Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Global Impact: Family of Aafia Siddiqui, 42, Disassociates Siddiqui from ISIS, Urges Nonviolence

According to ABC News, ISIS is reportedly demanding $6.6 million for a 26-year-old US woman the terror group reportedly kidnapped  a year ago while performing relief work in Syria.
 
She is the third of at least four Americans who were known to be held by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). US journalist James Foley was executed in on a video-clip by ISIS that appeared online last week. Another American writer, Steven Sotloff, was seen alive but under duress in the same footage.

In addition to the multi-million dollar ransom, the terror group has also demanded that the US release Aafia Siddiqui, 42, an MIT-trained neuroscientist who was convicted by the US in 2010 of trying to kill US officials two years before, according to a supporter of Siddiqui. 

Siddiqui’s release has been a regular demand of groups critical of US policy in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, but Monday (August 25) Siddiqui’s family spoke out through supporters to saying they were “very distraught” Siddiqui’s name was invoked with the ransom request and sought to distance themselves from ISIS.

“If the issue is true, we would like to state that our family does not have any connections to such groups or actions,” reads a letter written by Siddiqui’s family. “We believe in a struggle that is peaceful and dignified. Associating Aafia’s name with acts of violence is against everything we are struggling for.” 

COMMENT:  The Siddiqui family has been “traumatized by the thoughts that someone else could be harmed in the name of Aafia,” said Mauri Saalakhan of the Peace and Justice Foundation, who held a sparsely attended press conference Monday (August 25) and spoke on behalf of the Siddiqui family.

The details of the ISIS ransom demand and the abduction of the young aid worker were disclosed by Saalakhan and a close friend of the unnamed hostage family in statements to ABC News Monday.

Each of the three known surviving American hostages in ISIS’s hands have been threatened with death since Foley’s execution, sources have told ABC NEWS. 

In the video that depicted Foley’s beheading, a masked militant said that Sotloff’s fate rested in President Obama's hands, an apparent demand that the US stop airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq.

The day after Foley’s execution video emerged online, the US military announced it had continued bombing runs against ISIS in Iraq and overnight THE NEW YORK TIMES reported that President Obama has approved surveillance flights over Syria, what the paper called a potential precursor to airstrikes.