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Anti-Semitic Pakistani woman referenced by Texas synagogue hostage taker has degrees from MIT, Brandeis, once lived on Mission Hill

The Forward reports on the unusual educational background of Aafia Siddiqui, currently serving an 86-year term in a federal prison hospital in Ft. Worth, TX for shooting at American soldiers who had brought her in for questioning in Afghanistan.

A man who burst into a Texas synagogue on Saturday referred to her as he talked to negotiators. He freed one of his four hostages, then died after police entered the synagogue; police did not say if officers shot him or if he killed himself.

After graduating from MIT with a degree in biology in 1995, Siddiqui earned a PhD in 2001 from the Jewish-founded Brandeis University.

In between graduating MIT and starting at Brandeis, she married her husband, a Pakistani anesthesiologist, over the telephone. It was an arranged marriage, the two had never met.

Her husband got a job at Brigham and Women's Hospital and, after initially living in Lexington, they moved to a 20th-floor apartment at Back Bay Manor, an apartment building on St. Alphonsus Street, not far from the hospital - where her sister also had a neurology fellowship. In 2006, Boston Magazine interviewed her neighbors and a professor on her dissertation committee at Brandeis.

According to a court document filed by her defense lawyers - who asked for a sentence of 12 years due to her alleged mental illness - she left Boston shortly after 9/11, returned back to Boston briefly with their three children to live with her husband, whom she would divorce in 2002, then returned for good to Pakistan. Then she disappeared, and the US government announced she was a wanted terrorist. She was arrested in a Ghazni in Afghanistan in 2008 and brought in for questioning - where she allegedly grabbed a machine gun a soldier guarding her had put down and opened fire.

Her lawyers say her mental decline began in Boston and cite as proof her complaints that seemingly innocent occurrences, such as a water leak in her apartment, were due to anti-Muslim hatred directed at her. Also, they say, she abandoned her career in neuroscience to run a day care for her children and those of neighbors in her building and to collect and distribute copies of the Koran.

Prosecutors, however, charged she had become a ruthless terrorist out to kill Americans. The Forward says that in addition to hating Americans, she particularly grew to despise Jews, at one point during her court proceedings here trying to fire some of her lawyers because they had Jewish backgrounds and at another point demanding jurors be given DNA tests to ensure they had no Jewish blood.

Her sentence and continued imprisonment has caused protests by Pakistanis. On Oct. 21, 2021, al Jazeera reported, dozens of protesters:

Gathered outside the Pakistan Consulate in New York on Wednesday to decry Siddiqui’s situation and urge the Pakistani government to actively seek her immediate release and repatriate her.

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Will now be extrapolated into over-aching racist theories on geo-politics and other underlying nefarious schemes of completely unrelated sitting members of Congress.

Just another delightful morning in UHub.

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Where if you say you don't think schools should go to remote learning you will be called a "Trumpist"

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I know this site is very particular about its use of the word alleged but she was convicted of grabbing a US soldier’s gun. Therefore, the use of alleged is inappropriate here. It irked me that her Wikipedia page so deliberately uses alleged to describe her terrorism which she wasn’t tried for, it was clearly edited by a fan.

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I feel very acknowledged to have my comment recognized and the word alleged removed. I have two teenagers so feeling acknowledged is very important to me…

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If she wasn't tried for something, wouldn't "alleged" be used in most every style guide?

For what it's worth, many of us (myself included) who do court evaluations use alleged for instance when someone has been convicted of something but people interviewed and sources consulted aren't in agreement with what happened, while noting the conviction. The judicial system is hardly infallible.

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It is consistent with the Wikipedia Manual of Style and Biography of Living Person policy. She hasn't been convicted of terrorism so labeling her a terrorist would be inconsistent with the Manual and Policy.


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… can you also be married by text?

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Only if you say "I do" by emoji.

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