Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing called “Ideology and Terror: Understanding the Tools, Tactics, and Techniques of Violent Extremism.”

There were four witnesses who testified before the panel.

Two women, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Research Fellow, Hoover Institution Stanford University. Hirsi Ali is a survivor of Female Genital Mutilation. Asra Nomani, Co-Founder Muslim Reform Movement, was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal when her colleague Danny Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded by jihadists in Pakistan in 2002. And two men, John Lenczowski, Ph.D., President Institute of World Politics and The Honorable Michael E. Leiter, Former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

There are four females senators on the committee: Sen. McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Hassan (D-NH), and Sen. Harris (D-CA) (the same Senator fundraising off claims she was ‘silenced’ for rudely interrupting witnesses during a Senate Intel Committee hearing).

The only senators attending were ranking members, Sen. Johnson (R-WI) and Sen. McCaskill (D-MO).

After opening statements were given, Hirsi Ali and Nomani were almost completely ignored for the duration of the hearing.

CSPAN watchers noticed that Hirsi Ali and Nomani were not so subtly shut out.

From the NY Times:

Hirsi Ali, who was the first witness to speak, stated clearly that her testimony and evidence was focused solely on the threat of Islamism as a social-political totalitarian ideology.

“The part [of Islam] that is a political doctrine consists of a worldview, a system of laws, and a moral code that is totally incompatible with our constitution, our laws, and our way of life,” she testified.

Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and Women in the World contributor, echoed Hirsi Ali. “The ideology of Islamism contradicts the constitutional values of this country,” she said. “The elements of Islamism are very clear.”

However, Michael Leiter, the former director of the U.S. Counterterrorism Center, rejected the core of Hirsi Ali and Nomani’s testimonies. “Muslims honoring of sharia is not inherently in tangent with living in constitutional democracies anymore than it would be for Christians or Jews who also seek to honor their religious traditions while still complying with civil authority,” he said.

Leiter was invited to testify by the committee’s Senate Democrats.

“Muslims are not synonymous with terrorism or repression or misogyny,” Hirsi Ali later emphasized. “What we’re dealing with is this other group who are taking out of context the historical and civilizational Islam, and accentuating the political and military [dimensions].”

Hirsi Ali indirectly responded to McCaskill’s statement that the hearing was a threat to religious freedom.

“We haven’t paid as much attention to those people who get into the hearts and minds of vulnerable people and turn them toward the idea that it’s OK to run your car over people, to kill homosexuals, to kill apostates,” Hirsi Ali said. “I came and accepted [Ron Johnson’s] invitation to only talk about that group, not to vilify or stigmatize those Muslims who accentuate their spirituality.”

Hirsi Ali emphasized that the fight against Islamism must involve dismantling the networks of da‘wa, or Islamist proselytism, in the United States and abroad.

“We must stop not only the violent entities like ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and others,” she warned. “Above all, we must challenge the principles of sharia.”

Nomani later shared a narrative of how she and Hirsi Ali have been personally affected by violent Islamism.

As the NY Times pointed out, both Nomani and Hirsi Ali suffered personal character attacks in the time leading up to this hearing. Both women have endured enormous personal hardship and persecution thanks to radical Islam, but their opinions were ignored in favor of the male witnesses.

When the witnesses completed their brief testimonies, Democratic Senate committee members, including four women senators — McCaskill, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Maggie Hassan and Senator Heidi Heitkamp — ignored Hirsi Ali and Nomani during the question-and-answer session, never once directing a question to them — about half the duration of the entire hearing.

Most questions were about terrorism and security, not Islamist ideology, directed at Leiter for most of the hearing by Senate Democrats. Leiter recommended Islamic education programs done in conjunction with Muslim organizations for state and local officials as a counter-extremism strategy.

At one point, when Nomani shared examples of violent preachings on “women beating” she had received through Amazon, McCaskill turned the conversation to book banning.

Again it should be noted that Sen. McCaskill was the only female committeemember in attendance.

But if it weren’t bad enough that these women were ignored, Sen. Peters (D-MI) no so subtly suggested they were engaging in bigotry by discussing events involving radical Islamists.

Sen. Johnson also noticed:

Pretty much this:

Nomani didn’t mince words, speaking specifically to radical Islamic groups promoting sharia within the United States, citing Northern California, Michigan, and Northern Virginia. Rather than address these realities, her testimony and insight were ignored in favor of two think tankers.

But please, lecture me about how the patriarchy oppresses women in this country.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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