British Pro-ISIS Preacher Anjem Choudary Uses Texas Synagogue Hostage Incident As Opportunity To Launch New Twitter Storm Demanding Release Of Aafia Siddiqui

January 17, 2022

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On January 16, 2022, British pro-Islamic State (ISIS) preacher Anjem Choudary published a "press release" on his blog calling for a second Twitter storm to demand the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist linked to Al-Qaeda who is incarcerated in the U.S. on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Choudary had previously organized a Twitter storm on September 17, 2021, and the text of the new press release, with some additions and subtractions, is very similar to the one he published in September.[1]

Above is part of the text of the recent press release published on Choudary's blog.

The case of Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently serving an 86-year prison sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, returned to the public eye on January 15, 2022, when an armed man entered Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, during Sabbath prayers, took four people hostage, including the rabbi, and demanded the release of his "sister," Aafia Siddiqui. His demand led to initial false reports that the gunman was her biological brother, Muhammad Siddiqui.[3] However, on January 16, the FBI confirmed the gunman's identity as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British national from Blackburn, England, and reported that he had been shot to death by an FBI Hostage Rescue Team.[4] All the hostages were released safely on Saturday night.

In his press statement, dated January 16, 2022, Choudary writes: "Given today’s news of the hostage situation in Texas and the recent withdrawal of U.S. troops, now is the perfect time for America to draw a line under the atrocities it has committed in Afghanistan. This includes freedom for our innocent sister Aafia Siddiqui and the release of all the remaining Muslim captives in Guantanamo Bay." Using the hashtags #free_sister_aafia and #FreeTheAseer (prisoner), he calls for a new coordinated Twitter storm on January 21, 2022, to demand Siddiqui's release. Choudary set the time for the Twitter storm at 5 pm in New York, which corresponds to 10 pm in London; 1 am on January 22 in Istanbul, Turkey and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 3 am on January 22 in Karachi, Pakistan; and 9 am on January 22 in Sydney, Australia.

Choudary was arrested in the UK on terrorism charges in 2016 and released in 2018. Upon his release, he was temporarily banned from public speaking and the use of social media. Soon after the ban expired in August 2021, Choudary returned to social media.[5] Since then, he has organized multiple Twitter storms calling for the release of Islamic clerics and other Muslims imprisoned on terrorism charges in the UK, the U.S., Belgium, Australia, Lebanon, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia, including Mullah Krekar, Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Abdullah Al-Faisal, and others.[6] It is also likely that Choudary is affiliated with a new English-language magazine, Al-Aseer (The Prisoner), which campaigns to free Muslims imprisoned on terrorism charges and has been endorsed by pro-ISIS Telegram channels.[7]




[3], January 17, 2022.

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