The Aafia Siddiqui I Saw – By Abu Sabaya

December 22, 2009

By: Abu Sabaya

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

“I want you to come to know of the concern and dedication that this woman had for Islam as described by those who knew her – a dedication that was manifested by way of actions that were very simple and easy, yet seldom carried out by those who are able.”

“She is a high security risk.”

– Christopher LaVigne, assistant US attorney, on August 11th when trying to convince a judge to prevent Aafia from seeing a doctor for her gunshot wound

Recently, the entire world has been speaking about one such person – a short, thin college student, wife, and mother of three small children. Her name is Aafia Siddiqui.

I want you to be drawn to the story of this woman and also understand why I was drawn to it. I want you to come to know of the concern and dedication that this woman had for Islam as described by those who knew her – a dedication that was manifested by way of actions that were very simple and easy, yet seldom carried out by those who are able.

Those who knew Aafia recall that she was a very small, quiet, polite, and shy woman who was barely noticeable in a gathering. However, they add that when necessary, she would say what needed to be said. She was once giving a speech at a fundraiser for Bosnian orphans at a local mosque in which she began lambasting the men in the audience for not stepping up to do what she was doing. She would plead: “Where are the men? Why do I have to be the one standing up here and doing this work?” And she was right, as she was a mother, a wife, and a student in a community full of brothers with nothing to show when it came to Islamic work.

When she was a student at MIT, she began organizing drives to deliver copies of the Qur’an and other Islamic literature to the Muslims in the local prisons. She would have them delivered in boxes to a local mosque, and she would then show up at the mosque and carry the heavy boxes by herself all the way down the three flights of very steep stairs. Subhan Allah, look at the Qadar of Allah: this woman who would spend so much time and effort to help Muslim prisoners is now herself a prisoner (I ask Allah to free her)!

Her dedication to Islam was also very evident on campus. A 2004 article from Boston Magazine mentions that “…she wrote three guides for members who wanted to teach others about Islam. On the group’s website, Siddiqui explained how to run a daw’ah table, an informational booth used at school events to educate people about, and persuade them to convert to, Islam.” The article continues to mention that in the guides, she wrote: “Imagine our humble, but sincere daw’ah effort turning into a major daw’ah movement in this country! Just imagine it! And us, reaping the reward of everyone who accepts Islam through this movement, through years to come. Think and plan big. May Allah give this strength and sincerity to us so that our humble effort continue, and expands until America becomes a Muslim land.”

Allahu Akbar…look at this himmah (concern)…look at these lofty aspirations and goals! As men, we should be ashamed to have to learn such lessons from a sister.

She would drive out of her way every week to teach the local Muslim children on Sundays. I was told by a sister that she would also drive out of her way every week to visit a small group of reverts to teach them the basics of Islam. One of the sisters who attended her circles described Aafia as “not going out of her way to be noticed by anybody, or to be anyone’s friend. She just came out here to teach us about Allah, and English wasn’t even her first language!”

Another sister who would attend her circles describes: “She shared with us that we should never make excuses for who we are. She said: “Americans have no respect for people who are weak. Americans will respect us if we stand up and we are strong.””

Allahu Akbar…O Allah, free this woman!

But Aafia’s biggest passion was helping the oppressed Muslims around the globe. When war in Bosnia broke out, she did not sit back and watch with one knee over the other. Rather, she immediately sought out whatever means were within her grasp to make a difference. She didn’t sit in a dreamy bubble thinking all day about how she wished that she could go over to Bosnia and help with relief efforts. She got up and did what she could: she would speak to people to raise awareness, she would ask for donations, she would send e-mails, she would give slideshow presentations – the point I’m trying to make here is that Aafia showed that there is always something we can do to help our brothers and sisters, the least of which is a spoken word to raise awareness to those who are unaware. Sitting back and doing nothing is never an option. She once gave a speech at a local mosque to raise funds for Bosnian orphans, and when the audience was just sitting there watching her, she asked: “How many people in this room own more than one pair of boots?” When half the room raised their hands, she said: “So, donate them to these Bosnians who are about to face a brutal winter!” She was so effective in her plea that even the imam took off his boots and donated them!

There is much more to say about how passionate this sister was for Islam. However, the above gives you an idea of what she was like, and should hopefully serve as an inspiration for brothers before sisters to become active in serving Islam through whatever means are available. Remember that she was doing all of this while being a mother and a PhD student, and most of us do much less despite having much more free time.

So, having this image of Aafia in my mind, I was taken aback at what I saw when she was brought into court for what should have been her bail hearing. The door on the front left side of the courtroom was slowly opened to reveal a frail, limp, exhausted woman who could barely hold her own head up straight in a pale blue wheelchair. She was dressed in a Guantanamo-style orange prison uniform, and her frail head was wrapped in a white hijab that was pulled down to cover her bone-thin arms (the prison uniform is shortsleeved). Her lawyers quickly sat around her, and the hearing began.

The head prosecutor, assistant US attorney Christopher LaVigne, walked in with a group of three or four FBI agents, one of whom was a female who looked Pakistani (لعنة الله عليهم). The defense began by announcing that the bail hearing was to be postponed because of Aafia’s medical condition. Essentially, Aafia’s lawyers reasoned that there was no point of her being out on bail if she was near death. So, they demanded that she be allowed a doctor’s visit before anything else. LaVigne got up and objected, saying that Aafia was a risk to the security of the United States. The judge didn’t seem to buy that, and the prosecutor continued arguing that “this is a woman who attempted to blast her way out of captivity.” As soon as this was said, I looked over and noticed Aafia shaking her head in desperation and sadness, as if she felt that the whole world was against her. By the way, Aafia was so small and weak that I could barely see her from behind the wheelchair. All I could see was her head slumped over to the left and wrapped in the hijab, and her right arm sticking out.

I got a better understanding of why she was so sad and desperate when her lawyer began listing details of her condition:

* She now has brain damage from her time in US custody
* One of her kidneys was removed while in US custody
* She is unable to digest her food since part of her intestines was removed during surgery while in US custody
* She has layers and layers of sewed up skin from the surgery for the gunshot wound
* She has a large surgical scar from her chest area all the way down to her torso

With all of this, she had not been visited by a single doctor the entire time of her incarceration in the US despite being in constant incredible abdominal pain following her sloppy surgery in Afghanistan – pain for which she was being given nothing more than Ibuprofen! Ibuprofen is purchased over the counter to treat headaches!

With all of this, the prosecutor had the audacity and shamelessness to try to prevent her from being seen by a doctor due to her being a “security risk.” When he was pressed by the judge as to why Aafia was sitting all this time in a NYC prison without basic medical care, the government attorney stuttered, said that it was “a complicated situation,” and capped it with the expected cheap shot that “it was her decision as she refused to by seen by a male doctor.” As soon as the prosecutor said that last bit, I saw Aafia’s thin arm shoot up and shake back and forth to the judge (as if to say ‘No! He’s lying!’). I felt so sorry for her, as she was obviously quite frustrated at the lies being spilled out before her very eyes. Her lawyer then put her hand on her arm and began stroking it to comfort her and calm her down.

When the hearing was over, one scholarly statement stuck in my mind, and it is where Ibn al-Qayyim said that a person rises in his closeness to Allah until: “…there remains only one obstacle from which the enemy calls him from, and this is an obstacle that he must face. If anyone were to be saved from this obstacle, it would have been the Messengers and Prophets of Allah, and the noblest of His Creation. This is the obstacle of Satan unleashing his troops upon the believer with various types of harm: by way of the hand, the tongue, and the heart. This occurs in accordance with the degree of goodness that exists within the believer. So, the higher he is in degree, the more the enemy unleashes his troops and helps them against him, and overwhelms him with his followers and allies in various ways. There is no way around this obstacle, because the firmer he is in calling to Allah and fulfilling His commands, the more the enemy becomes intent upon deceiving him with foolish people. So, he has essentially put on his body armor in this obstacle, and has taken it upon himself to confront the enemy for Allah’s Sake and in His Name, and his worship in doing so is the worship of the best of worshippers.”

And this was absolutely clear that day when looking at the scene in the court. Despite Aafia’s apparent physical weakness and frailty, there was a certain ‘izzah (honor) and strength that I felt emanating from her the entire time. Everything from the way she forcefully shook her hand at the judge when the prosecutor would lie, to how she was keen to wear her hijab on top of her prison garments despite horrible circumstances that would make hijab the last thing on most people’s minds, to the number of FBI agents, US Marshals, reporters, officials, etc. who were all stuffed in this small room to observe this frail, weak, short, quiet, female “security risk” – everything pointed to the conclusion that the only thing all of these people were afraid of was the strength of this sister’s iman.

This is the situation of our dear sister, a Muslim woman in captivity…

What can I say…?

I will not close by mentioning the obligation of helping to free Muslim prisoners. I will not mention how al-Mu’tasim razed an entire city to the ground to rescue a single Muslim woman. I will not go back to the days of Salah ad-Din or ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, who rescued Muslim prisoners in the tens of thousands. I cannot be greedy enough to mention these things at this point because what is even sadder than what is happening to Aafia Siddiqui is how few the Muslims were who even bothered to show up to her hearing in a city of around half a million Muslims (not counting the surrounding areas), and that not a single Muslim organization in the United States has taken up the sister’s cause or even spoken a word in her defense, and as Ibn al-Qayyim said: “If ghayrah (protective jealousy) leaves a person’s heart, his faith will follow it.”

Unfortunately, in a time where most of us are following Din al-A’rab, it seems that the best person to teach us a lesson in how to help Aafia Siddiqui would have been Aafia herself.

و الله المستعان

The original article was published at Courtesy of al-istiqamah.com


Dr Aafia’s Kidnapping & Abduction – Statement by Najeeb Ahmed (Journalist)

December 15, 2009

Last public statements of Najeeb Ahmed, one of Pakistan’s eminent investigative journalists and former President Press Club Karachi. In the video he says he had proof of Aafia’s abduction and handover. He gave the statement at Human Right Network’s conference for Aafia and Missing Persons, held at Karachi Press Club on 9th Dec 2009.

Unfortunately he died a day after making this statement.

May Allah shower his blessings on the departing soul.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF HIS STATEMENT

“When Dr Aafia Siddiqui was picked up by FBI and Pakistan Army, this was reported (in 2003) in many newspapers and I was among them who reported this news and this is reality that our forces arrested Dr Aafia and handed over to FBI, and as per my investigations and information I was able to get, she was interrogated here first in Army cells and then she was shifted to Afghanistan. After many years, when this secret was disclosed, she has been transferred from Afghanistan to USA on the basis of false accusation”


Koyee Muhammad Bin Qasim Nahi

December 6, 2009


Dr Aafia Siddiqui: the abuse continues – Alex Harrison

December 1, 2009

Author: Alex Harrison

Article was published in Australian News paper Greenleft Online on 28th Nov 2009.

In 2003, Siddiqui and her children disappeared after being taken from their home in Pakistan as part of the US-led “war on terror”. The whereabouts of her children remain unknown.

In August 2008, US officials claimed she had been in their custody only since July 2008, even though she had disappeared five years earlier.

Siddiqui’s lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, said Siddiqui was held in the US-run Bagram prison camp in Afghanistan for “a long time”, where she encountered terrible torture and abuse, according to advocacy organisation Cageprisoners. US officials have strenuously denied that Siddiqui was ever held in Bagram.

However, former Bagram detainees Moazzam Begg and Binyam Mohammed have said they saw her while detained there.

Siddiqui, who was extradited to the US from Afghanistan, faces serious terrorism-related charges.

US officials claim she was arrested with explosive manuals and “dangerous substances sealed in jars”, and intended to bomb the compound of the governor of the Afghan province of Ghazni. However, Cageprisoners has described the inconsistencies in the US’s allegations as “strange at best”.

Siddiqui’s lawyer has raised concerns about her many health problems, including slight brain damage, a lost kidney and injured intestines.

Despite this, she must endure humiliating strip and cavity searches before appearing in court or receiving visitors other than her lawyers.

Surely, this woman has endured enough through her years of illegal detention and torture, as well as the unexplained whereabouts of her children.

[Cageprisoners’s report exploring the detention and treatment of Siddiqui, “Aafia Siddiqui: A case of lies and inconsistencies”, can be downloaded from .]


Eid Without Dear Ones – Nawa-i-Waqt

November 28, 2009


Kya Woh Aafia Siddiqui Hai?

November 11, 2009

By Irfan Siddiqui

Kya woh Afia Hai - By Irfan Siddiqui


Yvonne Ridley’s Diary on her Justice for Aafia U.S. Tour (Final Day)

November 7, 2009

Final day

I have never met Dr Aafia Siddiqui but I feel as though I know more about her now having embarked on a six-state tour of the USA to promote awareness about the injustices of her case.

Last night marked the final event and for me it was probably the most significant because of the people who turned out in their hundreds.

I learned so much more about the personal side of Aafia last night than I have since I began investigating her kidnap and disappearance from her home city of Karachi way back in March 2003.

You see many of those who turned up for the final leg of my tour with the Muslim Legal Fund of America simply wanted to show their support and solidarity for the mother-of-three because they know Aafia so well.

She moved into their community in Texas in 1990 to be near her brother, and after spending a year at the University of Houston, transferred to MIT in Boston.

But throughout her time in the USA she was a frequent visitor to her brother’s family home where she was hugely respected and admired by the neighbours.

One took to the stage of the Taj Hall near Savoy Drive, Houston last night to share his memories of Aafia Siddiqui and the rest of her family he had gleaned over 25 years.

He said it was as likely that she was a member of al-Qaida as his own mother who, he added with a smile, was a good Roman Catholic lady.

He examined in forensic detail all the media speculation, planted stories and rumours killing each one off with his own personal facts and observations giving us an insight into the woman many of you only know as the Grey Lady of Bagram, Prisoner 650.

We also learned about Aafia’s favourite uncle in Islamabad – a man with a gift for spinning the most mundane stories into extravagant, amusing vignettes. According to the uncle, Aafia visited him during a period when she had disappeared and he told gullible journalists how she had appeared to him wearing a full face veil. At one stage she let her veil slip to reveal a new look as a result of extensive cosmetic surgery performed to change her facial appearance.

Enjoying the attention from the media, he embellished his story in details as each journalist arrived at his home.

Of course this does not explain how Aafia looks today. Did she really go to the bother of cosmetic surgery only to have the surgeons undo and reverse all of their work?

No one doubts the uncle did have a female visitor to his home posing as Aafia but it is quite clear to all now that she was working for the intelligence agencies to try and muddy the water over Aafia’s whereabouts when she was in the hands of the US.

In fact a lot of people have gone to a great deal of trouble to cover up her disappearance and I believe this is for many different reasons … not least of all two of her three children are US citizens who have rights under US law and it appears those rights have indeed been violated by – US lawmakers of all people.

The time has come for transparency and the clock is now ticking against all of those involved in the kidnapping, rendition and shooting of Aafia.

An entire community in Houston knows the case against her is a tissue of lies. The majority of Pakistani people have also seen through the deceit and now the Muslim world is beginning to peer closely into the case with growing shock and disbelief.

Only the US Ambassador in Islamabad Anne W. Patterson – a relic of the Bush Administration – is in complete denial about Aafia’s case … time to give it up Anne you are beginning to look increasingly ridiculous by claiming she was never held in Bagram. We have the evidence. You’ve already had to retract statements about women in Bagram and your credibility really is on the line.

When the US Embassy in Islamabad sent a series of letters to the local Pakistan newspapers to try and refute my story about Prisoner 650, the Grey Lady of Bagram I knew there was a sense of panic. The steps taken by the US Ambassador and her staff was without precedent.

But the folk I feel more pity for are the lawyers on the prosecution team who have to peddle the lies and misinformation given to them by the FBI. They’ve already asked for two trial adjournments – well you can’t fire a gun when you’ve no ammunition, can you?

Or, as my great Uncle Vern from Minnesota once observed: “You can’t soar with eagles when you work with turkeys.”

And this trial is not a secret military tribunal in Guantanamo hidden away from the world’s media. Aafia’s case will receive global attention when it opens next January and while the New York judge appears to be doing his best to be fair and even handed, the prosecution is flailing around with a pig in a poke. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much lipstick the FBI uses on this pig it will still be a pig when the trial opens.

And it doesn’t matter how many threats or intimidation are used in an attempt to stop me or others like me from revealing the truth, we will continue to demand justice and continue to fight for justice for as long as it takes.

The US authorities can end this charade now by showing compassion and returning Aafia to her family immediately.

Surely the time has come for damage limitation – retrieving just a little dignity has to be better than continuing with deceit and acts of desperation.

Also see:

Yvonne Ridley’s Diary on her Justice for Aafia U.S. Tour

Day 1 Brooklyn Ny Day 2 Coney Island Day 3 Leaving Ny

Day 4 Albama Day 5 Georgia Day 6 Milwaukee Day 7 Dallas

Final Day

 

Yvonne Ridely Speaks at “Beyond Guantanamo”

Ex-gitmo detainee reveals identity of prisoner 650 as Dr. Siddiqui

The intriguing case of Dr Aafiya Siddiqui

Video : Yvonne ridley -The plight of Dr Aafia Siddiqui