Last week, Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, made headlines when Republican senators interrupted her at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee while she interrogated Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The clip of the exchange went viral; journalists, politicians and everyday Americans debated what the shushing signified about our still sexist culture.
The very next day, Senator Harris took her seat in front of us as a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. We were there to testify about the ideology of political Islam, or Islamism.
Last week, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Asra Q. Nomani testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. During the hearing, they weren’t asked any questions about political Islam by the Democratic women on the panel — an experience they argue is emblematic of a troubling trend among progressives to overlook the brutal reality of Islamist extremism. In “They Brushed Off Kamala Harris. Then She Brushed Us Off,” they write: “When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But we’re still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.”
The piece has nearly 1,000 comments. Below, the authors address some reader questions, which have been edited for clarity and length.
THERE has been an unrelenting pattern of low-tech terror waged by Islamists.
But beyond candle-lit vigils, hashtags and vows of unity, few have solutions.
To date most leaders have called for beefing up security agencies to better pre-empt attacks. But that is as effective as sticking a plaster on a broken leg.
To get to the root cause Western governments must intervene far sooner.
Nothing that comes from Isis surprises me, even though it seeks to shock us to the core. But in the statement that the jihadist group released to claim responsibility for the horrendous bombing of the Manchester Arena, one word felt like a slap in the face. It was the word “shameless”.
“The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 Crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded.”
The recent news that a grand jury in Michigan has indicted three people, including two doctors, for female genital mutilation is a welcome development. As the first ever prosecutions of this crime in the United States, the case shines much needed light on an underground human rights abuse that has been going on for too long. Female genital mutilation has been deliberately covered up by those practicing it here or sending their daughters overseas during summer break to be mutilated outside of the law.
Yet, ham-fisted attempts to appear culturally sensitive by the likes of the New York Times reporting on this story will push these issues underground once more. The newspaper’s Health and Science Editor wrote that referring to female genital mutilation as ‘genital cutting’ is less ‘culturally loaded’ and will help to bridge a gap between those who practice FGM and those who campaign against it. In her eyes it’s a case of Africa vs. the West.
Thursday, the pre-trial hearing of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala begins.
She is being prosecuted in federal criminal court for allegedly performing genital mutilation on young girls in Detroit. Last week, the owners of the medical clinic Dr. Nagarwala used to allegedly inflict the mutilations were also charged—the first three people to be prosecuted under a law that has been in place since 1996.
Number of Women and Girls At Risk: 25,000
Status: Existing Legislation Needs Strengthening
Improve by adding: Prosecuting parents/guardian, felony offense