Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Sympathy for Malik Faisal Akram and Aafia Siddiqui

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

It’s been just over two weeks since the latest act of Islamic terrorism on US soil and the powers at be in the Fourth Estate already have it all figured out. Hell, it took those brilliant motherfuckers less than two days to sum this tragedy up and they’ve already long since moved on to some other hysteria and forgotten all about it. But just for kicks, let’s go over their notes one more time.

The basic story goes that Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen and aspiring jihadist, filled with blind Islamic rage and antisemitism, took 4 people hostage at the Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, including the rabbi, beginning a tense ten-hour stand-off with local and federal law enforcement. During these desperate hours, Akram repeatedly told FBI negotiators that his only demand was the release of a woman named Aafia Siddiqui, a notorious accused terrorist known as Lady Al-Qaeda being held at the nearby Federal Medical Center, Carswell. After 6 hours, Akram released a hostage in good faith. After 10 however, the remaining 3 hostages managed to escape, and an FBI swat team swooped in to execute Mr. Akram. Joe Biden declared the whole sorted affair to be an act of unspeakable terrorism motivated purely by simmering antisemitism. The media concurred and agreed ambiguously that more had to be done to prevent such evil and Bing! Bang! Boom! There you have it. Open and shut case. Black and white. Nothing left to see here folks. Move along and don’t forget to visit the gift shop on your way out

But I, being the curious cat that I am, had to stick around awhile and ask a few more questions, and the more questions I asked about this case, the more questions I had, and the more questions I had, the less black and white this whole tragedy became. The biggest question was who is this shadowy Lady Al-Qaeda the news kept mentioning? And why was her freedom so damn important to a supposedly garden-variety jihadi nihilist like Malik Faisal Akram? The few answers that I found are far from pretty.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is or rather was a Pakistani born behavioral scientist who came to the United States to study. A brilliant student, Aafia earned a biology degree from MIT and a PHD in neuroscience from Brandeis. She also married a fellow Pakistani immigrant named Mohammed Khan in a marriage arranged by her parents back home and gave birth to three children. Her colleagues pretty much all described her as a quiet but friendly, devout but far from fundamentalist Muslim. Aafia and her husband ran a small Islamic non-profit organization and she devoted much of her free time to missionary work, handing out Korans to prisoners while running a playgroup for disabled and neurodivergent children.

When Khan became abusive and controlling of Siddiqui, she divorced his loser ass and continued her studies while taking on the responsibilities of a single mother. She may have been a devout Muslim, but Dr. Siddiqui was anything but traditional. In her own quiet way, she was a trailblazer, living the kind of life many Muslim women in more conservative societies only dream of. Aafia Siddiqui seemed to have a bright future ahead of her. Then 9/11 happened and the American government decided to hijack her life.

Under the Islamophobic reign of Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robet Mueller, both Siddiqui and her estranged husband were put on a wanted for questioning list while the feds openly admitted that they had no evidence that either had any real connections to terrorism. Their suspicions were based largely on the couple’s connections to charities on other paranoid FBI watch lists, but once the hysterical post-9/11 tabloids caught wind of a pretty young scientist with all kinds of spooky sounding science degrees they went nuts and constructed a ridiculous narrative straight out of a James Bond film about a femme fatale with a deadly expertise in the latest trend in Islamo-fascism, biochemical weapons. Once the New York Post had labeled her Lady Al-Qaeda and Fox News sank their fangs into the story, the dye was cast, and Dr. Siddiqui was as good as fucked. The fact that the woman studied cognitive neuroscience and was mainly focused on helping disabled children seemed irrelevant. Once the Bush Junta decided you were guilty, they made damn sure you were guilty.

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