Who Is Aafia Siddiqui And Why Do Islamists Want Her Released?

 Originally published January 19, 2021


The big news of the week is the coverage of and reaction to the hostage situation that took place last Shabbos in Colleyville, Texas.  The terrorist who detained four people against their will had only one demand: Release Aafia Siddiqui from prison.  Who is she, and why did this terrorist, and other Muslim terrorist sympathizers, want her released?

Known as “Lady Al-Qaeda,” Siddiqui was a Pakistani neuroscientist who studied at MIT.  After 9/11, she moved with her husband and three children back to Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan, so she could provide medical aid to the Taliban, who were embroiled in the conflict with the US.  She later divorced her first husband and remarried the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.  She was part of a terrorist cell that planned to attack the West. At one point, the FBI had her as high as number seven on the Al-Qaeda most wanted list.

At the time of her arrest in 2008, Siddiqui was planning an attack on multiple targets in the US, including the Statue of Liberty.  While she was being questioned, she grabbed a rifle and fired two shots at the soldiers, shouting “Allahu Akbar.”  Thankfully, no one was killed.  As her trial approached, she tried to fire her defense team for having a Jewish background. She wrote a letter to the court describing Jews as “cruel, ungrateful, back-stabbing” people, and demanded that the jury be DNA tested to ensure they did not have any “Zionist” or “Israeli” blood.

She was convicted in Manhattan court and sentenced to 86 years, which she’s serving in a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.  

Since her conviction and imprisonment, her release has become a cause célèbre for Islamists around the world.  ISIS once offered to trade James Foley, the captured journalist who they later beheaded, and Kayla Mueller, the humanitarian aid worker, for Siddiqui.  When deserting soldier Bowe Bergdahl was taken hostage in 2009, Siddiqui’s release was part of the Taliban’s demands.  The Taliban also tried to exchange captured British and Swiss citizens for her.  

A jihadi from Ohio who joined the terrorist group Nusra Front in Syria was sent back to the United States.  His mission was to attack the prison where Siddiqui was being held with the intention of breaking her out.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a Washington DC Advocacy Day to release Siddiqui this past November. Prior to the event, they hosted a Facebook Live discussion featuring Women’s March founder and well-known antisemite Linda Sarsour.  In a press release for the event, the organizers said about Siddiqui that she is “an innocent woman” and “is serving an unjust 86-year prison sentence for a crime that she did not commit.”  They also referred to her as “one of the greatest victims of the so-called ‘war on terror’ kidnapping program…”

CAIR is well known to have visceral hatred toward Jews, and Zionists in particular.  CAIR Executive Director for the San Francisco Bay Area Zahra Billoo said only a few weeks ago, “When we talk about Islamophobia…we also want to pay attention to the ‘polite’ Zionists. The ones that say ‘Let’s just break bread together’…We need to pay attention to the Anti-Defamation League.  We need to pay attention to the Jewish Federation.  We need to pay attention to the Zionist synagogues.  We need to pay attention to the Hillel chapters on our campuses.  Because just because they’re your friend today doesn’t mean they have you back when it comes to human rights.”  By “human rights,” Billoo means being anti-police, pro-sharia-law, and anti-Israel.  She essentially provides a list of targets for anyone listening that Jews are the enemy.  It doesn’t matter the denomination, the religious level, or even the love of the State of Israel.  If you’re a Jew, you’re the enemy.

Aafia Siddiqui certainly believes the same thing.  These terrorists and terrorist sympathizers want her released because they think she will help the cause – nothing more.  That cause is the destruction of America, Israel, and of course the Jewish people.  Even if the media forgets this story in a few days (or less), the Jewish community never should.  

When our enemies tell us what they want, believe them.  And be ready.

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