TEXAS- The legal counsel of Muhammad Siddiqui, brother of Aafiya Siddiqui, have blamed “sloppy journalism and bias” for him being wrongfully identified as a British Muslim man who held four hostages in a Texan synagogue.
Speaking to Salaamedia, president of the Aafiya Foundation El-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan claimed that Muhammad Siddiqui’s name was only attached to the attacker simply because the perpetrator mentioned Aafiya Siddiqui.
“When this individual referenced his wanting to speak with his sister, wanting to secure the release or be united with his sister, they were more than happy, just on the basis of that phraseology alone, just come to the conclusion that this was the blood brother of Aafiya Siddiqui.”
Although the situation was unfortunate, Saalakhan accepted that this was a blessing in disguise and can be used to put pressure on the governments.
“This is an opportunity for us to really really take advantage of this moment and exert pressure on two governments; the US government because she is here and an unwanted prisoner and also put pressure on the Pakistani government because she is a Pakistani citizen.”
Four people were held hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville near Dallas, Texas, and were eventually freed unharmed. The 10-hour siege began at around 11:00 local time (16:00 GMT) on Saturday.
Saalakhan explained that when the news first reached him, he was advised not to call Siddiqui, but he was very certain that it could not have been him.
“Knowing the man Muhammad Siddiqui is, I was so convinced that it wasn’t him. It was completely out of character and there was no reluctance to make that call and I was so happy that I made that call.”
Saalakhan claimed that the perpetrator was mentally ill but also questioned as to what could have caused him to take such drastic actions.
“Clearly this is an individual that was mentally unbalance. I saw a report that the family indicated that he had mental health issues for quite some time…. The family has said he was known to be mentally ill. You wonder what was the trigger then that caused him to make this decision to travel all that distance, form the United Kingdom to the US with the intention to connect with Aafiya Siddiqui.”
Julie Alli spoke to El-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan, president of the Aafiya Foundation, on News & Views. Listen to the full discussion here: