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Aafia Siddiqui’s story… Farfetched? Not according to a declassified DoD Inspector General’s report

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Link to Full Coverage of Dr. Aafia’s Ordeal

“Why do they hate us?” This simple, yet loaded five word question has literally outperformed the thousands of answers that have been put forth. This is because comprehensive responses are rarely as powerful as a simple question. Aafia Siddiqui’s case suffers from the very same dynamic; it is complex, it is detailed and it raises disturbing issues that reach far and wide.

Consider the following claims against the U.S. and allied/contracted forces:

1)      Abduction of a mother and her three children with the children used for extortion

2)      Long term captivity in secret prisons

3)      Rape, torture, mental and physical abuse

4)      Use of elaborate disorientation and false flag techniques

This laundry list is definitely sensational enough for a kneejerk rejection from the average American patriot. However, what are we to think when these very same allegations are listed in a recently declassified Department of Defense’s Inspector General’s report entitled Review of DoD-Directed Investigations of Detainee Abuse[i]?

There are other serious questions surround this impending trial:

  1. Why is she considered such a high profile suspect when the charges against her are not related to terrorism[ii]?
  2. What caused the interest in Siddiqui in the first place?
  3. How long has she been in custody?
  4. Where have her children been all this time?
  5. Who was responsible for them?
  6. Did we outsource her and her children’s detention and interrogation to other nations?

Despite all these issues, there is one central theme in Siddiqui’s ordeal. It holds true regardless of ones status as a supporter or detractor.  As an American, the one inescapable question is: how we, the U.S., treated and continue to treat her.

How Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was and will be treated matters

Why? The reasons are plentiful, but let us examine one of our more important relationships: Pakistan, a strategically vital U.S. ally. Pakistan is a nation that seems to continuously suffer from regime changes, political assassinations and other stability issues; these are conditions conducive to the widespread popular support that Aafia Siddiqui is receiving.

Siddiqui has been transformed from a “U.S. person of interest,” into a galvanizing symbol of the Pakistani people. Her growing status as a focal point of that nation’s pride and desire for true sovereignty is evident. The streets are regularly flooded with pro-Aafia rallies and demonstrations that on occasion number in the tens of thousands. Popular singers, poets and artists continue to release tributes to Siddiqui as their chosen symbol for all of Pakistan’s missing persons and other popular, pro-Pakistani sentiments. Siddiqui’s story serves as a common rallying point for both Pakistan’s secular and religious as well as for their conservatives and their liberals. Aafia Siddiqui’s case has even overcome bitter rivalries between Pakistan’s competing political movements.

Siddiqui’s status is growing in influence, even transcending Pakistani politics and reaching the broader Muslim world as new and persistent allegations of abuse surface against the U.S. These allegations, especially when women and children are involved, undermine our standing in the world and provoke very serious and avoidable diplomatic problems.

This report legitimizes the hard to accept claims put forth by Aafia Siddiqui’s supporters.

It can no longer be claimed that abusive ‘interrogation techniques’ and assaults on detainees have not been either approved or perpetrated by our servicemen and contractors. This is the second reason that U.S. treatment of Aafia Siddiqui is the central issue of this case; it is directly related to our values as Americans.

To illustrate the point, let us examine the claims made by Aafia Siddiqui’s supporters with the DoD report’s findings:

CLAIM 1: The abduction of a mother and her three children/ children used for extortion

  • REPORT: The use of scenarios designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences are imminent for him and/or his family:… – pg 36

CLAIM 2: Long term captivity in secret prisons

  • REPORT: CIA detainees in Abu Ghraib, known locally as “Ghost Detainees,” were not accounted for in the detention system. With these detainees unidentified or unaccounted for, detention operations at large were impacted because personnel at the operations level were uncertain how to report or classify detainees. – pg 59
  • REPORT: …DoD temporarily held detainees for the CIA – including the detainee known as “Triple-X” – without properly registering them and providing notification to the International Committee of the Red Cross. This practice of holding “ghost detainees” for the CIA was guided by oral, ad hoc agreements… – pg 78

CLAIM 3: Rape, torture, mental and physical abuse

  • REPORT: At the extremes were the death of a detainee in OGA custody, an alleged rape committed by a US translator and observed by a female Soldier, and the alleged sexual assault of a female detainee. – pg 59

CLAIM 4: Use of elaborate disorientation and false flag techniques

  • REPORT: …military personnel improperly interfered with FBI interrogators in the performance of their FBI duties. – pg 86
  • REPORT: False Flag: Convincing the detainee that individuals from a country other than the United States are interrogating him. – pg 97
  • REPORT: …our interviews with DoD personnel assigned to various detention facilities throughout Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated that they did not have a uniform understanding of what rules governed the involvement of OGAs in the interrogation of DoD detainees. That DoD interrogators improperly impersonated FBI agents and Department of State officers during the interrogation of detainees. – pg 86

How our nation treats its detainees will continue to become more and more significant during the progression of Aafia Siddiqui’s trial. It will be a reoccurring theme in all similar trials as well. Regardless of verdicts, our treatment of detainees if not addressed properly will continue to degrade our nation’s image and standing in the world. This fact cannot be tempered by our stance on the all important and most immediate question of when did the U.S. take custody of Aafia? There are enough claims of mistreatment for either scenario of when Siddiqui came under U.S. authority.

Supporters contend that Aafia was abducted and handed over to U.S. Authorities in April 2003. This claim is supported by an NBC News clip available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xwCHha5ITM . This claim is corroborated by Siddiqui’s family’s statements expressing their belief that she was dead from 2003 until her capture in Afghanistan.

While convenient, it should be noted that the NBC and other media reports of Aafia’s abduction in 2003 have been denied/contested[iii].

What is certain is that once captured in Afghanistan, Siddiqui has been shuffled between mental and maximum security facilities, both with documented histories of abuse especially toward Muslims[iv] [v] and women[vi] inmates.

Currently, despite the fact that she is held in solitary confinement, under video surveillance, Siddiqui under goes regular, forced, strip searches, when making any outside contact – effectively denying her reasonable access to her attorneys. It is also a matter of record that after Siddiqui was officially in U.S. custody, she was shot by U.S. personal in Ghazni, Afghanistan and that the medical care she needed was at best delayed and inadequate[vii].

For most American’s, there might just be too many allegations against the U.S. for us to sallow. This type of thinking will miss the lessons that are to be learned as information comes to light. Siddiqui’s case, how she was treated and what we will do about it going forward, will define, in part, our capability for leadership in the world. Most importantly, it will serve as a window for who we are or who we have become.

PLEASE NOTE: Aafia is due in court tomorrow, Nov. 3. Those who are able are encouraged to attend! Details here.


[i] http://fas.org/irp/agency/dod/abuse.pdf

[ii] http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2008/September/08-nsd-765.html

[iii] http://therepublicofrumi.com/archives/aafia01.htm

[iv] http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2004/05/19/maddy/index.html

[v] http://cryptome.org/bop-abuse.htm

[vi] http://www.aclutx.org/article.php?aid=252

[vii] http://www.reuters.com/article/asiaCrisis/idUSN11499491

Paul "Iesa" Galloway is a native born Texan. He was recently called "the Yoda of interfaith affairs" by a colleague from his daytime gig. After hours Iesa serves as a consultant, messaging strategist and trainer on media, government and community relations. Iesa is a product of the "Military Brat" experience of the 1990's on US Army bases in Germany he has traveled extensively, for extended periods in Kenya, Hungary and Communist Poland on missionary trips, visited Communist East Germany with the Boy Scouts of America, as well as enjoyed time in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Holland and Austria. Since embracing Islam, Iesa was asked to be the founding Executive Director of CAIR-Houston, where he served the community from 2002 to 2006, he has completed the Hajj pilgrimage, participated in an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Society for Biblical Studies and completed a study abroad program on the history of Islamic Spain, Morocco and Andalusian Philosophy with the University of Houston. Iesa's education is rooted in History and Public Relations and he has a interfaith and multiracial background.

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Joachim Martillo

    November 2, 2009 at 6:31 AM

    I have been covering the Aafia Siddiqui story for a long time.

    The latest blog entry is [AAFIA] Zionist Islamophobic Police State. The reader may find it worthwhile to thread through back-links.

    Because Aafia had the temerity to be an openly and enthusiastically Muslim at Brandeis, a vicious Muslim-hating segment of Newton Jews mobbed and smeared her in a campaign rather like those to which Yousef Abou al-Laban, Daniel Maldonado and Tarek Mehanna have been subjected.

    Patterns of Boston Jewish Power may help explain the origins of the Aafia Siddiqui case.

  2. Avatar

    Farhan

    November 2, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    Sad. VERY sad. But, what does one do to help her?

  3. Avatar

    Holly Garza

    November 2, 2009 at 10:02 AM

    Assalaamu Alaikum Thanks for providing more details, links, and information. May Allah keep her safe and I hope and pray she is not being tortured, amen.

  4. Avatar

    Mohammed Khan

    November 2, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    May Allah make it easier for sister Aafia and bring to justice anyone who committed injustice in her case, on all sides and in all of its forms.

    Mohammed.

  5. Avatar

    kd

    November 2, 2009 at 5:14 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    JazakAllah khair for the updates…

    I wanted to know if any efforts were made to protect Dr. Aafia from having to go through these humiliating strip searches before every meeting and court date? Is it possible to contact the prison or the judge in charge of her case, or anyone in any sort of higher authority that can place an end to them? Can we contact the mayor or senators or representatives of the state or city to request such a thing? I am certain efforts were made, but I just wanted to know if I can personally contact someone or not. If you can let me know, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Even though there are many Muslims and non-Muslims as well supporting Aafia by directly being involved with fighting for her release, I feel like countless Muslims are just standing by not doing much at all, save feeling badly for her in their hearts, if anything. I wanted to know if there was anything could be done to help her, outside of remembering her in my prayers. Perhaps trying to put an end to those strip searches somehow can be one thing?

    • Avatar

      Iesa Galloway

      November 2, 2009 at 8:28 PM

      Walaikum Asalaam,

      One of the most important things people can do is pack the courtroom.

      I found the following at http://www.freeaafia.org:

      Support Dr. Aafia Tuesday, Nov. 3rd!

      WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 03 at 2:00pm (Time, and possibly date, may change as has now become routine with Judge Berman)

      WHERE: Federal Court, 500 Pearl Street, New York

      About the strip searches:

      I believe that letters to the Judge will help:

      I also found the following in one of freeaafia.org’s newsletters:

      Despite his previous comments expressing concerns over the forced strip searches on Dr. Aafia, (conducted every time she is brought to court, is visited by her lawyers and etc.) Judge Berman has so far refused to formally make a ruling. The public display of a reasonable and humane posture on the part of the judge is lacking action and demonstrates no real shift or answer to the problem.

      This link: http://www1.nysd.uscourts.gov/judge_info.php?id=53 has the contact information for the judge.

      One thing to note is that poorly worded, disrespectful comments and messages work against the desired result.

      Iesa

  6. Avatar

    Mohammed Khan

    November 2, 2009 at 6:24 PM

    Dear Iesa Galloway,

    Thank you for the interesting article. It seems quite clear the bad treatment Aafia received from so many people. May Allah make it easy for her to withstand all of that and bring the unjust to justice.

    What I’m also interested in is the other side of the story. It seems she has definitely been mistreated as other prisoners have, but what started this whole mess in the first place? It would be good to know the origins of the situation so Muslims can take necessary precautions and avoid putting themselves in risky environments to avoid bigger trouble. Did you find any information from this perspective?

    I’ve been trying to understand Aafia’s case as best as possible, though there are many unanswered questions (or answered questions that require further investigation) that I would like to add to your list. These questions were ignored in my previous post because apparently many here like to cheerlead and criticize instead of think and investigate the facts for themselves.

    Questions:

    (1) Why was sister Aafia’s name mentioned by Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks? How does this fit into the story?
    (http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/04/03/terrorism.suspect/index.html)

    (2) Why does Leslie Powers have a different story regarding captivity? What authority does she have to contradict the Bagram story when she’s only a psychologist?

    (3) How does Sally Johnson’s understanding fit into all of this? She’s another psychologist or psychiatrist.

    More can be learned about the previous 2 questions at the following link though it’s far from clear:

    http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fhostednews%2Fap%2Farticle%2FALeqM5iTN4w3kCOjtCSOP0WvpNLHU9EP0wD997TP281&date=2009-07-30

    (4) Why is Ammar al-Buluchi’s (a.k.a. Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali) name associated with sister Aafia? I’ve read this in several articles. If she didn’t marry him, did she have any other connection to him? If so, then what?

    (5) Why is sister Aafia’s ex-husband against her and why does his story about Aafia’s picture contradict what the Afghani said? Why do we trust the Afghani but not the ex-husband?

    (6) What is the evidence that sister Aafia was raped, or is this something her family is saying without evidence? Were there any witnesses to this rape?

    (7) How can we be sure that Binyam Mohamed is right that he saw sister Aafia at Bagram while he was there? And can we deduce from this that she was in Bagram for the entirety of those ‘missing’ years? If he is right, that would mean the psychologists and US government are wrong. Who are these psychologists, really?

    (8) How can we be so sure sister Aafia didn’t pick up the gun and shoot? Some people say it can’t be done because she was too weak to pick up such a gun. But how do we know she was not healthier at that time? Is it physically possible for someone to pick up the gun in view of the facts that were given or not? Seems odd that a bunch of men couldn’t handle Aafia.

    (9) When sister Aafia was arrested by Afghan police, they said that bomb making documents, pictures of US buildings, etc. were found on her. Is this true? Press TV (the Iranian government-owned station where Yvonne Ridley works or worked) reported this. Why not believe these Afghans but believe the Afghan who differed from Mohammed Amjad Khan regarding the picture story?

    (10) Why is sister Aafia being tried in New York when she allegedly committed crimes in Afghanistan? Why not try her in Afghanistan?

    (11) Back to the big question: Why of all Muslims would sister Aafia be put in this situation? In other words, what triggered or started this whole process? Was it direct or indirect links with terrorists? Was she an intel agent who knew too much? Did she have access to sensitive that had to be contained? How does the US government benefit from this? How can we learn from however this nightmare started to avoid putting ourselves in such a situation? This is key but has not been discussed in MM, to my knowledge (though I may be wrong).

    (12) Assuming that sister Aafia was alive the whole time in Bagram during the ‘missing years’, why didn’t the US just kill her after they made her ‘disappear’? They were obviously capable of doing this. Keeping her alive would bring more problems for the US in the future, and they should’ve known that. Was there a vested interest to keep her alive? If yes, what?

    These are some of the questions in my mind. I’m sure more questions can be added to this list. Some answers to better understand this situation better would be great.

    JazakAllahu-khayr,
    Mohammed.

    • Avatar

      Iesa Galloway

      November 2, 2009 at 9:58 PM

      Asalaam Alaikum Mohammed,

      Most of the questions you raise are important and need to be addressed. I believe, because this is an ongoing case many answers will come to light in the future and are possibly held from the general public for use in the courtroom by both the prosecution and the defense.

      To attempt to answer many of your questions would be a exercise in speculation so I will refrain except for a few that I have my own conclusions on (may still be speculation… or an educated guess).

      My thoughts on your questions 1,4 & 11 are here .

      For 5 & 9 (last part) look here – but in short it is not just any Afghan but the Governor of Ghazni with VIDEO footage that shows the freeze frame of very picture (or a extremely similar image) the husband was referring to.

      As for the rest of the list, they are among the reasons why I wrote this article.


      As the author of this post I will attempt to keep the the discussion focused on the subject at hand. Comments that digress to personal dialogues and topics secondary to this article’s focus will be moderated.

      Longer comments will be moderated temporarily until reviewed.

      I commend you on your effort to better understand the case and its implications.

      JazakAllahu Khairan for your understanding and restraint.

      Iesa

      • Avatar

        Mohammed Khan

        November 3, 2009 at 1:04 AM

        Walaykum-salaam Iesa,

        JazakAllahu-khayr for your response and interest in sister Aafia’s case. We need more level-headed people like you here.

        There’s no doubt in my mind that there are some seriously shady things going on. Mohammed Amjad Khan (MA Khan) always seems poised to make Aafia’s situation even more difficult. Why he’s taking this stand against Aafia is anyone’s guess, though I suspect, among other reasons, that he may be trying to “get even” for personal reasons related to their failed marriage.

        Even if I’m correct about MA Khan, I think Aafia may have been associated in some way or another with shady figures to her eventual detriment. This was the ammunition MA Khan needed against Aafia not only to get even for personal reasons, but also perhaps to deflect/digress attention of US authorities from his own suspicious activities.

        MA Khan probably sees it as a win-win situation, not to mention the media publicity he gets that he obviously enjoys. To me, he’s a jealous and insecure man who likely made up the story about Aafia’s picture simply because he couldn’t tolerate people’s sympathy for her. He wanted more sympathy. He wanted the media attention. And so he manufactured fabrications — to his own detriment, I truly believe. It’s only a matter of time until his lies are exposed.

        So what did MA Khan take advantage of to damage Aafia? This is an important question. In some articles I read, the origin of the story was Aafia’s link to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (KSM), the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.(http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/04/03/terrorism.suspect/index.html).

        Apparently KSM had named Aafia as one of the operatives, and also divulged Aafia’s marital relationship with Ammar al-Baluchi after her divorce with MA Khan.

        Who’s Al-Baluchi? He’s the nephew of KSM and cousin of Yousef Ramzi who was involved in the 1993 WTC attack. Though Aafia and her family deny that such a marriage ever happened, BBC has reportedly confirmed the truth of this story from two sources. BBC says,

        “Although her family denies this, the BBC has been able to confirm it from security sources and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s family.”
        (Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7544008.stm)

        The first source is questionable whereas the second source is more believable. I really think the KSM/al-Baluchi link was what triggered US authorities’ interest in Aafia. And then there was MA Khan who became a willing partner to US authorities for his own personal interests. He reportedly gave the FBI her personal diary and other information which further increased suspicion and interest of authorities against her.

        As I said, these stories don’t occur spontaneously in a vaccuum. There had to have been a ‘trigger’ to all of this and I believe this was it. Aafia’s links with KSM and al-Baluchi were sufficient to make her a target — even though there was no evidence that she was ever involved in any actual acts of terrorism. US authorities were in a conundrum. They couldn’t put her in jail because they had no concrete evidence of terrorism against her. But they also didn’t want to leave her to her own devices with full freedom. So, they made her … disappear.

        They made her disappear and didn’t kill her because they felt they could obtain valuable information from her to catch real terrorists. And that’s why they tortured and made life miserable for her in countless ways. This includes using her own children as bait towards those ends. And that explains why Aafia’s son freaked out when he saw his father. The son is clearly traumatized from his experience, both at home when his nefarious father was around, and even more so from what he experienced in Afghanistan. He saw Afghanistan in his father because his experience led him to make a connection between two scary things. The people I really, really feel for are the three children. It hurts my heart to imagine what they’re going through, assuming the other two are still alive.

        The US authorities took their chances of caging and tormenting Aafia because, to them, the benefits of doing so far exceeded the harm. They went ahead with it for the ‘greater good’ of ‘national security’. They probably thought: what harm is there to squeeze an extremist if it leads to the capture of many real terrorists? I’m sure they really believed that.

        Aafia was kept in Afghanistan in a military prison and not in a civilian prison because that’s where all the dirty stuff happens. That was needed to achieve the ends they set out to get.

        I can’t say I’m absolutely certain about everything I said. There are still many shady matters left. It’s only what the few facts and my intuition tell me. Nonetheless, it’s a sincere effort to understand Aafia’s case as best as possible. As always, Allah Knows Best.

        Allah please take Aafia and her children out of this ordeal. Allah please take MA Khan to task for his treachery. Allah please let full justice be served. Aaameen.

        JazakAllahu-khayr,
        Mohammed.

        • Avatar

          Joachim Martillo

          November 3, 2009 at 2:54 AM

          I have a similar impression of MA Khan.

          With regard to the War on Terrorism and anything vaguely Israel-Palestine related, the BBC is not really reliable: Followup: BBC and Gaza Charity Appeal.

          Aafia Siddiqui’s case can only be understood in terms of American Jewish Zionist fears about Pakistani Americans, who were moving up economically in the 90s and beginning to become politically assertive in the aftermath of the Soviet departure from Afghanistan and increasing Bosnia activism.

          Both Afghanistan and Bosnia activism (and later Chechnya) were licit Islamic causes that had drag on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

          American Zionists and in particular Newton Jews, who include major players within the Zionist plutocracy and intelligentsia, feared losing control over discourse.

          Transforming the Israel-Palestine or Israel-Arab conflict into a civilization conflict between Islam and America solved the problem of demonizing and marginalizing Pakistani Americans.

          Daniel Pipes had been working on the concept since the early 80s. By the late 1980s there was already something of an Islamic Threat cottage industry, which was fueled by Jewish Zionist fears about the growth of Islamic Charities, Islamic investments, and
          Islamic Think Tanks.

          When 9/11 took place, the Islamic Threat mongers spread into action, Aafia Siddiqui was used to connect all the various Newton Jew phobias together because her Islamic activism almost made it possible for the David Project and friends to connect the Islamic Society of Boston, the Muslim American Society, and Benevolence International Foundation (BIF). BIF was particularly important because of its many offices throughout the world including Palestine.

          To complete the scary story, Boston-area Jewish Zionist groups planted the stories

          1. of Aafia’s work in microbiology and

          2. of various connections with Khaled Shaykh Muhammad.

          Aafia was not really involved in anything, but the Zionist leadership opportunistically used her to perpetrate an almost invisible coup against the Constitution in order to cower American Muslims and to incinerate one Arab or Muslim country after another.

          I have a lot of supporting material on my website Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel but unfortunately a lot of the material still needs to be put into a coherent form.

          Edited by Author

          • Avatar

            Mohammed Khan

            November 3, 2009 at 10:30 AM

            Dear Joachim Martillo,

            Edited by Author

            Regarding Dr. Aafia’s case, you said that “Boston-area Jewish Zionist groups planted the stories”

            1. of Aafia’s work in microbiology and

            2. of various connections with Khaled Shaykh Muhammad.”

            What is your specific evidence? I’m especially interested in #2.

            Regarding BBC, I generally see it as more balanced than CNN, FOX News (!), and most other mainstream US news media. I was surprised to see an entire BBC documentary on Mordechai Vanunu’s ordeal with the Israeli government. I’m sure you know his story. US mainstream news would never show such a documentary for obvious reasons. But ,like any other news media, BBC certainly does have its biases.

            Mohammed.

          • Avatar

            Joachim Martillo

            November 3, 2009 at 12:27 PM

            Edited by Author

            As for connections with KSM, the earliest versions of the stories surfaced in the Boston Herald and Fox News Boston office. Because of the ISB defamation lawsuit against the David Project, the Herald, and Fox, I got to look at a lot of the emails sent from the DP and its friends (various Israel activists, the Israeli consulate, Steve Emerson, et al.) to the Herald and Fox. I was never able to make a copy of the discovery materials, but I remember the various nudges and insinuations and lies that were meant to connect Aafia and many other Boston area Muslims to KSM or al-Qaeda.

            Edited by Author

          • Avatar

            Joachim Martillo

            November 3, 2009 at 12:29 PM

            BTW, I have put up a cleaner version of my hypothesis about Aafia Siddiqui at Aafia Siddiqui and “Islamist Threat”.

          • Avatar

            Joachim Martillo

            November 3, 2009 at 12:34 PM

            As for the BBC after the controversy about “sexing up” the intelligence about Iraqi WMDs, the BBC lost a lot of its independence on the Israel-Palestine confict and the War on Terror.

            You should browse the hyperlinks in my first two comments to the Aafia Siddiqui topic.

  7. Avatar

    Mohammed Khan

    November 2, 2009 at 9:33 PM

    Thank you for putting my post up with the list of questions. It’s a sincere attempt to try to understand sister Aafia’s case as best as possible.

    JazakAllahu-khayr,
    Mohammed.

  8. Pingback: Aafia Siddiqui’s story… Farfetched? Not according to a declassified DoD Inspector General’s report | Dr Aafia Siddiqui - The Prisoner 650

  9. Avatar

    Nafees

    November 3, 2009 at 4:09 AM

    JazakAllah for this post Br. Iesa,

    Your post further confirms the duplicity and misinformation surrounding the case by the US government.

    Most Muslims are desperate about the situation of Dr. Aafia and despair at the impotence of our ummah to do anything about it – they remember that the Prophet (PBUH) fought a war against Banu Qainuqa, a war that began with just one sister being humiliated.

    It is not possible to establish all the facts of such cases, as often all we have is the word of one party against another, but nonetheless once a certain degree of wrong doing is established – and US government has admitted as much itself – then we must speak out against the injustice.

    That the fact that there have been lies, rapes, torture and murders against countless Muslims is not in dispute – again, such actions have been admitted as much by the US government – what is a surprise is that some still bury their heads in the sand about the potential culpability of the US government in such actions.

    No degree of information or fact would be enough to such people, they will never believe fully.

    “And when it is said to them: “Believe as the people have believed,” they say: “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Verily, they are the fools, but they know not” (2:13)

  10. Avatar

    Holly Garza

    November 3, 2009 at 8:39 AM

    Assalamu Alilkum Wa Rahmatulah Wa Barakatuh I just wanted to thank Br MK and Joachim M for the questions and the answers and the links. As someone who went through a turbulent messy court trial, I can attest that the sides (both) do keep certain information to be to twist it; and/or use at their whim.

    I also, as said; don’t know much about the deep history of overseas on all sides so JazakaAllah Khayer for sharing.

    Also, I don’t know the sister; but in her defense if she had “questionable” pictures that could be something not related to wanting to be a criminal as we humans make dumb mistake without thinking, and God knows best if she had them for what purpose. I know someone who was very outraged by 9-11 (of course, it was terrible) and very interested in the “stories”, this person was in a position where he had access to certain arrest documentation, as well as printers to be able to compile and compose books that were VERY, very questionable, books that if any Muslim had; the Muslim most certainly would face jail no questions asked (and this is double standard of the Country we live in, I love America but don’t err while Muslim, you’ll be judged or insinuated wrong, even writing here is monitored)

    Case in point, he faced 12 hours of questioning but thankfully was let go, somehow he managed to keep the book before he destroyed it. There ARE Terrorists out there, they do hate us; yes, even us the Muslims, the stuff that was seen in there……very clear language on what to do and how. I thank God I was Muslim and I knew the difference between a Muslim and that before I started learning this. My point is, another person looked at it, they could be in Jail for something they had NO knowledge of! Thankfully that person took it to be destroyed, before anyone saw it and got a wrong idea of all Muslims or used it for evil! <~That is a example of how someone could end up with something "wrong" and God knows best.

  11. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    November 3, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    Asalaam Alaikum to all readers and commentators,

    As I stated before I intend to keep the integrity of this post by keeping the comments focused on the subject written about in the article itself. (specifically why Aafia’s case is important and why how she was and is treated is the focal point of the case)

    I will be pruning the comments when time permits me to and removing what I feel is unrelated. If you feel that any edits I make are unjustified, you are encouraged to email Muslim Matters directly and your feedback will make its way to me Insha’Allah.

    While interesting, promoting theories and debating them are not directly related to the post and I ask that those interested in such dialogues find another means to discuss them at length.

    NOTE: Edits made do not reflect any endorsement or disagreement with content on the part of the author.

    May Allah reward you for your understanding and patience!

    JazakAllahu Khairan,

    Iesa

  12. Avatar

    Andrew Purcell

    November 4, 2009 at 6:16 PM

    My friend Iesa,

    Thank you for a well researched and articulate report on this subject. That official American documents echo the allegations made by Aafia’s supporters of her missing years is chilling.

    As you know, I have known Aafia, her brother, her sister, and their mother for decades. They are among the closest friends I have.

    My first inclination was to leave this report unread. I do not want to know the details about how my friend was abused, but a third party suggested that the graphic nature was glossed over by the clinical language.

    It was still painful to read.

    I notice that in a number of comments there are people who are off topic. Rather than discussing the existence of official documents that confirm the the behaviors that Aafia’s supporters have been alleging for years, they are implying that she brought her problems on herself by choosing to associate with shady people, asking to know the “other side” of the story, and discussing conspiracy theories.

    While these are among many topics that deserve to be discussed, indeed need to be discussed, the comment section of this article is not the appropriate place.

    I have no relationship with Muslim Matters beyond having met you on several occasions and having worked with a teenage Yasir Qadhi (a skinny clean shaven kid), but I think that these writers should submit their own articles on Aafia and her travails for publication.

    • Avatar

      Joachim Martillo

      November 4, 2009 at 9:26 PM

      Dear Andrew,

      I am glad to read something from someone that actually knew Aafia because my first acquaintance with Aafia comes from hysterical reports on Fox and in the Boston Herald.

      I am not sure whether you are acusing me or Mohammad Khan of generating conspiracy theories.

      I do not create conspiracy theories. I study them and try to understand the micro-political economics in which they arise.

      Mohammed Khan looks like the victim of an American cultural tendency to believe that people probably deserve it when they have problems with the US government.

      Most people that grow up outside the USA don’t have this particular prejudice.

      Because Mohammed Khan probably lives in the USA as I do, I expained my hypothesis about the selection of Aafia for persecution.

      In the USA it is not sufficient to describle Aafia’s travails. One must provide a counternarrative.

      The Aafia Siddiqui Case is particularly important because it shows how sophisticated the political use of carefully massaged conspiracy theories has become.

      There is a big distinction between conspiracy and conspiracy theories as any E. Europeanist can explain: Conspiracy theories come into existence when there is a dearth of information. The flaws in conspiracy theories hardly mean conspiracies don’t exist.

      The effort to overthrow the Shah had a conspiratorial component, and Arab mujahids really did fight the Soviets in the 1980s in a movement that had some conspiratorial aspects, but the conspiracy theories commonly believed by Americans about that history have little connection to the facts.

      With a sufficiently large megaphone as well as lots of media and academic power, it becomes possible to craft a conspiracy theory for specific political purposes.

      You can see this in Islamophobic books like the pseudo-academic nonsense of Hamas, Politics, Terrorism, and Charity in the Service of Jihad by Matthew Levitt or like the Pulitzer prize-winning crackpot Zionist journalism of The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright..

      Because Aafia was used explicitly or impicitly as the keystone in the construction of the world Islamist threat conspiracy theory that still dominates US politics, to help Aafia we have to scorch the conspiracy theory discourse generated by Islamophobes like Daniel Pipes or Robert Spencer and supply a counter-narrative, which is more compelling because it is true.

    • Amad

      Amad

      November 4, 2009 at 11:30 PM

      Andrew, we have taken some action to keep the topic from being hijacked again.

  13. Avatar

    Muslim Stranger

    November 6, 2009 at 7:28 AM

    May Allah protect Dr. Aafia & ease her difficulties & re-unite her with her family & all children asap with complete health & faith.
    May Allah expose & punish all those who have done wrong to Dr. Aafia (Muslims & Non-Muslims both).
    May Allah reveal the Truth & innocence of Dr. Aafia through this case.
    May Allah have mercy on her.
    (Aameen)

  14. Avatar

    Shiraz Ahmed

    November 24, 2009 at 6:15 AM

    O ye who believe! seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for God is with those who patiently persevere.

    And say not of those who are slain in the way of God: “They are dead.” Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not.

    Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere,

    Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To God We belong, and to Him is our return”:-

    They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from God, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.(2:156-157)

  15. Avatar

    niaz hussain

    January 10, 2010 at 5:53 AM

    kia kar raha he pak govt ,,,,taht our muslim dr has prisoned im amrice,,,, kia pak govt khail dekh raha he asi govt ko sharam ana chaye jo masoom insanyat ko torture karva rahi he,,, meri dua he dr sahba hamesh muskarati rahe ,,, MY GOD HELP HIM INNOCENT DR,,,,,,,,pakistan ko excellent dr ka care karna chahye par pak govt tamasha dekh rahi h,,,, afsos afsos shame pakistan shame

  16. Avatar

    Lasantha Pethiyagoda

    May 26, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    I sympathise with those contributors to this site who have spared no pain to labour the delicate intricacies of the noble Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s incarceration and humiliation. In my opinion, the matter is fairly simple and explained in basic psychological criteria.

    Dr Aafia failed to conform to the expectations of her adopted countries’ power elite. She attained a status of national significance and gained dangerous influence in bilateral relations with countries which possessed “geopolitical, military and economic” interests to the power elite. In other words, she had the potential to impact on their bottom line (ie profit margins). Together with notions of denial of the massively guilt-ridden sins which would need to be hidden from public view at any cost, she had assumed a status of “public enemy” along the lines of Osama bin Laden but in a more credible and humanitarian manner.

    Because Dr Aafia could not be demonised easily, as OBL was, in the public eye, she threatens the farcical system that masquerades as the “justice system”, members of which fraternity close ranks and tow the government policy-makers line in the interests of “national security”. Any outcome will surely reflect these attitudes and maneuvers.

    Lasantha Pethiyagoda

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#Islam

Muslims for Migrants | A Joint Letter By Imam Zaid Shakir & Imam Omar Suleiman

Imam Zaid Shakir

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migrants

Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “He who gives respite to someone who is in straitened circumstances, or grants him remission, Allah will shelter him in the shade of His Throne, on the Day of Resurrection, when there will be no shade except its shade.” (Tirmidhi, 1306)

He also said, “There is no leader who closes the door to someone in need, one suffering in poverty, except that Allah closes the gates of the heavens for him when he is suffering in poverty.” (Tirmidhi, 1332)

The message is clear, the way we treat the most vulnerable of Allah’s creation has consequences to us both individually and collectively, and both in this life and the next.

As the humanitarian crisis at the southern border deepens, there is a deafening silence from most corners of the American Muslim community. One might ask, “Why should that silence be concerning?” Shouldn’t the nation of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) who was himself an orphan and a migrant sent as a mercy to the worlds be the first to be moved with the images of children in cages? Migration and asylum are God-given rights that individuals and nations would do well to respect. These rights are affirmed in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah upon him).

Concerning migration, the Qur’an states unequivocally: 

As for those whose souls the angels take while they are oppressing themselves, the angels will say to them, “What was your former state?” They will respond, “We were oppressed in the land.” The angels will counter, “Was not Allah’s earth spacious enough for you to migrate therein.” (4:97)

 The oppression referred to in this verse specifically focuses on persecution because of faith, but the general meaning of the wording can accommodate any form of oppression which involves the denial of a person’s Divinely conferred rights.

Migration lies at the very heart of the prophetic tradition in the Abrahamic religions. Abraham himself was a migrant. His son Ismail was a migrant. The Children of Israel along with Moses were migrants, as was Jesus. Not only was our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) a migrant, he twice sent many of his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) to Ethiopia to seek the protection of the Negus. The fact that the Muslim calendar is dated from the migration of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) from Makkah to Madinah indicates the lofty place migration has in the life of the Muslim community and in the consciousness of its members. 

Additionally, history records the massive migrations of those Muslims who fled from oppressive, tyrannical, violent rulers or invaders. One of the most famous examples we can relate in this regard is the massive westward migration of those escaping the advancing Mongol hordes. Among those refugees was the great poet, Rumi, who along with thousands of others fled his home in Balkh, located in present-day Afghanistan, eventually settling in Konya, in the heart of Anatolia. Others migrated for economic reasons. The historian, Richard Bulliet, theorizes that the economic collapse of Khurasan, a once-thriving Sunni intellectual hub in eastern Iran, led to the migration of large swaths of its population to Syrian and Egypt. In his view, the many scholars among those refugees led to an intellectual revival in the lands they settled in.

As for asylum, it can be granted by both the state and an individual Muslim to individuals or groups. The foundations of this principle in prophetic practice was established during events which occurred during the conquest of Makkah. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), as the de facto head of state, issued an oath of protection to the people of Mecca when he declared, “Whosever enters the house of Abu Sufyan is safe. Whosoever casts down his weapons is safe. Whosoever closes his door [and remains inside] is safe.” (Sahih Muslim, 1780) Ibn Ishaq’s version adds, “Whosoever enters the [Sacred] Mosque is safe.” (Narrated in Sirah Ibn Hisham, 4:35)

Those enjoying these protections from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) had not committed a crime and although they had not traveled to another land seeking refuge, the description of their land had changed from one under the authority of the Quraysh to one under the authority of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him). In this “new” land they were being guaranteed safety and subsequently freedom even though they had not yet embraced Islam.

 A related event is Imam Ali’s sister, Umm Hani, granting asylum to al-Harith bin Hisham and Zuhayr bin Ummayya that same day. When faced with the prospect of their execution by her brother, Imam Ali, she locked them in her house and went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) to inform him that she had granted them asylum. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) responded, “We grant asylum to those Umm Hani has granted asylum to and we protect those Umm Hani has extended protection to.” (Sirah ibn Hisham, 4:42) In other words, the entire Muslim community, globally, is bound to respect the oath of protection or asylum granted by even an individual Muslim.

This idea of the entire Muslim community respecting a grant of asylum extended by even a single Muslim is strengthened by the Hadith:

 The protection of the Muslims is one and the least of them can grant it. Whosoever violates the asylum extended by a Muslim upon him falls the curse of Allah, His angels and all of humanity. Never will an obligatory or voluntary act be accepted from him. (Bukhari, 3172)

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) praised the Ansar of Madinah for how they loved those that migrated to them and preferred them even over themselves. (Quran: 59:9) They bore no resentment to those that migrated to them and sought reward only from Allah for sustaining them. They knew that supporting those in need was only a means of goodness in their lives rather than a burden. These powerful Islamic teachings have been codified by our scholars into a sophisticated system of amnesty, asylum, and respect for the status of refugees.

Hence, when we view the sickening conditions those migrating to our southern borders are exposed to, we should be touched and moved to action knowing that our religion grants those fleeing persecution, oppression, or ecological devastation, the right to migrate and to be duly considered for asylum. Our actions, however, must be based on principle and knowledge. We should further vigorously defend the dignity our Lord has afforded to all human beings, and our obligation to assist those who are suffering from recognized forms of oppression.

We must also understand that the rights to migration and asylum have been codified in the most widely accepted Muslim statement on human rights: The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, Article 12; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 14; the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (ADRDM), Article 27; and the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), Article 22. The United States is a signatory party to the UDHR, and by way of membership in the Organization of American States (OAS), reluctantly accepts the authority of the ADRDM and the ACHR, although she has never ratified the latter two.

Our view on this issue should also be informed by the knowledge of our own country’s history as a nation of immigrants in the Native’s land. It should further be shaped by understanding the way nativist and white supremacist tendencies have fueled xenophobic and exclusivist policies and how in many instances our sometimes misguided policies have created many of our most vexing human rights challenges. It must also be informed by our obligation as American citizens.

For example, we need to understand that the overwhelming majority of families, children and individual adults arriving at our southern border from the “Northern Triangle” of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are fleeing intolerable levels of violence. That violence is not just that of ruthless street gangs, such as MS-13, it also emanates from government-sponsored death squads, many of which were organized and trained by the CIA or the US military at the former School of the Americas based at Fort Benning, Georgia. The infamous Battalion 316 of Honduras was an American-trained death squad responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial killings in that country during the 1980s and into the 1990s as well as the kidnapping and torture of thousands of Honduran citizens during the same period. These death squads are beginning to reappear in the wake of a wave of right-wing regimes assuming power throughout Latin America.

The combination of American political and economic pressure through the mechanisms of neocolonialism used to control and systematically under-develop former and present “banana republics,” the International Monetary Fund (IMF), plutocratic regimes increasingly beholden to Washington DC, integrating the violence of both death squads and drug cartels into their crushing of both popular dissent as well as any attempts at economic diversification and stratification help to create the conditions producing the waves of migrants moving towards our southern border. Long before they sought to cross our borders, our borders crossed them.

Long before they sought to cross our borders, our borders crossed them.

Despite the history, the way that the Trump administration has chosen to deal with the current crisis, largely for cheap race-baited political gain, has challenged the God-given rights to migration and asylum, exacerbated the humanitarian crisis at the border, and diminished the standing of the United States internationally. It is critical to understand, however, that just as the policies producing the floods of migrants from parts of Latin America are not uniquely a product of the Trump administration, Trump is not the first racist to occupy the White House. We could mention Richard Nixon, who famously embraced Kevin Philip’s “southern strategy,” to wrest the south from the control of the Democrats; we could mention the KKK-loving, segregationist, Woodrow Wilson; we could mention the slave-driving, genocidal ethnic cleanser Andrew Jackson, as well as others.

What makes Trump unique, as Greg Grandin emphasizes in his latest book, The End of the Myth, is that Trump is a racist who has appeared at a time America is no longer, via conquest or economic domination, expanding her frontiers. With the ensuing erasure of the myth of American exceptionalism, the “American people” can no longer point to our global economic or political domination as the difference between “them” and “us.” 

Unable to deflect our nagging national problems, one of the most vexing being the race issue, by looking outward, large numbers of white Americans are turning inward with xenophobic frenzy. That inward turn creates a focus on outsiders who threaten “our” rapidly disappearing “purity.” Hence, the border, symbolized by the wall, becomes not just an indicator of national sovereignty, it becomes a symbol of white identity. A symbol Trump invokes with seldom matched mastery. Vested with the passion emanating from the defense of an embattled race, innocent brown children taken from their mothers and imprisoned in overcrowded, feces-stained gulags become easily dismissed collateral damage.

Generally speaking, the same playbook that has been employed against the Muslim and other immigrant communities, specifically refugees from the Middle East, has been employed against the immigrant community as a whole. In far too many instances, America’s destructive foreign policy leaves helpless populations running to our shores, increasingly to be dehumanized and disregarded again in order to pander to the worst of our domestic propensities.

Launchgood.com/migrants, migrants, Muslims

So we call upon the Muslim community to not only assist in efforts to support our migrant brothers and sisters but lead the way. Get involved in advocacy work, support immigrant justice organizations, join the sanctuary efforts and lend yourself and your wealth in whatever way you can to be at their aid. By the Grace of Allah, we have launched a campaign to reunite as many families as we can. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “Whoever separates a mother from her child, Allah will separate him from his loved ones on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi, 1566) We hope that in reuniting families, Allah will reunite us with our beloved ones on the Day of Resurrection, and specifically with the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) in the highest gardens of Paradise.

Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam, Lighthouse Mosque

Imam Omar Suleiman, Founder & President, Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

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#Current Affairs

Malaysians Ask China To Free Uyghurs, Close The Camps

Hena Zuberi

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Free Uyghur Malaysia

By Gulnaz Uighur

Muslims are standing up for Uyghurs, protests held in Malaysia.

5th of July could be just like another day for people but for Uyghurs, it brings back dark memories of a bloody past. This day, in 2009, thousands of Uyghur students were massacred by Chinese police in Urumqi. These young students were demanding an investigation into the rising number of homicides in a toy factory. These people only wanted justice. They were also upset by the ongoing discrimination in the employment sector. Graduates were denied jobs because of their Uyghur ethnicity. After the protests, China started abducting the Uyghur youth and no one knows where the missing went. Its been 10 years since that horrifying incident and the condition of Muslims have devolved in a genocidal nightmare.

Communist Government in China Has over 2 Million Uyghurs in Concentration Camps

Beijing has now locked over 2 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. People in these places are forced to denounce Islam, forget the teachings of Quran, prohibited from praying, asked to learn Xi Jinping’s speech and tortured for not obeying these orders. Sadly, Islam is being treated as a disease in China and most of the Islamic nations are turning a blind eye to it.

So Malaysia came as a breath of fresh air when Muslim NGOs organized an anti-China protest against Uyghur persecution.

On 5th July 2019, a coalition of 34 Malaysian NGOs gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to protest the persecution of Uyghurs. The organizations prepared a memo of protest to be submitted to Chinese officials. In the memo, they demanded Beijing to ‘Respect the human rights of the Uyghur people, in particular, their right to life and freedom of religion and belief.’ , ‘immediately stop the persecution and extreme repression of the Uyghur people.’ and close the camps. They also called upon the International community to increase the voices of protest and disfavour upon the Chinese government and to work together to improve the situation for the Uyghur people through concrete actions.

The protesters shouted slogans like ‘Me Too Uyghur’ and ‘Save Uyghur’. In a media interview, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), Mohamad Raimi Abdul Rahim asked immediate freedom for all those who have been detained in concentration camps.

Malaysians Stand With Uyghurs

Abim secretary Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz accused the Chinese government of concealing the plight of the Uyghurs by offering NGOs and government agencies free trips and painting a rosy picture of the camps. Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organizations (Mapim), said the atrocities committed against the Uyghurs could not be denied or disguised. The Group of NGOs also included Ikram Association and the Malaysian Youth Council among others.

Though no Chinese official came out to accept the memo, the message was clear that now people won’t keep quiet about the Uyghur persecution. There is a dire need for Muslim countries to break their silence on this issue. There is enough evidence to prove that something unholy and inhumane is happening with Uyghurs. If these countries consider China their friend then ask it to stop being a Shaitan. The leaders must realize that their first duty is towards the Ummah and not towards China.

Now is the time to stand for Uyghurs before nothing is left to be saved.

This protest in  Malaysia has proved that people in Muslim countries do support Uyghurs even if their governments are silent and are upset with Beijing’s policies. This event proved that governments may fail to fight but people won’t.

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5 Quick Things Americans Can Do For Uyghurs Today

Abu Ryan Dardir

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“I may die, but let it be known that my nation will continue their struggle so long the world continues to exist.” Kazakh leader Uthman Batur. He said these words as Chinese authorities executed him for resisting the communist occupation. Currently, China has, one million Uyghurs (Uighurs), Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities held in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) (East Turkistan) in northwestern China.

Their struggle surpasses the 10 or so years since we have become aware of it. Just like the Rohingya genocide, we waited till the last minute. We are always late and say, “Never Again.” It happens again and again.

In my lifetime, there have been horrendous genocides that could have been prevented to stopped. As a child, I remember Rwanda in the headlines, then a year later Bosnian genocide. Then we hear these demonic stories after the fact. I remember stories from survivors from Bosnia, and thinking to myself, “How are you here and functioning?”

Let us not be fooled to why this is happening now. It is related to economic advantages. The Chinese government’s present signature foreign policy initiative is the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that seeks to connect the PRC economically to the rest of the Eurasian continent through massive infrastructure projects that will stimulate international trade. The western and south-western components of the BRI require the XUAR to serve as a transportation and commercial hub to trade routes and pipelines that will join China with Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and the entirety of Europe. As a result, the XUAR has become an important strategic region for the Chinese, and the state views its indigenous populations as an obstacle to developing its vision for this future critical center of international commercial networks.1

The expansion of their trade route also ties in Iran hence the sanctions placed, but that’s a different report for a different time. China, of course, has defended their actions by claiming its an anti-terrorism plan. Getting reliable information is hard. China has made it a point to make things difficult for reporters. Yanan Wang, a China-based journalist from the Associated Press, has reported extensively on and from Xinjiang.

In a ceremony at Asia Society on Tuesday commemorating AP’s 2019 Osborn Elliott Award for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, Wang described the subtle ways government minders worked to thwart her reporting: “(Both of the times we went there we arrived at the airport, we had a welcoming committee from the local authorities. They’re always very polite and professional. They say that “you’ve arrived in Xinjiang and we’re here to assist you in your reporting. Tell us what you’re working on so we can help you.” They offer us drives in their car and plenty of hospitality.

Basically, from the moment we arrive, we’re followed by at least one car. There are a bunch of interesting scenarios that we came across. You can see that the local handlers are trying hard to be professional. They are members of the propaganda department, so they’re PR professionals. They don’t want to make it appear like it’s so stifling. At one point, we were taking photos, and someone suddenly appeared on the scene to say he was a “concerned citizen.” He said he’d seen us taking photos and that it was an infringement of his privacy rights. He had this long monologue about privacy rights and about how it wasn’t right for us to take photos of him without his knowledge. We asked him, “Well, where are you in these photos?” and he’d go through all of them. He said we had to delete all of them. He’d say, “This is my brother,” or “This is my place of work, you have to delete it.”

They had all of these interesting tactics to work around the idea that they were trying to obstruct our reporting and make it appear that someone who claims to be a concerned citizen.)”2

On top of that, locals that talk to journalist are punished, sometimes go missing.

I decided to do something this time around; I got in touch with an Uyghur community near my residence to see how an individual could help. It started at a Turkic restaurant, and from there, I have been involved in whatever capacity I am able. Through this effort, I got in touch with a Turkic professor in Turkey who has students stranded as they are cut off from contacting family back in Xinjiang. He helps them out financially; my family and friends help with what they can.

As Muslims in the West, there is no doubt we should act. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim).

How Can You Help Uyghurs

Here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Ask Congress to pass To pass S.178 & H.R.649 Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. Urge your senator and representative to support this cause. It has been introduced. This bill can help the Uyghur community to be treated like Tibetans (another region oppressed by China).

2. Stay informed. The mainstream media is not the place to get accurate information on the situation. Be skeptical of where the data is coming from, stick to reliable sources that are verified. As mentioned above, journalists find it difficult to report.

3. Donate to Uyghur Human Rights Organizations to end concentration camps: UHRP, Uyghur American Association  Donate to Awareness Campaigns: Save Uigur Campaign 

4. Boycott or reduce buying Made in China products

5. Follow these links for updated information: facebook.com/Uyghur-Human-Rights-Project-227634297289994/ and facebook.com/ChinaMuslims

This crisis is an ethnic cleansing for profit. These are dark days as we value profit over people.

1.Statement by Concerned Scholars on mass detentions | MCLC …. https://u.osu.edu/mclc/2018/11/27/statement-by-concerned-scholars-on-mass-detention s/

2.Why It’s So Difficult for Journalists To Report From …. https://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/why-its-so-difficult-journalists-report-xinjiang

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