Senator Also Highlights Importance of Her Legislation to Improve Security for Houses of Worship Amid Rise in Threats Against Faith-Based Communities
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan participated in two Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearings this week to examine the threat posed by domestic terrorism and violent extremism. During the hearings, the Senator focused her questioning on the threat of online radicalization, as well as the danger domestic terrorism poses to houses of worship.
To watch the Senator’s questioning during these two hearings, click here.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Senator Hassan highlighted the need to counter extremism and misinformation on digital platforms, which contribute to the domestic terrorism threat in the United States.
Paul Goldenberg, a former member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary’s Advisory Council, said, “The tactics used by ISIS and Al Qaeda and other groups that we’ll call traditional foreign terrorist groups – these same tactics are being used right here in the United States by those that are asking for some to commit themselves to white supremacist ideology.”
Additionally, Elizabeth Neumann, former DHS Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention, agreed with Senator Hassan that DHS must be prepared to address both international and domestic terrorism, and stressed that the capabilities that DHS helps communities build up are applicable for both types of threats.
Senator Hassan also discussed her recently introduced bipartisan legislation, which the Committee passed last month, to establish a federal clearinghouse through which faith-based organizations and houses of worship could access information on safety and security best practices, available federal grant programs, and training opportunities.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director for the Anti-Defamation League said, “We think the Pray Safe Act is incredibly important. […] It would create a [best] practices portal for faith-based organizations from all religions that would benefit from DHS’s understanding of security protocols that they could take on themselves, what’s worked for other organizations in terms of best practices, and how they can apply for federal grants.”
During the hearing, Senator Hassan and witnesses also discussed ways to strengthen the Non-Profit Security Grant Program, which Senator Hassan successfully worked to quadruple funding for. Former President Trump also signed into law bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Hassan to codify in law that grant funding for houses of worship and nonprofit organizations must be available for small states like New Hampshire, not just major metropolitan areas. Senator Hassan recently led the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation in announcing nearly $1 million to New Hampshire nonprofits and house of worship through this grant program.