Pres. Obama, Free Aafia Siddiqui before your term ends
Pres. Obama, Free Aafia Siddiqui before your term ends
November 26, 2016
To: The First Lady of USA,
Mrs. Michelle Obama
The White House
Dear Mrs. Obama,
Congratulations on completing two full terms as First Lady of the United States of America.
America is a land where freedom, justice, and equality can prevail over momentary folly and long term prejudices. It is a land capable of filling the heart with love and compassion; a land that promises both economic and intellectual opportunities; a land that assures any individual the right to stand up and say "I can make things better."
Those promises brought you to the White House. Mrs. Obama, I too am a mother with two beautiful and talented daughters. I too believe in those values that America claims to stand for, but my dreams were shattered by a brutal reality.
I am the mother of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who was detained and incarcerated with her three young children in 2003, in the name of the war on terror. In the summer of 2008 a group of human rights investigators located her in Bagram and began legal proceedings to force her release.
In the face of these revelations my daughter was moved to the other side of Afghanistan and dropped onto the streets of Ghazni. After being re-arrested, she was shot by one of the American agents who was sent to retrieve her, and then accused of attacking them. She was subsequently charged with a crime that was never committed (“attempted murder” of US personnel).
Her trial in New York City was a mockery of justice that reflected the legacy of the Salem witch trials of the past. The 86 year sentence she received, without any physical or forensic evidence to support the conviction, is beyond belief. Details of the case can be accessed at www.freeaafia.com and www.aafiamovement.com .
Today, as you stand with your two daughters contemplating your own historic legacy, I humbly request that you take a minute to reflect upon another innocent family’s ordeal. Aafia could have been anybody’s daughter.
What if one of your daughters had a burning desire to make a positive change in the lives of others, and all her life studied to achieve one goal, to improve the educational system by making learning more efficient for handicapped children. What if she wanted to help those who have been neglected by society; what if she volunteered with autistic kids, orphans and old ladies?
What if she believed that faith is essential and mutually inclusive of all sciences and logic? What if she decided to embrace her grandfather’s faith because she thought it was logical and true? Would you be proud of her or would you ask your agencies to lock her up for the rest of her life because she is a Muslim?
Madam First Lady, I ask you to reflect and think where your country’s war on terror has taken you. How many innocent lives will it destroy?
These actions will not make America a safer place. Muslims do not hate America; but we are appalled when America abandons its principles. America's actions are creating enemies from those who would normally be its strongest allies. Cases like the mistreatment of my daughter only encourage that intolerant and violent minority of extremists who are just as happy killing Muslims as anyone else. Just this week in Pakistan these people tried to blow up an airforce base, killing and injuring some of our country’s finest.
Your forefathers were bitterly wronged, which must give you a unique perspective on justice. I ask, are you ready to say enough is enough, release this innocent soul? Too often claims of national security are misused to protect individuals in government from being embarrassed or even punished for their mistakes. Is it fair to make Aafia pay for someone else's errors?
Madam, I request you to think as a mother, to look into my daughter’s case personally and see for yourself how she was tortured and raped and videotaped while in US custody. See for yourself how the judge who presided over the case in New York City twisted justice. I ask you to meet with me, meet my family, make your own judgments, are we a terrorist family?
My daughter stands for love, peace and justice; she is a victim of terror, not a terrorist.
May God give you the courage and wisdom to do the right thing, and save yourselves and your country from setting the cornerstones of injustice, discrimination and state terrorism. I thank you for taking the time to read this humble plea of a grieving mother with a tortured heart.
Mother of Dr Aafia Siddiqui
Introduction to Change.Org Petition
The author of this introduction is an African American human right advocate. I've been doing human rights work in America for over 25 years; and needless to say, I have seen and experienced much over the course of this time.
One of the most disturbing cases to come to my attention is the case of a young Pakistani woman by the name of Aafia Siddiqui. Dr. Siddiqui came to the US as an 18 year old student in 1990. She graduated with honors from MIT and Brandeis, with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. In addition to her academic prowess, her commitment to her faith (Islam) led her on the path of volunteerism for a number of noble causes.
In addition to the recognition and praise for her extracurricular activity, a cloud of suspicion formed over the head of this exceptional young woman. When she returned home in 2002 - after 12 exceptionally fruitful years in the US - that suspicion, based on bad "intelligence," led to her being targeted for a rendition operation carried out by American and Pakistani agents. Dr. Siddiqui was kidnapped (with her three young children in March 2003) and disappeared for the next five years. In 2008 she was returned to the United States barely clinging to life, and was later put on trial for a manufactured offense.
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has described the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui as "the worse case of individual injustice I have ever witnessed." This writer wholeheartedly agrees with that assessment. Our hope is that President Barack H. Obama - via The Mother to Mother Appeal that follows - will use his powers to end this nightmare before he leaves office.