defend their scrubbing of anti-terror materials,” said Cruz.
Many accuse the Obama administration of playing down the Islamic terrorist connection in the Orlando attack on a gay night club by omitting parts of the phone call by Omar Mateen.
“We cannot defeat radical Islamic terrorism without acknowledging it exists and directing our resources to stop it,” said Senator Cruz.
Specialists from Muslim and Arab advocacy groups and other former government national security officials testified at the hearing contributing to both sides of the debate.
“We cannot fight radicalization with further radicalization,” argued Democratic Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE).
Senator Durbin (D-IL) accused Ted Cruz of “badgering” Farhana Khera, the President of Muslim Advocates, after Cruz repeatedly asked her if “there is no such thing as radicalization in the Muslim community?”
Senator Durbin received cheers from the audience after advising the Texas Senator to “show the courtesy of this witness.”
Senator Cruz responded to Senator Durbin saying, “I would like it if the administration shows the courtesy to the victims of radical Islamic terrorism and doesn’t edit a 9/11 call from a terrorist who is murdering 49 people in Orlando and pretending the threat doesn’t exist.”
A different group of advocates cheered in support of Cruz’s comment but were quickly hushed by security who threatened to throw people out if they continued to speak out during the hearing.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) chimed in saying that Cruz’s questions were appropriate, and he was disappointed that Senator Durbin would think they were not since the witness did not directly answer his question.
Photo by Michael Vadon