by Linda Ford – January 19, 2022
The media coverage of the hostage-taking at a synagogue in Texas has been predictably hysterical, Islamophobic and inaccurate about Aafia Siddiqui, the apparent political cause of the hostage-taker Malik Faisad Akram. According to his family in England he has “mental health issues.” He was “said to have” weapons and explosives. He was “said to have” threatened the four hostages but everyone seems to agree no one was harmed. He wanted Siddiqui free from the near-by maximum security Carswell Prison; he wanted to speak to her. Under heavy criticism the FBI has said that his hostage-taking had nothing to do with their being Jews, “not his issue.” But to the press, Siddiqui “has a history of anti-semitism,” hence the universal media criticism. To the police, FBI, government, killing Akram represented a successful outcome to the crisis. Siddiqui’s lawyer and family distanced themselves from Akram’s actions, but to say they remain completely frustrated by their thwarted attempts to free a very ill, frail, and innocent Aafia Siddiqui, after repeated pleas to the US government and unfulfilled promises by the Pakistani government, would be to vastly understate the case.
Pakistani-born Boston graduate student Aafia Siddiqui’s crime was to be caught in America’s post 9/11 anti-Muslim hysteria. She had come to America in 1990 to study, earning a biology degree and then a Ph.D in neuroscience from MIT. Her colleagues called her quiet and religious (but not a fundamentalist). Her marriage to Mohammed Amjad Khan ended in divorce when he proved to be violent and more fundamentalist than Siddiqui. She was mistakenly accused of anti-American Muslim activism initially (partially because of mistaken identity), but the accusations ballooned. In the early War On Terror days, “associations” became much more significant and damning. Siddiqui ended up on Attorney General John Ashcroft’s “Watchlist.” As the Big Lies of government grew, soon the New York Post was calling her “Lady Al Queda.”
Once the government labeled her a “terrorist,” she had no chance of escaping the Empire’s punishment. When her true story began to emerge, it was necessary to take action. While visiting in Pakistan, helped by Pakistani American operatives, she was “disappeared.” Her youngest child was killed when she was taken, and her other two children imprisoned separately for years. She was beaten, raped, tortured and kept in solitary in black site prisons of the American Empire, particularly in Afghanistan. Other prisoners have testified that they saw her at Bagram, a prison from which the Obama administration prevented prisoners’ court appearances because they might talk about the conditions of their imprisonment. Eventually Aafia Siddiqui would be set up for final punishment and disposal…