To its shame, Harper Collins has published a new book about the supposedly "parallel lives" of al-Qaeda terrorist Aafia Siddiqui and my friend Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of the world's most powerful voices for women's freedom.
You can read a summary of the career of Aafia Siddiqui on the New York Times web site:
"Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, was sentenced to 86 years in September 2010 for trying to kill American soldiers and F.B.I. agents in 2008 while in custody at a police station in Afghanistan. The case of Ms. Siddiqui had attracted wide attention, particularly in Pakistan, where she was widely portrayed as a heroine.
Although Ms. Siddiqui’s lawyers requested a sentence of 12 years, federal prosecutors pressed for life imprisonment. The judge, Richard M. Berman, said “significant incarceration” was called for, and he expressed concern about the likelihood of recidivism and difficulty of rehabilitation for the defendant.
In 2004, Ms. Siddiqui was described by Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the F.B.I., as “an Al-Qaeda operative and facilitator.” And an indictment charged that when she was arrested in 2008 in Ghazni, Afghanistan, she was carrying instructions on making explosives and a list of New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building."
When at last apprehended, Siddiqui was carrying a jar containing two pounds of a deadly poison, sodium cyanide. The 9/11 Commission identified her as one of the team that negotiated just before the 9/11 attacks the purchase of $19 million of Liberian blood diamonds as assets to finance future al Qaeda operations.
There would not seem to be much of a parallel between the life of a great writer and a terrorist gang member.
I came across this on p. 487:
"Ayaan's sweeping criticisms of Islam and Muslims led her to be threatened and her collaborator, Theo van Gogh, murdered. The help that Aafia gave al-Qaeda and, more particularly, Khalid SHeikh Muhammed and his family, led the United States to hunt her in its shadowy war against jihad. And despite the muddiness of the truth each woman came to be seen by her camp as a pure victim who embodied everything that was wrong with the other side."
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who spent years in hiding from would-be assassins: not a pure victim.
Aafi Siddiqui, who spent years attempting to carry out mass murder: also not a pure victim.