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A suspect who held four people hostage inside a Texas synagogue for several hours Saturday was reportedly demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Texas inmate known in counterterrorism circles as “Lady Al-Qaeda,” whose allies include mainstream U.S. Muslim groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
The hours-long hostage incident at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville ended Saturday night with the hostages safe and the man holding them dead, according to authorities. The hostage taker, a British national, allegedly had demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who is serving an 86-year prison sentence in Texas after being convicted in 2010 on charges that she shot at U.S. military officers while being detained in Afghanistan two years earlier.
WHO IS AAFIA SIDDIQUI, TEXAS INMATE KNOWN AS ‘LADY AL QAEDA’?
Just last month, CAIR’s Dallas-Fort-Worth chapter held an event called “In Pursuit of Freedom” at the East Plano Islamic Center in Plano, Texas, calling for Siddiqui’s release, claiming she had been “kidnapped, ripped apart from her children, shot at, renditioned to the U.S., and is currently serving an 86-year prison sentence for a crime she did not commit.”
On Nov. 18, the CAIR chapter held an online fundraiser for Siddiqui’s defense team. Days earlier, multiple Muslim advocacy groups, including CAIR, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the Islamic Circle of North America Council for Social Justice (ICNA-CSJ), and the Muslim American Society PACE, held a “Free Dr. Aafia Advocacy Day” in Washington D.C., where they met with congressional offices and lobbied for Siddiqui’s release.
AMP, which is considered an anti-Israel group for expressing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state, has close ties to “Squad” Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who includes the founder among one of her donors and allies.
Others who have called for Siddiqui’s release include British hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who launched a Twitter campaign for Siddiqui in September and condemned Muslim leaders “who haven’t lifted a finger for her to be freed even though some of them sit on nuclear weapons,” the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported at the time.
In a Sept. 13 post announcing the campaign on Telegram, Choudary described Siddiqui as a “Muslim woman, an intellectual and a champion for the cause of those who faced oppression, who has been illegally and unjustly treated by the Taghout [tyrant] regimes of Pakistan and America, suffering continuing torture, abuse and inhumane treatment,” MEMRI reported.
In November 2021, the Texas chapter of CAIR and the controversial former Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour hosted a discussion with Siddiqui’s lawyer about “the campaign to free” Siddiqui.
Siddiqui’s lawyer, Marwa Elbially, and CAIR-DFW issued a joint statement Saturday condemning the hostage incident in Colleyville as it was unfolding.
“We strongly condemn the hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX,” the statement read, in part. “Whoever the assailant is, we want him to know that his actions are condemned by Dr. Aafia and her family. His actions are heinous and wrong. Her case must be addressed through the courts of law. Dr. Aafia and her family are praying for this situation to resolve peacefully. We implore you to immediately release the hostages and turn yourself in.”
CAIR-Houston Board Chair John Floyd, who has been an attorney for Siddiqui’s brother since 2004, described the incident as an “anti-Semitic attack against a house of worship.”
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“We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community, and we pray that law enforcement authorities are able to swiftly free the hostages and bring them to safety,” Floyd said in a statement. “This assailant has nothing to do with Dr. Aafia, her family, or the global campaign to get justice for Dr. Aafia. We want the assailant to know that his actions are wicked and directly undermine those of us who are seeking justice for Dr. Aafia.”
CAIR, AMP, ICNA-CSJ, and MAS-PACE did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.