Activist/journalist Asra Nomani, a Muslim woman who is critical of Islam’s treatment of women, was interviewed by Fox News host Tucker Carlson and described how her testimony was received by female Democrats empaneled on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In a hearing last week, both Nomani and Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- another famed critic of the abuse of women within Islam -- say there were ignored by the four female Democrat senators and complained that none asked them a single question.
On Carlson’s show on Thursday, Nomani said, “We thought we would have had an engagement with the women senators in particular, but Tucker, we sat there as you sit before me right now, and they completely ignored us. I looked them in the eye and they would never look me in the eye. This is a failure of too many progressives in tackling the very serious issue of Islamic extremism."
Islam, Nomani said, considers women and girls as "dangerous" because of the freedoms enjoyed in America. “Why don't the feminists in America don't want to help us? Because there is a propaganda network that has taught them and tells them every day that they're going to be bigots, racists, Islamophobes if they dare to talk about the issues within Islam."
Nomani said Islamist ideology is not immune to criticism nor is it invulnerable. "What we ask them to do is to apply to Islam and Muslim societies the same expectations that they do to our own society. We shouldn't have a double standard. We have so many women forced into awful conditions of second-class citizenship through an ideology that we can defeat if we simply identity it, name it, and destroy it, just as we did with the ideologies of communism and fascism."
In an op-ed at The New York Times, Hirsi Ali and Nomani accused the female Democrats of ignoring them at the hearing. They wrote in the article that appeared on Thursday, “This wasn’t a case of benign neglect.” They added, “What happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives when it comes to confronting the brutal reality of Islamist extremism and what it means for women” in Muslim communities.”
Despite the invitation from Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and ranking Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to speak at the hearing titled, “Understanding the Tools, Tactics, and Techniques of Violent Extremism,” witnesses Ali and Nomani accused Sens. McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) of not asking either of them “a single question.”
Hirsi Ali and Nomani added: “Just as we are invisible to the mullahs at the mosque, we are invisible to the Democratic women in the Senate.”
“It is inexplicable that the other senators didn’t utilize their time to speak with these two women,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), according to Fox News. “I appreciate the courage they have to speak up.”
A spokesperson for McCaskill said that the senator had invited Hirsi Ali and Nomani to testify because of their experience with the subject matter, but explained that because the hearing took place just hours after the attempted assassination of House Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, that the senator decided to direct her questions at Michael Leiter, a former former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center under Democratic and Republican administrations.
About halfway through the hearing, Johnson noted that questions had not been directed at Hirsi Ali and Nomani. He said, “This has been a little bit unusual hearing so far, we have four witnesses and all of the questions have been addressed to Mr. Leiter—listen, I appreciate your expertise and service to this country.” When Leiter offered to “step out” of the hearing, Johnson responded, “No, no, no—I want you there.”
Nomani told Fox News, “The silencing of Ayaan and me through the act of omission, and ignoring our presence, is just ironic considering this is the grievance that Democratic feminists level against their critics and their opponents.”