Below is the full text of the Associate Press report on Aafia Siddiqui’s arrest in late March of 2003
Associated Press: Woman Accused of al-Qaida Ties Held
By CURT ANDERSON Associated Press Writer
April, 22, 2003
A former Boston woman sought by the FBI for questioning about possible ties to the al-Qaida terror network is in custody in Pakistan, U.S. law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Aafia Siddiqui, 31, was detained by Pakistani authorities in the past few days and was being interrogated at an undisclosed location. She originally is from Pakistan.
The FBI in March put out a global alert for Siddiqui, who has a biology degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and wrote a doctoral thesis on neurological sciences at Brandeis University in 2001. She also visited the Maryland suburbs near Washington in December or January, officials say.
It was the first time an FBI bulletin sought a woman since the war against terror began, officials have said.
Authorities have not charged that Siddiqui is a member of al-Qaida but believe she could be a “fixer,” someone with knowledge of the United States who can support and help get things done for other operatives. She is not charged with any crime in the United States.
The FBI also is seeking to question Siddiqui’s estranged husband, Dr. Mohammed Khan. His whereabouts are unknown.
Alerts for Siddiqui and Khan followed the FBI’s announcement last month of a worldwide search for Adnan El Shukrijumah, a 27-year-old Saudi native nicknamed “Jafar the Pilot.” He lived for a number of years in South Florida and authorities believe he is an al-Qaida operative who may have been planning new attacks. His family denies any terrorist ties and he also has not been located.
During Siddiqui’s years in Boston, neighbors and acquaintances remember her as a dedicated student who also spent much of her time preaching the Muslim faith. Politics did not seem to interest her, they said.
Siddiqui is listed on an Internet site maintained by an umbrella group of Muslim student organizations as one author of a guide on how to run a successful association, including how to distribute religious information.
In 1999, Siddiqui formed the nonprofit Institute of Islamic Research and Teaching Inc., which had offices in a mosque in Roxbury, Mass. She was the institute’s president and her husband its treasurer, records show.