American-Muslims Stand Up for Equal Treatment Under Law
Council Supports Fundraiser for Aafia Siddiqui Legal Defense Fund
Fri, 17 Jul 2009 05:24:35 GMT
Aafia Siddiqui at her M.I.T. Graduation
Chicago, Illinois – July 10, 2009 - Chicago-area American-Muslims turned out at Bombay Hall on Devon Avenue for the Aafia Siddiqui Legal Defense Fund dinner. The event was organized by the Pakistani-American National Alliance on behalf of the Muslim Legal Fund of America. MLFA is traveling around the country raising money for the defense fund.
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago supported the dinner and its executive director Junaid Afeef was invited to speak along with several distinguished panelists. Ahmed Khan, Associate Organizer for the Council, also attended the dinner and used the evening as an opportunity to introduce the Council to the guests.
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is an American citizen presently in federal law enforcement custody in Forth Worth Texas and is awaiting a criminal trial. Dr. Siddiqui stands accused of trying to kill U.S. soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan.
What makes Dr. Siddiqui’s case particularly noteworthy is that the facts surrounding her arrest are contested. The U.S. government alleges that Dr. Siddiqui was taken into custody in Ghazni, Afghanistan in July 2008 when, according to a recent New York Times report quoted the indictment as saying “she was found loitering with suspicious items in her handbag”.
Dr. Siddiqui’s family and others contend that Dr. Siddiqui has been in U.S. custody since 2003 in a secret prison. In 2003 then U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that Dr. Siddiqui was a person of interest (which means she was wanted for questioning). U.S. and Pakistani media reports from March and April 2003 confirm that Dr. Siddiqui was being held by U.S. authorities. At the time of her arrest Dr. Siddiqui was separated from her three children. To this day Aafia and her family in the United States are unaware of the whereabouts of the younger two children (then ages six months and four years old). The Aafia Siddiqui case is as intriguing as it is sad and it once again calls into question the judgment of U.S. law enforcement authorities’ actions in conducting the global war on terror.
During his remarks Afeef told the dinner guests that their presence at the dinner was a mark of their leadership in the community and that as leaders they have an obligation to organize, mobilize and take action to take the evening’s messages to the broader community. Afeef reminded the audience that as patriotic American citizens they have a duty to hold the U.S. government accountable for its actions vis-à-vis Dr. Siddiqui and that the fundraising dinner was a great start.
Also attending the July 10th fundraiser were Dr. Agha Saeed of the American Muslim Taskforce, Khalil Meek, executive director of MLFA, Kristin Szremski of American Muslims for Palestine and Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, a prominent critic of then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. The dinner was organized by Raja M. Yaqub.
More on Aafia Siddiqui on the MLFA Website
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