The forum held at the East Plano Islamic Center on December 16th, was, for me, the first real indication that the international campaign to free Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has finally achieved a firm foothold in the state where she has been wrongfully imprisoned for well over a decade; an occurrence that is long overdue. It was convened by CAIR and the EPIC Masjid.
It is important to note that the forum did not take place in a vacuum. It’s a critically important part of a struggle that was years in the making. A struggle that began with the first community forum for Aafia Siddiqui in the Dallas-Fort Worth area at the Islamic Center of Irving.
The special guest of honor was the late [former US Attorney General] Ramsey Clark. It was during this visit – which also featured a protest demonstration in front of the US Federal Court in downtown Fort Worth – that this respected human rights warrior described Aafia’s case as “the worse case of individual injustice I have ever witnessed.”
Around the same time we had a forum for Aafia at the Islamic Association of Tarrant County, in Fort Worth; which also played a critical role in helping us build an awareness campaign in the DFW area.
Then there was a weekend conference organized by non-Muslim community activists and students from around the US, who convened an anti-imprisonment conference at one of the area colleges. (If I remember correctly it was Texas A&M). I was invited to come and speak about Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. This was followed by a decision (made by the organizers at the conclusion of the conference) to hold a protest demonstration for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and the other female prisoners outside the base where she is being held. The show of support was amazing!
The next pivotal moment for the North Texas Muslim community came about three years ago, when a community forum was held at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center. Prior to this, what hindered our progress most over the years were two things: the lack of a consistent presence in Texas; and the fear, or indifference, within most of the “Lone Star States” Muslim leadership class. (Not to mention the venal behind the scenes opposition from certain parts of the Pakistani community.)
By the grace of Allahthere has now been a major breakthrough on both fronts. In the wake of The Aafia Foundation led “Five City Mobilization” (which began in Texas and ended in Washington, DC), CAIR-DFW working in tandem with the law office of Marwa Elbially, has declared its permanent embrace of the Free Aafia campaign.
Shaykh Dr. Omar Suleiman majestically broke the spell of fear that gripped the DFW Muslim leadership class in September, when he delivered his powerful speech to hundreds of supporters outside the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base – where Aafia has been imprisoned in an institution known as FMC Carswell.
This has now been followed by an equally impressive address delivered by Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi at the East Plano Islamic Center on the evening of December 16th. It does indeed appear that the spell has now been broken.
A special note of thanks is due to the committed men and women (Muslim and non-Muslim) – north, south, east and west – who’s concern, sacrifices, and support over the years kept the fire for Aafia’s freedom from being extinguished in America.
Have we now turned the most difficult corner in this long arduous campaign? Time will tell. Surely Allah knows best.
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Source: Muslim Matters