Pakistani Woman Linked to Al Qaeda Found Guilty in New York

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January 15, 2022

Originally posted: October 4, 2010

A Pakistani woman with alleged links to Al Qaeda convicted for attempting to kill U.S. security personnel in Afghanistan has blamed her guilty verdict on Israel.

On February 3, 2010, Aafia Siddiqui, 37, was found guilty in a New York federal court of two counts of attempted murder, armed assault, using and carrying a firearm and assault of U.S. officers and employees for shooting at federal agents and American soldiers while she was detained in Afghanistan. As jurors left the courtroom, Siddiqui exclaimed, "This is a verdict coming from Israel, not America. That's where the anger belongs." She was sentenced to 86 years in prison in September 2010.

Siddiqui was arrested in July 2008 by Afghanistan National Police in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan. When she was turned over to U.S. custody, she grabbed a U.S. soldier's assault rifle while she was being questioned and fired at U.S. personnel. During the incident, she repeatedly shouted that she "wanted to kill Americans" and was shot twice in the torso, according to the complaint. 

Siddiqui was extradited to New York on August 4, 2008.  An indictment filed the following September charged her with four counts of assault, two counts of attempted murder and one count of discharging a firearm. Two months later, a government doctor declared that she was mentally unfit to stand trial. Prosecutors have since argued that Siddiqui was faking symptoms of mental illness, and she was deemed competent to stand trial. 

During court proceedings in January 2010, Siddiqui stated that Jews should be excluded from her jury pool. "If they have a Zionist or Israeli background…they are all mad at me," Siddiqui said. "I have a feeling everyone here is them – subject to genetic testing… They should be excluded."  Siddiqui's trial is the latest terror-related trial marked by claims of Israeli control. 

After her arrest in Afghanistan, Afghan police found in Siddiqui's possession documents on making explosives, descriptions of New York City landmarks, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, and excerpts from "Anarchist's Arsenal," a book describing various types of incendiary and explosive techniques. According to the indictment, Afghan police also discovered personal notes on making chemical weapons and "dirty bombs," as well as ways to attack "enemies" by using underwater bombs or gliders.

Siddiqui, a mother of three who has received degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University, has been wanted for questioning by the FBI since 2004 for being an "operative and facilitator of Al Qaeda," according to FBI Director Robert Mueller.

These allegations reportedly stem from Siddiqui's personal relationship with detainees at Guantanamo Bay, including her husband Ammar al-Baluchi, who allegedly funneled money for his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Siddiqui also prepared travel documents for Majid Khan, a Pakistani member of Al Qaeda, to travel to the U.S. from Pakistan in 2002.

According to court documents, Siddiqui raised money with her "contemporary" Emadeddin Z. Muntasser, one of the former leaders of the Boston branch of Al-Kifah Refugee Center, a now-defunct charitable organization allegedly linked to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.