Women and Terrorism Roundtable

March 15, 2016 2:00 PM | 311 Cannon House Office Building

The Homeland Security Committee will host a roundtable discussion entitled “Women and Terrorism” chaired by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY). ISIS’s efforts to recruit women are alarming.  The terror network’s intense, and often flashy recruitment videos prey on vulnerable women luring them to the fight to pick up guns or to willingly become ISIS brides and support the male ISIS fighters. What kind of women are susceptible to such recruitment? Why are some women choosing to join ISIS when it is clear they will become sex slaves, and often killed? How can the West counter the intense recruitment efforts of these terror groups? These questions and more will be discussed.

Other roundtable participants include:

Dr. Anne Speckhard, Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE)

Dr. Speckhard has been working in the field of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the 1980’s and has extensive experience working in Europe, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. She was the chair of the NATO Human Factors & Medicine Research and Technology Experts Group (HFM-140/RTG) on the Psychosocial, Cultural and Organizational Aspects of Terrorism, served as the co-chair of the NATO-Russia Human Factors & Medicine Research Task Group on Social Sciences Support to Military Personnel Engaged in Counter-Insurgency and Counter-Terrorism Operations and served on the NATO Human Factors & Medicine Research Task Group Moral Dilemmas and Military Mental Health Outcomes. She has provided expert consultation to European and Middle Eastern governments as well as the U.S. Department of Defense regarding programs for prevention and rehabilitation of individuals committed to political violence and militant jihad.  In 2006-2007 she worked with the U.S. Department of Defense to design and pilot test the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq.  She has consulted to NATO, OSCE, foreign governments and the U.S. Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, CIA and FBI.  She is a sought after expert on the subject of terrorism frequently appearing on CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, and in Time, the New York Times, the Washington Post, London Times and many other publications.


Ms. Hannah Allam, Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers

Hannah Allam covers foreign affairs for the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers, the third-largest newspaper chain in the United States. She previously served as Baghdad bureau chief during the Iraq War and Middle East bureau chief during the Arab Spring rebellions. Her coverage of regional conflicts has won several awards, including an Overseas Press Club award for her role in exposing death squads in Iraq and a joint Polk Award for Syria coverage. She was a 2009 Nieman Fellow at Harvard.


Ms. Asra Nomani, Author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam”

Asra Q. Nomani, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal for 15 years, is the author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam.” After September 11, 2001, while on leave from the Wall Street Journal, Nomani became a correspondent for Salon magazine, reporting in Pakistan. She earned an Online Journalists Award for feature reporting for her dispatches. She has written on issues related to Islam for the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine, American Prospect, Slate and Sojourners magazine on Islam. Her work has appeared in such magazines as Cosmo, Sports Illustrated for Women, Runner’s World and People. She has provided commentary on CNN, NPR, BBC, Nightline and Al-Jazeera, among others. In Morgantown, Nomani became a writer-activist dedicated to reclaiming women’s rights and principles of tolerance in the Muslim world. In 2003, Nomani challenged rules at her mosque in Morgantown that required women enter through a back door and pray in a secluded balcony. The struggle for women’s rights was documented in a PBS documentary, “The Mosque in Morgantown.” In 2005, Nomani was a visiting scholar at the Center for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University and a Poynter Fellow at Yale University. In October 2006, she received a reporting fellowship from the South Asian Journalists Association to report on a Muslim woman activist building a women’s mosque in India. In 2011, she coauthored a report, “The Truth Left Behind: Behind the Kidnapping and Murder of Daniel Pearl,” reported and written as part of the Pearl Project, a faculty-student investigative reporting project at Georgetown University, where she was a professor in the practice of journalism. In December 2015, she co-founded the Muslim Reform Movement with other Muslim women and men, dedicated to standing for peace, women’s rights and secular governance.


The roundtable is open to the press and the public and will discuss recruitment of women into terrorist organizations, radicalization, CVE programs and the use of social media.