Who is Aafia Siddiqui? Pakistani Scientist Known as 'Lady al-Qaida' in Spotlight After Texas Synagogue Attack

Aafia Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 on seven charges, including attempted murder and armed assault on US officers in Afghanistan

A hostage situation unfolded at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday, January 15 afternoon. An Armed man took four people including a rabbi hostage, demanding the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui. One of the hostages, however, was released uninjured by the evening.

It is not clear at the moment to what extent the hostage-taker is armed, but he was seen carrying backpacks, according to ABC News. The identity of the hostage-taker is not known at the moment. According to NBC News, the hostage-taker made the rabbi call another rabbi in New York City. The purpose of the call is again said to have been the demand for releasing Aafia Siddiqui.

Aafia Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 on seven charges, including attempted murder and armed assault on US officers in Afghanistan. She is serving an 86-year sentence at a facility in Texas. According to CNN, Aafia's attorney clarified Saturday that she has 'absolutely no involvement' in the situation unfolding in the Texas synagogue.

Aafia Siddiqui
Aafia Siddiqui Screen bgrab - Associated Press via Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Who is Aafia Siddiqui?

Aafia Siddiqui was the first female terrorist arrested after 9/11. She was convicted on seven charges in connection with attempted murder and assault of United States officers and employees in Afghanistan in 2008. Siddiqui allegedly stole a US Army soldier's rifle and opened fire on members of the American interrogation team. None of the members, however, were hit in the attack.

Pakistani scientist

According to a federal indictment, Aafia Siddiqui is a Pakistani scientist who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also has a doctorate from Brandeis University.

Siddiqui was taken in for questioning by the Afghan National Police in 2008 after they found handwritten notes mentioning potential targets of a 'mass casualty attack.' When an American interrogation team tried to speak to her, she attacked them with the stolen rifle.

'Death to America'

During the sentencing, the judge noted that a terrorism enhancement applied to Siddiqui's crimes owing to her statements 'I hate Americans,' and 'Death to America,' which depicted her intent to counterattack the United States government.

'Israel masterminded 9/11'

Siddiqui's defense stated she was incompetent to stand trial. However, she clashed with her lawyers and told the judge at sentencing that neither she was mentally sick nor she was paranoid. She even stressed her belief that Israel 'masterminded 9/11.'

Siddiqui is even referred to as 'Lady al Qaida.'

Due to medical reasons, Siddiqui was transferred to the Federal Medical Center-Carswell prison in Fort Worth in 2008. Her release date is set for 60 years from now.

This article was first published on January 16, 2022