US authorities say Siddiqui is a dangerous terrorist with ties to the 9/11 ringleader. Counter-terrorism groups dubbed her “Lady al-Qaeda”, and US officials once described her as “the most wanted woman in the world”.
The US government repeatedly refused to exchange him for American hostages, including journalist James Foley before his execution by ISIS.
According to the Justice Department, Siddiqui was detained in Afghanistan in 2008. Officers searching her found documents on the creation of explosives, descriptions of American landmarks and sealed bottles of chemicals, a statement said. release of his arrest.
While at the Afghan facility, US Army officers said Siddiqui grabbed an officer’s rifle, pointed it at a captain and shouted, “Let the blood of (unintelligible ) or directly on your (unintelligible, possibly head or hands).”
An interpreter lunged at her and pushed the gun away as Siddiqui pulled the trigger, according to the DOJ. Siddiqui fired at least two shots but did not hit anyone.
An army officer shot Siddiqui in the chest. In Pakistan, she is widely portrayed as a heroine and a martyr.
Her family and supporters claim the mother-of-three was falsely accused and used as a scapegoat in the ‘war on terror’ after 9/11, according to a Guardian profile.
In 2018, Pakistan’s Senate unanimously passed a resolution to raise the issue of Siddiqui’s freedom with the United States, calling her “Daughter of the Nation”. The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the hostage-taking incident in a statement.
“This anti-Semitic attack on a place of worship is unacceptable,” the Houston chapter of CAIR said in the statement.
“We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and pray that law enforcement can quickly release the hostages and bring them to safety. “We want it to be well known that the hostage taker is NOT Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s brother, who is not even in the same area where this horrific incident is taking place,” the CAIR statement read.
“We want the hostage taker to know that Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her family strongly condemn this act and do not support you. Dr. Aafia’s family has always been firm in advocating for the release of their sister from incarceration only through legal and non-violent means.
On the Facebook livestream of Saturday’s service at the synagogue, an angry man could be heard ranting, sometimes talking about religion.
The video did not show what was happening in the building. The man repeatedly mentioned his sister and Islam and used profanity. He was heard asking for his ‘sister’ to be released from prison.
At one point, another voice can be heard apparently speaking on the phone to the police. The man repeatedly said he didn’t want anyone hurt and he mentioned his children. He also said several times that he believed he was going to die.
Livestream commentators offered prayers for Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker. Over 8,000 viewers were watching the livestream.
The Shabbat morning service began at 10 a.m. Saturday, according to the Reform Jewish congregation’s schedule. Around 6:30 p.m., the standoff continued. Reporters at a media staging area near the scene said traffic continued to pass as police surrounded the area, but no one was allowed near the synagogue.
“We are quite upset,” said synagogue member Eugene Posnock of Colleyville. He referred all questions to the president of the synagogue, Mike Finfer. Finfer was at a command center near the scene Saturday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.
The temple’s rabbi, Cytron-Walker, is 46. He has lived with his wife in North Richland Hills since 2006, according to public records.
He attended the University of Michigan. “All we can do at this time is pray for the members of the congregation, for the whole community and for our friend, Rabbi Cytron-Walker and his wonderful family,” said Rabbi Brian Zimmerman and the President Russ Schultz of Congregation Beth-El in Ft. Worth said in an email message to members of their congregation.
“Some of you have asked about security. President Russ Schultz and I want to assure you that all of our Jewish congregations in Tarrant County are working closely with the Jewish Federation, local police departments, the Department Homeland Security and a host of other professional groups to continuously assess our security procedures,” the email mentioned.
“As we pray for a safe resolution, these groups will certainly meet and learn from this situation for the future.” Jawaid Alam, president of the Islamic Center of Southlake, told the Star-Telegram that Cytron-Walker is a personal friend and a friend of the Muslim community who has promoted interfaith peace and cooperation.