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Opinion: How Aafia Siddiqui became an icon for terrorists

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Opinion: How Aafia Siddiqui became an icon for terrorists

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Siddiqui’s attorney, Marwa Elbially, released a statement on Saturday condemning the hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel and urging the person responsible to release the hostages and surrender to law enforcement.

To most Americans, Siddiqui is an obscure figure, but among Islamist terrorists, the mother of three is an icon.
After ISIS abducted American journalist James Foley in Syria in 2012, terrorists emailed Foley’s family in August 2014 demanding Siddiqui’s release.
In 2009, US soldier Bowe Bergdahl was taken hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan. One of the Taliban’s main demands for Bergdhal’s release was that Siddiqui be released from US custody.
Siddiqui, a lightweight Pakistani-American in her 30s, was arrested in eastern Afghanistan in July 2008. US officials said she was carrying documents on the making of “dirty bombs”, which are radiological weapons. They said she also carried notes about attacks on New York landmarks such as the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Siddiqui, who lived in the United States between 1991 and 2002, graduated from top American universities with a degree in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis.
After Siddiqui’s arrest in Ghazi, Afghanistan, she was questioned on July 18, 2008, by US soldiers and FBI officials. During this interrogation, Siddiqui found an unguarded rifle and fired it at an American officer and other members of the interview team. She also attacked an FBI agent and a US Army officer as they attempted to disarm her. She was later charged with attempted murder.
In her native Pakistan, Siddiqui is seen by some as a victim of the “war on terror”. Thousands of people took to the streets to protest when she was found guilty of the attempted murder of a US Army officer in 2010.

Now, once again, Siddiqui’s imprisonment in Texas is being used as justification for terrorism against Americans, this time in the United States itself.

American troops may have all left Afghanistan in August, but America’s long war continues to reverberate today.

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