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Family Statement on "Algerian Kidnappers Demand Aafia's Release"

Publish :22 January 2013


So once again, terrorists, murderers and kidnappers have chosen to hide their crimes behind the name Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Not the woman. Not the mother. Just the name.

Now some people will make their own claims about what Aafia thinks and with whom she associates. The reality and facts don't even get a mention.

We are here to set the record straight. We are Aafia's family. We are speaking for her. With every atom of our hearts and souls we condemn  evil, and we pray to God that the suffering of the victims are eased just as we pray for Aafia.

In the fall of 2010, after being sentenced to eighty-six years in prison for a crime she did not commit, Aafia spoke to the public for only the second time since she and her three small children were kidnapped by Pakistani agents and turned over to representatives of the United States government in 2003.

She spoke of forgiving the judge, and the people who had wronged her, and asked that no violence be done in her name.

Several months later senior members of al-Qaeda made statements demanding her freedom. Now we can add similar in Algeria to the list.

None of them had mentioned her before. Not when she and her children were kidnapped in 2003. Not when reports began to emerge in 2006 from the bowels of Bagram Prison in Afghanistan about the lone female inmate whose cries haunted all who heard them. Not in 2008 when the name Prisoner 650 was applied to this specter.

Did they speak out when a disoriented Aafia was found wandering the streets of Ghazni, Afghanistan, or when she was shot a day later by panicking American soldiers?

No. They just didn't care. They didn't care until they discovered that a lot of Muslims did. They saw Muslims marching in the streets in the tens of thousands demanding her release. By joining the chorus they are hoping that no one has noticed their absence, and by associating her name with their acts of violence they hope to borrow Aafia's moral stature as their own, making this their claim as the leaders of the Muslim World.

It doesn't work this way any more. These groups do not realize that their day is over. Their indiscriminate campaign of murder and mayhem has disgusted all but the tiniest minority. They have failed. And so has these so called retaliatory wars on/of terror 

Cases like Aafia's generate great support and emotional involvement because the suffering she has endured can't be ignored. Her story touches anyone with a conscience and those are the emotions that extremists like to exploit.

One tragic result of this event is that once opportunists have committed violence in her name a taboo will have been broken and we will see more of this as some people lose faith in our appeal to reason.

We condemn violence. It is abhorrent to us. It violates everything we have been taught by our parents, God, and his prophets.

Those of us who know and love Aafia can tell you that she would be distraught if she knew that there are people bragging about this murder and mayhem and using her name to justify it. She would also be praying for the victims and their families. Aafia is one of too many people around the world who understands the toll that injustice demands from all of us.

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