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The Nation: Cycle of injustice complete

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I rue this day when Islamophobia officially infiltrated the US justice system. A woman who hasn’t seen her 3 children for years (2 of whom she doesn’t know are dead or alive), a case built upon innuendo with no hard evidences, a prosecution story that is as incomprehensible and illogical as was OJ’s glove defense, is now found guilty of using arms that one wonders if in her frailty she could even use? Aafia Siddiqui, the cycle of injustice is now complete:

The New York jury’s decision finding Dr Aafia guilty on seven charges did not really surprise anyone familiar with the vindictive mindset of the US public post-9/11. Yet as the trial progressed, some hope seemed to appear since most of the crucial evidence against her proved false or confused. There were no fingerprints on the gun allegedly used on the US soldiers for instance. Other accusations also proved inconsistent so one thought that perhaps the US citizens on the jury would not show the bias and bigotry shown to so many Muslims in the US post-9/11. But alas that was not to be. Despite serious doubts about the evidence – the most obvious one being her weak physical frame, which would never have allowed her to snatch the heavy gun and target the US soldier -the jury convicted her.

But the main issue is that the Pakistani state and government were complicit in this judicial farce. They chose not to assert their right to demand Aafia be sent back to Pakistan. Since 9/11 it has been abundantly clear that the Pakistani rulers will not raise a finger to help the ordinary Pakistani citizen. In fact, they will sell their people for US dollars and allow all foreign powers to kill these innocent citizens at will. That is why the drone attacks continue to kill innocent Pakistani citizens and the state of Pakistan does nothing to stop these killings. That is why Pakistani citizens have disappeared and the state is unable or unwilling to alleviate the sufferings of the families of these persons.

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Ghulam Rahmatullah

    February 4, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    Bismillah.

    Its a sad day indeed. A turning point for the Ummah – but the Ummah is asleep. Most people I talk to have not even heard of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, let alone would speak up in public. Even if they are so called afraid to speak up, at-least request the people in the masajids to make dua’. We simply do not practice what we preach. May Allah ta’ala show us the straight path and give us the real strength to tread that path – because I know that path is not easy and requires leaving our comfort zone.

  2. Abu Muawiyah

    February 4, 2010 at 3:24 AM

    I feel sick, not just at the injustice of this but more at our own weakness and inability to do anything about it. The USA inspires terrorism when they do terrorism like this. May Allah protect her and paralyze the hand of any man who touches her unjustly.

  3. Hassan

    February 4, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    They hold all trials in New York to evoke emotions I guess

  4. Hassan

    February 4, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    I thought Obama would close Gitmo in first year of his presidency (did not happen), instead he has continued kangroo courts and putting more innocent people in jail.

    • Very Sad

      February 4, 2010 at 9:42 AM

      Salam

      Indeed, this was an opportunity for Obama to prove that he is different from Bush.

  5. UmmOsman

    February 4, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    Assalamo elikuim
    No words can express sadness we are feeling.

    May Allah swt protect her and her family, Ameen.

  6. Hassan

    February 4, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    In a related news, America’s downfall continues:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100204/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/us_jobless_claims

  7. Abdullah

    February 4, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    It’s obvious she’s guilty. Now she’ll get the punishment she deserves. I’m glad the justice system worked.

    • Bilal

      February 4, 2010 at 1:42 PM

      1. What about the contradicting evidence of the soldiers and the person who gave medical care.
      2. The fact that there were absolutely no fingerprints on the gun, and that there was no solid proof of her firing it.
      3. The fact that the bag she was carrying was left unattended at least twice, which is entirely plausible something could have been added into it.

      there was no “beyond a reasonable doubt” in this case, or rather in your words “obvious” conviction.

    • Rifai

      February 4, 2010 at 2:20 PM

      Could you please relay to us why it is so obvious? Please do …

      • Abdullah

        February 4, 2010 at 3:59 PM

        If she was innocent she wouldn’t have been found guilty. She was found guilty on all counts by a jury. Obviously she was trying to commit acts of terrorism and she was caught. Now she’s paying the price for her crimes.

        • Rifai

          February 4, 2010 at 5:27 PM

          “If she was innocent she wouldn’t have been found guilty”

          O.J Simpson anyone?

          What about the people that were wrongly put on death row in Illinois leading to a moratorium on the death penalty?

          etc.,etc.,

          Sounds like you are rather simplistic in your rationale…its not really a valid reason…as the examples above show…

          What act of terrorism was she convicted off ?If she really was plotting a terrorist act then why wasnt she charged for it? Check the charge sheet… its not on there…

          Looks like a weak case bought forth by the govt. bolstered with heavy doses of patriotic paranoia(believe our decorated soldiers!!!) and an equally gullible and biased(more than likely given the court setting) jury. A meaningless charade, that has some people falling for it.Please think a little before coming to your conclusions.

        • Real Abdullah

          February 4, 2010 at 7:24 PM

          sounds like the jury consisted of people with your intellectual capabilities…thus the wrongful conviction

          Study any law (I’m mainly aware of Canadian law) and there have been plenty of wrongful convictions without any strong evidence.

          @Rifai – nice OJ insert :)

        • naeem

          February 6, 2010 at 12:11 AM

          The only thing obvious is that Abdullah knows very little of the case. Aafia was not charged with anything related to terrorism. The prosecution had no evidence of such and so concocted this wild case on charges of attempted murder.

    • Anonymous

      February 7, 2010 at 9:50 PM

      Abdullah, what about the torture and rape she endured?

  8. Abu Sauleh

    February 4, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    Statement by Dr. Aafia’s mother on hearing of her conviction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtYD8VRQVEI (in Urdu)

  9. MentalMuslim

    February 4, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    Very sad indeed. I was dissapointed to hear this, but it is in the Qadr of Allah. I pray that the process doesn’t stop here (I’m not familiar with the legal system), and I hope the court tries her again – with a different jury and judge. She seems to have already been labeled guilty even before the trial began – La Hawla Wala Kuwwata illa Billah.

  10. Sincerity

    February 4, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    A sad sad sad day indeed.

    My friend texted me around 3:40 PM EST and I was at work. SubhanAllah, I couldn’t help but to tear throughout the remaining day and my co-workers kept asking whats wrong. I didn’t even know what to say to them and this morning, one of them showed me newspaper and asked if she was the reason for my emotional breakdown yesterday.

    I was very hopeful that justice will be served as my sisters and friends were in the court everyday and even they were amazed at how ludicurous the entire case was.

    Alhamdulillah for being Muslims, Alhamdulillah for having the concept of Qadr as nothing happens without the will of Allah swt and this test will be a source of purification for her inshaAllah.

  11. DependOnAllah

    February 4, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    I was really upset yesterday but realized this morning that this life is short and insignificant in comparison to the next…and this life is supposed to be a prison for the believer. May Allah make it easy for Sis. Aafia and all the muslims around the world undergoing extreme hardship. Ameen.

  12. Tabman

    February 4, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    I will never forget the sadness and helplessness I have felt after this news. My day at university was emotionally overwhelming but after reading the comments above I realize I am not the only one who felt like this.

    It reminded me of this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnVUAcHAlIg

  13. popover

    February 4, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    Expecting justice from such a system would be flawed in the first place. May Allah bring ease to the affairs of the Muslims and make the Ummah rise to dominance.

  14. Confused

    February 4, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    the jury system makes no sense to me at all. how can you possibly pick up “average joes” off the street who do not know the ABCs of law and supposedly have no inherent bias about the matter (like that can ever happen) and expect them to decide who is guilty and who is not. Makes no sense!

  15. AhmedKhan

    February 4, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    So the comment saying this verdict inspires terrorism is okay to post but my questioning your support of aafia is not?

  16. Umm Bilqis

    February 5, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    To Ahmedkhan Why are you questioning our support of Aafia? Which part of obvious trumped up charges escapes your comprehension? If not then still others believe that there is no way she could have had a fair trial in New York.
    You are questioning our support ?
    Rather you wish to silence our support!

  17. Raju Kurien

    February 5, 2010 at 4:06 AM

    What does Ummah or Islam have to do with this.. A lady committed a crime, a jury found her guilty. Why this debate even?

    She was in Afhganistan (on vacation; give me a break!); she shot a FBI guy (where did she even learn to shoot??)

    Will you have a similar debate if instead of Aiifa, the “guilty” party was, say a Christine, belonging to Roman CAtholic religion?

  18. abu nabeeha

    February 5, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    I hope that sr Aafia Siddiqui is innocent. If she is, then may Allah help and protect her.

    I haven’t done enough research about her. Perhaps that indicates the weakness in my eman/faith.

    I also believe that we as Muslims are required to believe that another Muslim is innocent by default unless proven guilty by just and capable officials.

    The question that is bothering me is the argument that Khalid Shaykh Muhammad knew her and gave out her name to the inteligence. I understand that he was water boarded dozens of time, but that doesn’t explain how he can come up with a random sisters name on his own.

    Why did FBI single her out? Why specifically her if she is innocent?

    God forbid, if I am incorrectly charged tomorow for the crimes I didn’t commit, I would love to see the kind of support that our ummah has shown for people like her. But this still doesn’t change the fact that there are among us Muslims who have chosen to take an extreme path.

    May Allah help us, guide us, and strengthen our eman.

    • Amad

      February 5, 2010 at 8:15 AM

      Salam Br. Abu Nabeeha,
      First of all, I would recommend that you do more research on Dr. Aafia. We at MM are VERY careful about who we support. The people involved in defending her are actually from all wakes of life, from non-Muslim friends to Muslim-by-names (hardly the extremist types) to practicing Muslims. Even a less than thorough evaluation of facts on hand are enough to see that the pieces simply do not fit!
      See http://www.muslimmatters.org/tag/aafia

      There isn’t that much work in doing the needed research

      Secondly, how do you know that KSM mentioned her name? What evidence do we have that he said it other than from the tongues of the same establishment that is trying to convict her.

      Thirdly, why does FBI single anyone out? I don’t think they particularly singled her out. Basically, when you are on a fishing expedition, something in her background may have sounded interesting. She left for Pakistan so they knew that they could pretty much do or have the Pakistani police do for them, to her.

      Whether she had extreme views or not, from what we know from her family, we don’t believe so. But having views and thoughts is an altogether different thing from actualizing it into crimes. The case is SPECIFICALLY about attempted murder. It is NOT about terrorism. The image of terrorism was cast on this case case by the prosecution in order to scare the jury into keeping this “potential” terrorist off the streets. And indeed they succeeded.

    • Very Sad

      February 5, 2010 at 8:24 AM

      Salam

      One very important thing to note. All of us have met ‘nutjobs’, and it’s clear from their own words that they are like that. Sister Aafia was very active and well known in Massachusetts for many years. By all accounts, she was never considered to be at the ‘nutjob’ level. My experience is that you can tell a nutjob straight off the bat, those kind of people don’t care about hiding their true feelings.

  19. Umm Bilqis

    February 5, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    Here are important things to highlight:
    No forensic evidence. No bullets, no bullet holes and no fingerprints and only person shot is Aafia.
    “The whole incident took place behind a curtain with no direct witnesses.” From article link below (Al Jazeera)
    She was already imprisoned for 7 years!

    Also, all her previous charges were put in back burner and a new charge was brought against her.
    Where are her kids>>>>total Human rights abuse!!!

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24595.htm

  20. sabirah

    February 6, 2010 at 3:42 AM

    Salam

    a petition for Sister Aafia can be signed here: http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?aafia

    it only contains 900 odd signatures so far – spread the word!

    http://globalvoiceforjustice.uma.hm/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/campaignpack1.pdf

    contains information outlining her case and information where to send letters to the authorities (and yes – to President Obama)

    • muslim

      February 8, 2010 at 8:05 AM

      Yep saw that and I don’t understand when there are over 1 billion muslims, and majority have access to the internet, then why are there only 900 signatures.

      This shows that the lack of interest, mobility for issues that really count and the negligence. I know many care but clearly not enough to put it blunt.

      • Amad

        February 8, 2010 at 8:10 AM

        I don’t think it is that people don’t care. There is some real doubt about the benefit of these petitions. Do we really think that it will affect the court system? Also, I think it’s one of those feel-good things, and I almost think that these are sometimes counter-productive as it makes one think they have done enough in some sense. wallahualam.

  21. muslim

    February 8, 2010 at 8:02 AM

    I was distraught when I read the verdict. And surprised.

    I have been unable to shake it off and I find myself thinking about her daily. It is difficult to not tear up. I can not look at her picture either.

    I hope she appeals thought. It is indifferent whether she is innocent or guilty, what does matter, however, is that she was right when claiming the trial would be unfair. She had boycotted her own trial throughout for this very reason.

    I now have now choice but to agree.

    Some people however forget the role that the Pakistani intelligence played in this and blaming solely the US intelligence. Let us all remember that all agents are not alike.

    But the Pakistan intelligence played a role and big one and if their record on human rights is anything to go by then (gang) rape, abuse and torture just like in Pakistani prisons would have been on the menu for Aafia too.

    I also don’t understand why her son won’t speak up. He knows afterall what really happened and what is there to fear when you have lost all?

    Some questions remain – on both sides and that is important to take into account.

    Bottomline, I don’t care who you are or not, nobody should be treated this way and so far I have seen little but speculation – again on both sides – and suspicion and speculation is not proof.

    I had hoped she would be able to shed some light on the matter when taking the stand although her own family and legal team agreed on not letting her take the stand citing her mental state and daily disruptions in court which got her ejected from court. Amazingly, she was reported as the exact opposite when taking stand – calm, coherent and clear. Which begs the question of her previous disruptions. I don’t think however the all neccesary questions were asked (without knowing the details). I think the defense should have brought on to the table the torture/abuse claimed, so to confirm it by putting a nail through it once and for all. Asked about her remaining two kids and what she last knew of them. Asked about her version of what happened in the past 5 years.

    This case is as complicated and all over as can be. And I think – sadly – we will never learn the truth.

    The appeal – as her lawyers stated following the conviction, is down to Aafia. I am not sure she will because her faith in the system was weak as it is and the system just confirmed her fears. Can anybody blame her?

    But I hope that she will appeal. In the name of truth. Because if she stays imprisoned in the US, the truth will pretty much stay imprisoned too unless her son decides to speak up. They apart from the other involved parties are the only ones who know the truth.

    I also hope that all female and male prisoners who have been/are imprisoned illegally irrespective of faith or nationality will be protected. Because this is not about being muslim. This is about humanity and complete negligence of human rights.

  22. Momin

    February 8, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    There should have been protests taking place worldwide outside each and every US embassy to the extent that the Pakistani government felt forced to do something, although I generally am sceptical with politics. Protests like we saw under the cartoons only this matter (Aafia Sidddiqui and her ilk) is actually important as we are talking about human life. There may or may not be any result but I am inclined there could be some sort of result. I am not encouraging violence or such. But zealous and passionate protests with sincerety.

    I am so deeply saddened by this verdict. Perhaps because I actually thought this case would be declared a mistrial or just get thrown out considering the lack of evidence and forensic evidence. If suspicision was enough then everybody should be in prison.

    The case of Aafia has opened my eyes to many cases and I can genuinely say, it all makes my heart ache.

  23. Abu Rumaisa

    February 12, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Even if she did shoot, why is she being tried in an American court & not an Afghani one?

  24. Madeeha

    February 18, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    Assalam-o-Alaikum,

    THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR SISTER Dr. AAFIA SIDDIQUI (Part 1):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05uY19D2Kzs

    THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR SISTER Dr. AAFIA SIDDIQUI (Part 2):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52F9b1kC0nY

  25. Madeeha

    February 18, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Assalam-o-Alaikum,

    Plz also see links below:

    Aafia Siddiqui Torture/Kidnapping Claims Ignored:
    Part 1:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrvQZlsAuzU

    Part 2:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGLbb07rSOo

  26. Pingback: Fahad Hashmi’s Trial Starts This Week: Pre-trial Torture Continues | MuslimMatters.org

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