Dubai: Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri
on Thursday called on Muslims to avenge the sentencing of Aafia
Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist jailed for 86 years by a US
court, the SITE monitoring service said.
Zawahiri made the appeal in an audio message entitled
"Who Will Avenge the Scientist Aafia Siddiqui," which was
released on jihadist forums, the US-based SITE Intelligence
He promised "to attack ... (Americans) as long as they
attack" Muslims and said "the ummah (Islamic nation) will not
stop pursuing you."
And Zawahiri told Pakistanis their "government humiliated
them by letting the Americans and Crusaders occupy the
He called for them to "take the only available path, that
of jihad ... which will liberate Aafia Siddiqui."
On September 23, a New York court jailed Siddiqui, 38,
for the attempted murder of US servicemen in Afghanistan, in a
high-profile case sparking outrage in Pakistan.
Siddiqui, a mother of three, was found guilty of grabbing
a rifle at a police station in the Afghan town of Ghazni where
she was being interrogated in July 2008 and of trying to gun
down a group of US servicemen and FBI agents.
Prosecutors said she opened fire, shouting "death to
She did not hit anyone and was herself shot in the
stomach before being subdued.
While she was not charged with terrorism, Siddiqui was
alleged to have been carrying dangerous chemicals in Karachi
and documents referring to New York landmarks, like the Empire
State Building, as targets.
The terrorism aspect of the case was cited by presiding
Judge Richard Berman as cause for enhancing the usual
punishment for attempted murder into what could effectively
amount to a life sentence.
Siddiqui, a neuroscientist who trained at the prestigious
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University,
repeatedly pleaded in court for Muslims to stay calm.
"Forgive everybody in my case, please ... And also
forgive Judge Berman," she said.
Zawahiri`s last message was in July, when he denounced
France`s move to ban women from wearing the Islamic face veil