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27 Rabi al-Awwal 1443 AH - October 23 2022 Issue # 43, Newsletter #1990

News from Within the U.S.

Running Chicago for Aafia

By Nadrat Siddique
Special to the New Trend

October 9, 2022

Forty thousand (40,000) runners and I lined up to run the Chicago Marathon. It was my 49th marathon, and the eighth one I'd used to call for the freedom of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Running is all about freedom. Some people ride a motorcycle or drive a Corvette for the purpose. Others snort cocaine. Still others ski the Swiss Alps, or climb Mount Everest. I run for the elation, the ebullience, the high that comes with prolonged exertion.

In prison, there is no runner's high. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is held in a tiny prison cell in Fort Worth, Texas. She is barely allowed out on the yard one hour a day, let alone permitted to run. She is a diminutive figure, who even the CIA agents who saw her categorized as "stick thin." And she is accused of snatching a heavy duty assault rifle, an M-4, placed on the ground by a soldier at a U.S. army base in Afghanistan, and assaulting three big, burly U.S. servicemen. And if you believe that official U.S. government version, I have a bridge to sell you in California.

Lies and More Lies Against a Hafiza-e-Qur'an

If Aafia had shot at the servicemen, there would have been bullet casings at the scene. There were none. Aafia was the only person shot. In fact, she was shot three times in the stomach, and almost died from it, due to delayed or non-existent medical treatment.

Bullet casings aside, there were not even any proper bullet holes to tie Aafia to the case. Yes, there was a bullet hole in the wall where Aafia ostensibly fired at the soldiers. And yes, the prosecution did its best to attribute the bullet hole to Aafia's putative firing of the firearm. But the incident occurred in a fort, which is a secured building, and thus has video-monitoring. And- the video clearly shows the existence of the bullet hole in question—prior to Aafia's arrival at the fort.

But, the video was not available to the defense at the time of the trial, appeals of the verdict were (suspiciously) dropped by Aafia, and the 86-year sentence, which included a terror enhancement added by the judge (for a non-terror trial!), stuck. That's even though (excepting Aafia) not one person was killed or even injured. Talk about Kafkaesque.

The Real Victim of the Victimless "Crime"

Later on, while in prison, Aafia lost part of her intestine. And one of her kidneys was removed. When she appeared in court in New York, she was in a wheel chair. Her condition was resultant from the injuries sustained during her capture and detention, as well as the dearth of proper medical care. All of this was a clear violation of the Geneva Convention.

A Bit of Background About Me
(Skip to next section if you know me)

I am a Pakistani woman marathoner, one of very few. Leading up to today's race, I'd run 48 full marathons. Today would be Marathon #49. As far as I know, I hold the Pakistani women's record in terms of sheer numbers of full marathons run (keeping in mind that a marathon, by definition, is 26.2 miles or 42.16 km). And I may possibly hold the Pakistani women's time record for the event as well. According to the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP), the Pakistani record was set by one Sadia Parveen, who managed a 4:12 marathon finish at the Hong Kong Marathon in 2002. My PR (record) is 3:41, achieved in 2015 at the NCR Marathon (Maryland, USA).

Sidebar: Women and Athletics in Pakistan

Although women are starting to run more and more in Pakistan, there are tremendous obstacles. There are stray dogs in many areas, which make it physically dangerous. The heat is stifling much of the year in many regions, with temperatures up to 120 degrees not uncommon.

Then, too, community support for women running long distances is scant. The reason for this may be the long-held and misplaced view that distance running interferes with women's fecundity. And, since children are considered the greatest wealth of a community in many traditional cultures, anything interfering with conception is frowned upon. Hence I received many warnings early on to ease up on the running.

In addition to myths about running's interference with childbearing ability, Pakistani female athletes face far more serious obstacles. In the Land of the Pure, women runners risk everything from character assassination, heckling, groping, threats, intimidation and assault while running outdoors. And unfortunately, hijab is no protection, as I can personally attest. While this is purely anecdotal, I was assaulted by a man I'd never met while running in loose fitting shalwar-kameez and dupatta (head cover) in Pakistan. And I have heard similar stories from other female athletes in Pakistan. Many who persist in the sport resign themselves to indoor running at the gym. But this, too, is a limiting solution, because in a poor country with no Planet Fitness, and gym fees being beyond the reach of many ordinary Pakistani women, the gym is frequently the domain of Pakistani upper class women.

All of that to say: Recognizing the privilege of my circumstance, I don't think it fair to compare myself to Sadia Parveen or other athletes who have trained on Pakistani soil under extremely harsh conditions.

Why Run for Aafia?

I was in Chicago at my own expense. No one was paying me to run for Aafia. Nor was she a blood relative, despite the similarity in our surnames. I would gain neither fame nor fortune by running for a Pakistani Muslim woman political prisoner, unapologetic in her love for Islam, and who been labeled with the worst possible pejoratives. I ran for Aafia because I was absolutely certain of her innocence. But it was not all about Aafia. I ran in her name, too, because of what she symbolized: a completely innocent person rendered (kidnapped) by vicious security forces during the U.S. "War on Terror," her life shattered through no fault of her own.

Many Aafias

Hundreds of such innocents were kidnapped, including children. Many of these were captured in Pakistan, by the government of then-dictator Pervez Musharraf, a staunch U.S. ally. They were taken to Guantanamo Bay, frequently after detention and torture at one of seven U.S. black sites ("secret prisons"). Of the 779 prisoners originally held at Guantanamo, 734 were released or transferred, with even the CIA admitting that they were completely innocent. Tragically, nine of the detainees died in Guantanamo, never to return home to the families who waited for them day after day.

Following their ordeal, a few of the released detainees somehow found the courage to write their story. For example:


Their health, sanity, and sense of safety in the world destroyed, the Guantanamo detainees struggled to rebuild their lives. Some detainees, of Arab origin, were returned to Arab countries ruled by dictators. In these cases, the regime continued to hound and harass them, as the label of "terrorist" had been smeared on them. While the British government paid restitution to a small number of the detainees who were British citizens, in no case was restitution made by the United States to the former detainees for the illegal, lengthy detentions, separation from their families, and tortures endured. This was despite the fact that the "War on Terror," in the course of which the detainees (including Aafia Siddiqui) were captured, was instigated by the U.S.

A great book which powerfully documents the "War on Terror" and its terrible impact on Muslims is:

Race Day

It is race day, and I rise to say the fajr prayer. I don my "Free Dr. Aafia Siddiqui" tee, and grab the few essential items I laid out the night before: Power Bars, water bottle, gloves, hotel room key.

The starting line is two miles away from the downtown hotel where I'm staying. There's a free shuttle with a nearby pickup point, which could get me to the start, but I elect not to take it. I'm not a morning runner, and I need to wake my legs up, preferably before I'm surrounded by throngs of people. The streets are dark as I jog toward the start line. Luckily, I've walked the area in the previous days, and recognize various cross streets.

The race starts in Chicago's renowned Grant Park. This is a huge city park, spanning many blocks. Numerous side streets lead up to it. The race is so large that the organizers, to avoid complete pandemonium, have assigned each runner a specific side street from which to access the starting line. This is based on how fast the runner was in a previous marathon, which she documented on her Chicago marathon application. On her assigned street (which race organizers call a "gate") is the security checkpoint through which she—and all runners in her starting group—must pass. The runner must display her bib (race) number, which is unique to her. It is worn on the front of her shirt, and contains a timing device to record her exact start and finish time, which are later used to calculate her finish time. (This is done to ensure fairness, since, with 40,000 people running, everyone cannot possibly cross the start line at the same time.) Non-runners are not permitted into the area.

My assigned street is Ida B. Wells Drive. The symbolism does not escape me. My "gate' is named after an extremely prominent, fearless Black woman leader. Originally a teacher in segregated schools in the American South, she fought against lynchings and for black women's rights. And I am running for a Pakistani woman, Aafia, a brilliant orator, scholar, and visionary in her own right, who sought to revolutionize the Pakistani education system to benefit all Pakistani children, including those with autism and other learning disabilities—until she was kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence and handed over to the U.S. for torture.

My wave starts at 8:00 AM, one hour after the elites (professional athletes and other very fast runners). So, I wait, praying, stretching, observing.

The Race Starts

The race started, as usual, after the singing of the National Anthem. Unlike some of the marathons I've run, this city's mayor, Lori Lightfoot, did not come out to kick off the race. Perhaps it was just not a Chicago thing. Or it may have been that she, an openly gay woman who frequently leads Chicago's annual Pride (LGBTQ) Parade, was too busy with her wife?

As a middle of the pack marathoner, I view marathoning as an opportunity to see a new city on foot. It is very empowering, and often changes one's view of the city. In this case, I'd run Chicago twice previously, and had a general sense of the city's layout.

According to the organizers, the Chicago marathon traverses twenty-nine of the city's neighborhoods. Unlike some marathons, eg Baltimore and Washington, DC, which take runners through a variety of neighborhoods, including both affluent and downtrodden areas, the Chicago race seemed not very representative of the city. For example, it avoided large swathes of Chicago's South Side, reputed to be poor and crime-ridden. It did, however, provide interesting glimpses into Chicago's ethnic diversity.

For example, approximately 40% of Chicago's population is Latino, a fact I'd been completely unaware of prior to my first Chicago Marathon in 2018. And evidently, the Windy City is home to a very large population of Latino distance runners. On top of this, runners from all over Latin America converge on Chicago just to participate in the race. Accordingly, marathon coverage by the sports channels was provided in both English and Spanish, the Spanish language coverage by Telemundo. Latinos lined the roads all along the route to cheer on their family members who were running the marathon. Perhaps the largest group of these was near Mile 18. They were playing beautiful, energizing Spanish music, waving the flags of various Latin American countries, and chanting "Si se puede," and other words of encouragement entirely in Spanish. I noted with some amusement that they would yell out in Spanish not just to the Hispanic runners, but also to those who were clearly non-Hispanic.

As I ran, an old friend in Brownsville, TX, came to mind. He is a Mexican convert to Islam, and a long-time Aafia supporter. Prior to becoming seriously ill, he'd worked diligently to educate his community both about Islam, and about the Aafia case. His daughter, Aisha, frequently sported the "Free Dr. Aafia Siddiqui" tee distributed by our campaign several years ago. I also thought of Nahela Morales, a Latina convert and social justice activist with the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), who'd spoken passionately at a rally for Aafia outside of FMC Carswell (prison where Aafia is locked up), and then launched the "#IAmAafia" campaign, which reached thousands of people over social media.

I wondered if many Chicago-area Latinos were aware of Dr. Aafia's case. Given the xenophobia, racism, and sometimes extreme hate directed at them, could they relate to her experience at the hands of the U.S. government? Or were they more likely to swallow the government propaganda against her?

A few miles down the road, we ran under a gargantuan, ornate arch, and suddenly all of the signs were in Chinese. It was the famed Chinatown Arch. For some reason, perhaps because it occurs around Mile 22, by which time I am heavily fatigued, I didn't remember running under it during my previous two Chicago marathons. A member of my support team was there, and shouted words of encouragement to me. We ran through Chicago's Chinatown. A Chinese band, complete with traditional Chinese gong and other instruments, was playing. Chinese restaurants, furniture stores, acupuncture shops, and herbalists—abounded. We left Chinatown, and headed back toward downtown and Grant Park.

In the course of the approximately four hours I was running for Aafia, fellow marathoners would pass and gave me fist bumps, thumbs up, or verbal kudos. The last, and most emphatic of these was a young Caucasian female runner. "Yes, yes, free 'em all!" she said. She, like most of the other runners interacting with me during the race, was responding to the back of my shirt, which read "Free all political prisoners!"

I was aware that the front of my shirt, featuring a graphic of Dr. Aafia, and the words, "Free Dr. Aafia Siddiqui!" unfortunately, could not easily be read by other runners during the race. That is because it is a serious tripping hazard, to turn to read another runner's shirt in such a large crowd. However, the message was visible to spectators. These lined every road we ran. And the shirt, with its message, was visible to other runners during the lengthy waiting period to start the race, as well as during the rest period afterwards, when exhausted runners who had completed the marathon lounged about the "Recovery Area" reserved for them in Grant Park.

All along the course, spectators held their national flags. I recognized those of India, Mexico, Canada, Britain, France, Norway, Spain, Italy, and many other countries. But there were no Pakistani flags. And certainly no "Free Aafia" placards. It was late in the race, and I was starting to get tired. I turned a corner, and saw a group of spectators holding a large Palestinian flag. Several of them were also wearing kaffiyahs (traditional Palestinian scarves). They were there to cheer on the runners from Team Palestine, which participates in the Chicago Marathon each year, to raise funds for the Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF). As they had their eyes peeled for their own team mates who were running (ie Palestinians), and I was still moving pretty quickly, they didn't see me at first. As I went past, I yelled as loud as I could "Viva Viva Palestina!" And they smiled and raised their fists. I have no idea why I yelled out in Spanish. But, it gave me a much needed surge of energy, which propelled me across the finish line a few miles away.

As one crosses a marathon finish line, one encounters a battery of volunteers. The first set of these give the runner water. The next one puts a finisher medal around the runner's neck. The next volunteer places a heat shield (tin-like blanket) around the runner. I had been noticing all along the course that there were numerous volunteers of Pakistani appearance. Then, after I crossed the finish line, I encountered the volunteers (a different group) giving out finisher medals. A Caucasian male volunteer handed me a medal. I ordinarily don't allow the medal to be placed around my neck, as do most runners, as I think it will obstruct the message of the Aafia shirt. The man congratulated me. Standing right next to him was a young Pakistani man. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Great job! And by the way, I support your cause. Free Aafia Siddiqui!"

It was my third time running the Chicago Marathon, and the slowest of the three. My times were 4:04 in 2018; 4:18 in 2019; and 4:22 this year (2022). So, perhaps I was slowing down with old age. Or not. Either way I could see the movement to free Aafia growing on many different fronts. And I was sure that the youth, who naturally gravitate to justice, would take the lead.

© 2022 Nadrat Siddique
 Running Chicago for Aafia

Political Prisoners :

Civil Discord Show


Widespread arrests in Bangladesh.

OCT 10, 2022, [Straits Times]

DHAKA - Thousands of party activists in Bangladesh have been hit with "fake" charges of violence in a widespread crackdown by the authorities, the opposition said on Monday as an international rights group expressed concern.

Opponents of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina - whose government faces a general election next year and is accused of rights abuses - have held protests across the country in recent months over power cuts and demanding a poll under a neutral caretaker government.
Some of the demonstrations have been marred by violence.

War News


Heavy tribal fighting is reported from Chad and Southern Sudan. Big losses but no details.


October 22

Three Assad soldiers were killed in clashes with Islamic group Fath al-Mubeen. Assad troops opened heavy artillery fire. [Idlib frontline,]

Daraa province : Two soldiers who had reconciled with Assad regime were killed.

Israel fired several missiles at Damascus airport but most were shot down by regime defenses.

Disease is widespread in refugee camps.

Tribal clashes are frequent,

Guidance by Sr. Yasmine

'As-Salaam Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Barakatuhu'.

We get so scared sometimes,
afraid of all that can go wrong.
all that can be lost.
but in our debilitating fear, we lose focus.
we see the sickness, but not the cure.
The storm, but not the shelter.
Yes, there are armies and Red Seas.
Yes, there are flames.

But remember, the sickness, the storm,
the fire, the armies and the sea,
are all creations in the hands of the Sovereign.

He saved Ayyub (A.S.) from the sickness,
Nuh (A.S.) from the storm,
Ibrahim (A.S.) from the flames,
and Musa (A.S.) from the armies and the Sea.
It wasn't that they didn't face these hardships.
They did...!
They were surrounded by them.
But Allah kept them safe,
even while in the belly of the calamity.
our focus is wrong.
We fear the storm...
because we don't see the Shelter.
we fear the Red Sea...
because we don't see
the One who can split it in two...!
It is not the storm we should fear
but the distance from Shelter.
'Subhanak Allaahuma wa bihamdika Ash-hadu anlaa illaaha illa anta
Astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk'.

[Exalted and Glorified is my Lord (ALLAH) and all prayers and praises are due to HIM (alone)
and I bear witness that there is no other Lord or God except YOU (ALLAH)
I seek your forgiveness and I repent unto YOU...
[Allah Humma 'Aameen']


...My 'Salaams' to all...
~Y a s m i n ~

"Never Despair Of The Mercy Of Allah"

Say, 'Indeed, my Prayer, my Rites of Sacrifice,
my Living and my Dying are for ALLAH, Lord of the Worlds'.
{'Qur`an'~Surat Al-'An`am -# 6-162.}



Malala Sneaking Support for Transgender into Pakistan

Most Muslims dont known this, as MSN reports:
Malala Yousafzai, who heads her own film and TV production company, Extracurricular Productions, is joining "Joyland," Pakistan's Oscar submission in the international feature category, as an executive producer.

What is the movie about?:
The tale of sexual revolt sees a patriarchal family yearn for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls for an ambitious transsexual starlet.

Yousafzai said: "I am incredibly proud to support a film that proves Pakistani artists are among the best in global cinema. 'Joyland' invites us to open our eyes to the people closest to us — to see our family members and friends as they are, not colored by our own expectations or societal bias."

After the Catastrophic Floods
Volunteers are hard at Work

Pravalli Welfare Trust.
Flood Relief
Update 17 Oct 2022

We have divided support to flood effected folks in three phases. Since first phase is almost over, therefore, it goes to end of this progress report.
Phase 2
.....payment of Rs 25000.
Rs 25000 have been paid to 488 families so far, whose houses were damaged. 20 more families will be paid by the end of this month. Photos of distribution with donor names on it are shared with donors.
Phase 3
.....In third phase we are building houses for widows and poor folks. We have started work on 25 such houses in 6 different Tehsil of Baluchistan, Sind and DG Khan+ Rajan Pur in Punjab. These will be bricks / blocks houses, instead of old mud houses, for protection against floods. Donors will be sent step by step progress on these houses. Each 10x18 feet room with open kitchen will cost around Rs. 165,000 Same is being done in Sind where water has receded.

Phase 1
.... Rs 5000 being given for immediate relief to buy thing they need + tent + mosquito nets+ food packages + Temporary Toilets.
In that 826 families were given Rs 5000 each to meat immediate needs in Balochistan, Sind and Punjab. Photos of distribution with donor name on it are shared with the donors.
In addition 960 food pkgs were distributed.
149 tents and 200 mosquito nets distributed.
One medical camp held.
3 temporary toilets made

This was not my money. Cooperation and support of our worthy donors has made all this possible. Thank you very much.
Jazak Allah khair.
--Col Mushtaq Ahmad (R)


Why Israel?

Owing to the Balfour Declaration [November 2, 1917] and the allied victory against Germany in 1945, Israel was created as a bastion of the West in the heartland of Islam.

Palestinians were victims of genocide. Today they live in refugee camps and tiny strips of Palestine known as Gaza and the West Bank.

Supporters of Israel control key positions in America and the western powers. Israel has been turned into the most powerful military force in the Middle East.
Islam does not allow Muslims to let anyone take over a Muslim country and keep it.
Israel has no right to be there. However until a Muslim hero like Salahuddin turns up, Israel will retain its power in occupied Palestine. Erdogan could have been the liberator but turned out to be another clever politician.

The west is cleverly giving us the sop of a two-state solution.
Muslims must learn that Israelis have to return where they came from.

Don't be fooled. All of Palestine belongs to the Palestinians.
[Kaukab Siddique.]

[Churchill's role in the creation of Israel is most important. Churchill's official biographer, Martin Gilbert, sums it up:
"Winston Churchill's commitment to Jewish rights, to Zionism, and ultimately to the State of Israel never wavered." [ Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship. Published in 2007.]

Jamaat Al-Muslimeen News

Jamaat Al-Muslimeen's National Shoora
by Zoom held on October 23

One of the longest standing Muslim organizations in North America, Jamaat Al-Muslimeen, held its National Shoora by Zoom on the topic "Oppression of Muslims in
India and Africa," on October 23.

The chairperson was Br. Salahuddin Abdullah

Dr. Firoz Kamal addressed the question "What is Hindutva?" Br. Shoaib Qureshi spoke on Hindutva in the UK.

Sis. Khadija Latavia spoke on "How to help prisoners." Sis. Ashira Naim spoke on "Children in Ethiopia."

Comments and resolutions were offered by the Jamaat Al-Muslimeen Ameeer, Dr. Kaukab Siddique.

Book Review

Nuremberg: The Last Battle

By David Irving

Using the unpublished diaries and papers of the principal actors David Irving takes a close-quarters look at the trial which finally ended World War Two.

There would be few crimes listed in the indictment at Nuremberg of which one or other of the four prosecuting powers was not guilty of itself.

In the cause of defeating Adolf Hitler, civilian populations had been burned and blasted, murdered, brutalised, intimidated, deported, and enslaved; aggressive wars had been launched, neutral countries occupied by pretext and deceit, and the unalterable paragraphs of international conventions flagrantly violated.


Ethiopians Given TPS

21 Oct 2022

Ethiopians living in the United States will get work permits and be shielded from deportation for 18 months, the Biden administration has announced, as the African nation is embroiled in a deadly armed conflict.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Friday that it was extending what's known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Ethiopians due to the "extraordinary and temporary conditions" that make it too dangerous for them to return to their country safely.

2022-10-28 Fri 14:12:33 ct