An appeal to Muslims about Dr. Afia Siddiqi
Friday, February 5, 2010
Today a Manhattan jury found Afia Siddiqui guilty of all charges. Siddique is the Pakistani scientist accused of shooting at her US captors while in custody in Afghanistan. The defense team was counting on the lack of physical evidence against Siddiqui to lead to an acquittal.
My concern is what is floating on the net, “that she fought for Islam” that amounts to twisting the issue from Justice to “religious” one; I believe it is short-sighted and wrong. The issue is about justice, and it has been painful to read and watch the trial, rather the mis-trial and the apparent denial of justice to Dr. Afia Siddiqi.
I appeal to Muslim hallucinaters around the world to keep the issue to Justice otherwise, we will invoke the Neocons to cook up imaginary enemies and change the nature of the issue. It may cause further harm to Dr. Siddiqui’s appeal.
Our system of Justice and our Jury is fair, but we do make mistakes and the system is amenable to that and we need to have patience and honor it.
If you demonstrate, please do it peacefully and make an appeal to justice. Kindly avoid religious slogans, condemnations or other unproductive methods; you may harm the appeal for justice to Dr. Siddiqi by your demonstrations.
As Muslims please follow what the Prophet would have done; pray for the well being of Afia and appeal to the sense of Justice.
Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His work is reflected at three websites and 22 Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/
The Terror-Industrial Complex - http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/02/08
Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aafia_Siddiqui
Please be aware that all that you see in Wiki is not truthful, finding the truth is your own responsibility.
Jury convicts Afia Siddiqui for attempted murder http://www.fsrn.org/audio/headlines-wednesday-february-3-2009/6156
LHCBA condemns verdict against Aafia
New Yorker goes on a hunger strike to protest MIT trained Neuroscientist's guilty conviction - http://www.examiner.com/x-4459-NY-Muslim-Examiner~y2010m2d7-New-Yorker-goes-on-a-hunger-strike-to-protest-MIT-trained-Neuroscientists-guilty-conviction
The Curious Case Of Dr. Afia Siddiqui – http://www.countercurrents.org/versey060210.htm
Pakistan request US to release neurologist on humanitarian ground - http://www.unnindia.com/english/story.php?Id=5899
Here are three recent articles on Dr. Siddiqi:
1. By Yvonne Ridley
2. Saeed Qureshi.
3. Wikepedia Profile
Dr. Afia Siddiqi by Yvonne Ridley
THE TRUTH ABOUT US JUSTICE
By Yvonne Ridley
Many of us are still in a state of shock over the guilty verdict returned on Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
The response from the people of Pakistan was predictable and overwhelming and I salute their spontaneous actions. From Peshawar to Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and beyond they marched in their thousands demanding the return of Aafia.
Even some of the US media expressed discomfort over the verdict returned by the jurors … there was a general feeling that something was not right. Everyone had something to say, everyone that is except the usually verbose US Ambassador Anne Patterson who has spent the last two years briefing against Dr Aafia and her supporters.
This is the same woman who claimed I was a fantasist when I gave a press conference with Tehreek e Insaf leader Imran Khan back in July 2008 revealing the plight of a female prisoner in Bagram called the Grey Lady.
She said I was talking nonsense and stated categorically that the prisoner I referred to as “650” did not exist. By the end of the month she changed her story and said there had been a female prisoner but that she was most definitely not Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
By that time Aafia had been gunned down at virtually point blank range in an Afghan prison cell jammed full of more than a dozen US soldiers, FBI agents and Afghan police.
Her Excellency briefed the media that the prisoner had wrested an M4 gun from one soldier and fired off two rounds and had to be subdued. The fact these bullets failed to hit a single person in the cell and simply disappeared did not resonate with the diplomat.
In a letter dripping in untruths on August 16 2008 she decried the “erroneous and irresponsible media reports regarding the arrest of Ms
Aafia Siddiqui”. She went on to say: “Unfortunately,
there are some who have an interest in simply distorting the facts in an effort to manipulate and inflame public opinion. The truth is never served by sensationalism…”
When Jamaat Islami invited me on a national tour of Pakistan to address people about the continued abuse of Dr Aafia and the truth about her incarceration in Bagram, the US Ambassador continued to issue rebuttals.
She assured us all that Dr Aafia was being treated humanely had been given consular access as set out in international law … hmm. Well I have a challenge for Ms Patterson today. I challenge her to repeat every single word she said back then and swear it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
As Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s trial got underway, the US Ambassador and some of her stooges from the intelligence world laid on a lavish party at the US Embassy in Islamabad for some hand-picked journalists where I’ve no doubt in between the dancing, drinks and music they were carefully briefed about the so-called facts of the case.
Interesting that some of the potentially incriminating pictures taken at the private party managed to find the Ambassador was probably hoping to minimize the impact the trial would have on the streets of Pakistan proving that, for the years she has been holed up and barricaded behind concrete bunkers and barbed wire, she has learned nothing about this great country of Pakistan or its people.
One astute Pakistani columnist wrote about her: “The respected lady seems to have forgotten the words of her own country’s 16th president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865): “You
can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some
of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.
And the people of Pakistan proved they are nobody’s fool and responded to the guilty verdict in New York in an appropriate way.
When injustice is the law it is the duty of everyone to rise up and challenge that injustice in any way possible. The response – so far – has been restrained and measured but it is just the start. A sentence has yet to be delivered by Judge Richard Berman in May.
Of course there has been a great deal of finger pointing and blame towards the jury in New York who found Dr Aafia guilty of attempted murder.
Observers asked how they could ignore the science and the irrefutable facts … there was absolutely no evidence linking Dr Aafia to the gun, no bullets, no residue from firing it.
But I really don’t think we can blame the jurors for the verdict - you see the jury simply could not handle the truth. Had they taken the logical route and gone for the science and the hard, cold, clinical facts it would have meant two things. It would have meant around eight US soldiers took the oath and lied in court to save their own skins and careers or it would have meant that Dr Aafia Siddiqui was telling the truth.
And, as I said before, the jury couldn’t handle the truth. Because that would have meant that the defendant really had been kidnapped, abused, tortured and held in dark, secret prisons by the US before being shot and put on a rendition flight to New York. It would have meant that her three children – two of them US citizens – would also have been kidnapped, abused and tortured by the US.
They say ignorance is bliss and this jury so desperately wanted not to believe that the US could have had a hand in the kidnapping of a five-month -old baby boy, a five-year-old girl and her seven-year-old brother.
They couldn’t handle the truth … it is as simple as that.
Well I, and many others across the world like me, can’t handle any more lies. America’s reputation is lying in the lowest gutters in Pakistan at the moment and it can’t sink any lower.
The trust has gone, there is only a burning hatred and resentment towards a superpower which sends unmanned drones into villages to slaughter innocents.
It is fair to say that America’s goodwill and credibility is all but washed up with most honest, decent citizens of Pakistan.
And I think even Her Excellency Anne Patterson recognizes that fact which is why she is now keeping her mouth shut.
If she has any integrity and any self respect left she should stand before the Pakistan people and ask for their forgiveness for the drone murders, the extra judicial killings, the black operations, the kidnapping, torture and rendition of its citizens, the water-boarding, the bribery, the corruption and, not least of all, the injustice handed out to Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her family.
She should then pick up the phone to the US President and tell him to release Aafia and return Pakistan’s most loved, respected and famous daughter and reunite her with the two children who are still missing.
Then she should re-read her letter of August 16, 2008 and write another … one of resignation.
Yvonne Ridley is a patron of Cageprisoners which first brought the plight of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to the world’s attention shortly after her kidnap in March 2003. The award-winning, investigative journalist also co-produced the documentary In Search of Prisoner 650 with film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani which concluded that the Grey Lady of Bagram was Dr Aafia Siddiqui
Verdict on Dr Afia
By Saeed Qureshi
When Dr Afia was first picked up by the moles of intelligence in March 2003 in Pakistan against the charge of her association with the Al-Qaida terrorists. She was secretly kept in Afghanistanâ€™s notorious Bagram prison for 5 years without any trial. Finally when a British female journalist disclosed her presence by hearing her screams as prisoner number 650, the concerned American authorities reluctantly moved her to the United States. Here too it took considerable amount of time for her case of abetment of Islamic terrorist to be initiated before the court.
But while the previous charge seems to have been pushed on the back burner, a new charge was framed and brought against her. She was accused of snatching a gun from an American soldier with a view to fire at him. Now when one looks at the hearing the whole case put up by the prosecution is replete with contradictions. It is utterly unimaginable for a delicate, educated women reduced to a skinny skeleton of bones after years of rigorous incarceration to first snatch a gun and then aim at some one. The whole incident took place behind a curtain with no direct witness.
The case otherwise calls for mercy to the defendant on humanitarian grounds. Someone from the American penal and legal system should have a heart and honest courage to point out the clumsy way she is being prosecuted in the American court. A totally mentally and physically broken women whose fault or crime is yet to be established conclusively, has been so much brutalized that one disdains the claims of the upholders of human rights and refinement of human civilization in the present age of enlightenment.
Even if there was scuffle that in normal circumstances can take place, did she deserve 5 years of unwarranted stay in one of the most horrifying prisons of wild land called Afghanistan? Have a heart and look closely at the credentials of the case that even a child can figure out is frivolous and is being blown out of proportion by the quarters who would in any case like her to be declared a convict. The justice stands totally wounded and abandoned by the people who are so powerful to get a convoluted verdict irrespective of the merits of the case.
Dr. Afia, a U. S. citizen and a refined woman did not actually hurt anyone, did not injure any one nor was implicated in any offence that would entitle her to such a long jail term without trial which she has already gone through. By all indications she is a law abiding US citizen with good academic record. What is called Christian mercy was not shown to her and where is the noble concept of benefit of doubt?
She has never been given a chance to give her point of view so that there would have been a clearer picture whether she was wrongly picked upon mere doubt or there was some substance behind that. After all she is an American citizen but perhaps her tag of being a Muslim American is an anathema to her tormenters who in any case wanted to prove them justified. Who is going to restore to her the 7 years of her life that this sophisticated women spent in the stinking and dreadful dungeon of Afghanistan and in U.S. prison.
Her children were not her accomplices if at all she came under suspicion of her abductors. How and why these innocent souls were made to suffer so enormously? Has the conscience of the entire world gone dead? What kind of war on terror is being waged when the pristine concept of justice is audaciously trampled to the extent that the future of the small kids of a suspect female also stands darkened?
The trust of fair trial for those who are rightly or mistakenly apprehended loses its validity when seen the crude and discriminate way all are targeted alike: the hardened and proven criminals and those with scant suspicion or drummed up charges like Dr. Afia.
Since Dr. Afia has already suffered immensely and perhaps unjustifiably she deserves a presidential pardon or reconsideration of the verdict handed out by an ambivalent jury which took two days to reach this otherwise controversial decision. The whole case is shrouded in unclear proceedings and is supported perhaps by doubtful and spurious evidence. For the human conscience, the American spirit of humanism, the constitution of the United States of America, for the sake of a fair legal system and for sanctity of the immortal Bill or Rights, Dr. Afia is eligible to be freed and rejoin her family and children also suffering trauma and agony all these years along with Dr. Afia’s harrowing afflictions and unspeakable tribulations.
You are welcome to post your “thoughtful” comments on this link, knee-jerk responses will not be posted, our goal is to create positive change and not rhetoric.
SUCCESSFUL NAATIA MUSHAERA ON 2.21.14
45 PICTURES AT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157641382648224/
August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916
Mirza A Beg
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.
The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.