Shortly after this week's terror attacks in Brussels, American politicians and elected officials of all stripes issued statements and made comments. And while he was offering the obligatory thoughts and prayers, he said something that really got under the four-starred collar of NYPD Police Chief Bill Bratton. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility.

But at least one comment after the attacks drew swift criticism in some corners.

Law enforcement officers also questioned the practicality of Cruz's statement.

In response to the Brussels attacks Tuesday, Cruz proposed to "empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized".

Addressing the Brussels attacks that killed more than 31 people Tuesday, Obama said threats to "carpet bomb" Iraq and Syria or monitor Muslim Americans - both advocated by GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz - would be "counterproductive".

Speaking Tuesday afternoon in New York, Cruz praised the city's police department's former program of conducting surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods, called for its reinstatement and said it could be a model for police departments nationwide. Which, by the way, the father of Senator Cruz escaped for America, the land of the free.

"The notion that we would start down that slippery slope makes absolutely no sense [and] it's contrary to who were are", the president added. "We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible".

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She said "we have to continually be learning and getting ahead of these thugs and criminals in order to prevent them doing what they did in Brussels".

But deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu from the UK Counter Terrorism Policing Network said the comments by the tycoon-turned politician risked playing into the hands of the terrorists by demonising the very people the police needed to help them.

"The first thing was, 'Where are these Muslim neighborhoods?'" Because I was born in America, lived here all my life, and I've never come across these Muslim neighborhoods", Din said. I think when they caught the young person, the young person who was in charge of the Paris bombings he was in his neighbourhood, where he grew up and nobody even turned him in where he was mollycoddled. It would be wrong.

"In this fight against ISIS we are all united".

"Of course, it is", Cruz said.

Executive director of the Arab American Association of New York Linda Sarsour told The Associated Press she is scared of armed vigilantes "who are emboldened by the commentary from people like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump". "Gang violence is a real problem in a lot of places across the country", Cruz said.