MANCHESTER – Yesterday during a Senate hearing addressing the hostage situation in Boko Haram, Senator Jeanne Shaheen said the kidnapping of the 276 Nigerian girls had nothing to do with Islam and that religion should “not be confused with some of these horrible terrorist acts.” 
Her statement comes on the heels of a recent video titled “New Video Boko Haram Kidnapped Girls Converted To Islam” that shows the girls dressed in black and gray full-length hijabs and chanting Muslim prayers in an undisclosed location.
“Boko Haram proudly shares Al-Qaeda's mission and ideology. They see themselves as jihadists fighting for Islam. They kidnapped these girls and are now forcing them to embrace radical Islam in all respects. It is naive to think they have nothing to do with religion. They embrace a twisted form of Islam that is spreading around the world and which is intent on destroying Western society," said Brown. 
Two years ago, Brown introduced the the “Boko Haram Terrorist Designation Act of 2012,” requesting that Boko Haram be looked at as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).  His bill was referred to the Foreign Relations Committee, a committee Senator Shaheen sits on, but no action was taken.  Brown also wrote a letter to then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton urging her to designate Boko Haram as an FTO.
Today, the Associated Press reported that the Obama State Department acknowledged “it could have acted sooner to designate Nigeria's Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization,” which is what Senator Brown was pushing for two years ago.

Transcript of Senator Shaheen’s Remarks from yesterday's hearing:
ROBERT JACKSON, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS: Absolutely. The message that all the Muslim leaders who have spoken out, whether religious leaders or political leaders have passed is that this is not about Islam.  I think that's a very important point. Boko Haram's philosophy is not an Islamic philosophy.
SEN. SHAHEEN: I agree and I’m glad you made that point. Clearly, we need to make sure Islam is not confused with some of these horrible terrorist acts that have been and continue to be perpetrated by terrorists groups.
Mr. Gast, can I ask you to elaborate on a question senator coons posed about what we are doing to help address women and girls in Nigeria where 2/3 of women in northern Nigeria receive no education, only one out of 20 women has a high school education, and where half of Nigerian women are reportedly married at age 15. Can you talk to what more we can do to address the circumstances there and cooperate with those organizations in Nigeria who share the values of trying to support getting an education for women?

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