Open letter to Michelle Obama
Posted to the official family site - found on Sat, 30 Jan 2010 14:37:03 +0000
(Written to Michelle Obama and sent earlier)
The First Lady of USA,
Mrs. Michelle Obama.
The Whiite House,
Dear Mrs. Michelle Obama,
Congratulations on becoming the first lady of the United States of America.
America is a land where freedom, equality, and justice can prevail over both momentary folly and long term prejudices. It is a land that promises to fill the heart with love and compassion, that promises both economic and intellectual opportunities, that promises any single individual the right to stand up and say "I can make things better."
Those promises brought you to the White House.
Mrs. Obama, I too am a mother with two beautiful and talented daughters. I too believe in those values that America stands for, but my dreams were shattered by a brutal reality.
I am the mother of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who was detained and incarcerated, along with her three young children, in 2003 by agents representing the American government in the name of the war on terror.
In the summer of 2008 a group of human rights investigators located her in Bagram and began legal proceedings to force her release.
In the face of this she was moved to the other side of Afghanistan and dropped on the streets of Ghazni with a bag full of incriminating materials. An anonymous call to the police ensured that she was picked up by the local police moments later.
She was shot by one of the American contractors sent to retrieve her when the local police objected to the handover.
She is now charged with a crime that was never committed. The American contractors in Ghazni have been replaced in the indictment with a group of FBI agents and American soldiers.
Her trial in New York City is a mockery of justice reflecting the legacy of the Salem witch trials. No mention of Aafia's location between the years 2003 and 2008 will be allowed at her trial. Any evidence of this would undermine the integrity of the indictment and result in criminal charges against any number of government officials.
Today, as you stand with your two daughters celebrating the New Year, have you a second to reflect and see what could have happened? Aafia could have been anybody’s daughter.
What if one of your daughters was ambitious enough to want to make a change, and all her life studied to achieve one goal, to improve the education system by making learning more efficient. By helping handicapped children live a meaningful life. What if she decided to help those who have been wronged, what if she volunteered with autistic kids, orphans and old ladies?
What if she believed that faith is essential and mutually inclusive of all sciences and logic? What if she decided to embrace her grandfather’s faith because she thought it was logical and true? Would you be proud of her or would you ask your agencies to lock her up for the rest of her life because she is a Muslim?
Madam First Lady, I ask you to reflect and think where your country’s war on terror has taken you. How many innocent lives will it destroy?
These actions will not make America a safer place. Muslims do not hate America, but are appalled when America abandons its principles. America's actions are creating enemies from those who would normally be its strongest allies. Cases like the mistreatment of my daughter only encourage that intolerant and violent minority of extremists who are just as happy killing Muslims as anyone else. Just this week in Pakistan these people drove a truck bomb into a volleyball match killing at last count nearly one hundred people.
Your forefathers were bitterly wronged, which must give you a unique perspective on justice. I ask are you ready to say enough is enough, release this innocent soul?
Too often claims of national security are misused to protect individuals in government from being embarrassed or even punished for their mistakes. Is it fair to make Aafia pay for someone else's errors?
Madam, I request you to think as a mother, to look into my daughter's case personally and see for your self how she has been tortured and raped and video taped in New York. See for yourself how the judge has twisted justice. I ask you to meet with me, meet my family, make your own judgments, are we a terrorist family?
My daughter stands for love, peace and justice; she is a victim of terror not a terrorist.
May God give you the courage and wisdom to do the right thing, and save yourselves and your country from setting the cornerstones of injustice, discrimination and state terrorism. Thank you.
Mrs. Ismat Siddiqui