Shortly before Aafia Siddiqui was convicted on 3 February, the magazine Nawai Afghan jihad published an article about the Siddiqui case. In the article, entitled “Rescuing the Prisoners”, a certain Umm Hamam writes about Muslims around the world who have been imprisoned by “infidels”.
Previously, numerous references have been made to the Aafia Siddiqui case by different jihadi groups, including Jaish-e-Mohammad on their weekly online magazine, Al-Qalam. The “arrest/torture of our innocent, Muslim sister by the infidel” rhetoric plays on the honor code and anti-western sentiments of young Pakistani men whom militant leaders aim to attract and recruit. Siddiqui was brought up again in a recent joint interview by Hakimullah Mehsud and Wali-ur-Rehman in October 2009; the video ended with the question “who will rescue our sister Dr Aafia Siddiqui from these Christian barbarians?” That the new TTP leadership continues to use Siddiqui as subject matter to appeal to their audience shows the extent of her importance to the Pakistani jihadi propaganda mill.
In “Rescuing the Prisoners” Hamam builds on this propaganda by talking about the “thousands of Muslim sons and daughters rotting in infidel jails,” including Palestinians, Uzbeks, Russians and Pakistanis, and the religious duty of Muslims to save these prisoners.
Excerpts from the Quran and Hadith are used to this end; the Prophet Mohammad has apparently given unequivocal importance to this order when he stated that “whosoever rescues a prisoner from the infidel, I become that prisoner.” Further, “if a Muslim woman is arrested in the east, it is the duty of every Muslim in the west to save her.”
The author singles out Aafia Siddiqui, who has “her hopes hitched on us Muslims now.” Examples are given of “Fatima and Noor” who in their letters from Abu Ghraib prison claimed: “every day 10 U.S. soldiers assault/abuse us at one time.”
The author ends by appealing to all Muslims to pursue jihad until “all Muslims brothers and sisters have been rescued from infidel jails, Muslims territories have been returned to us, countries who have shamed us have been avenged, and the name of Allah has been raised high throughout the world. “