The sole woman on the FBI's list of seven suspected al Qaeda operatives is simply a loving mother who has disappeared to the dismay of her Pakistani family, according to her brother's attorney.
"The family says she's a mother of three who cares very much for her children, and they have no knowledge of any connection that she had al Qaeda or any terrorist activities and they're very concerned for her," said Annette Lamoreaux, the legal director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union. She is also the lawyer representing Siddiqui's brother, Mohammad Siddiqui.
Aafia Siddiqui, 32, is on the list of seven people wanted for questioning. The list was revealed after authorities apparently received a stream of credible intelligence reports pointing to a terror attack in the United States this summer.
See Their Faces
Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who received a biology degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and wrote a doctoral thesis on neurological sciences at Brandeis University, outside Boston, in 2001, returned to Pakistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to authorities.
Siddiqui, her husband and three children were together at the time, according to authorities. Her whereabouts have been a mystery since the FBI issued a global alert for her arrest for possible links to al Qaeda back in March 2004. She disappeared with her three small children, including an infant, and no one has reported hearing from her since then.
Lamoreaux says that Siddiqui felt that at times she was the victim of prejudice after Sept. 11, but Lamoreaux says she never expressed anger against the United States. The attorney says the woman's family is eager to help find Siddiqui.
"From the beginning, we helped to cooperate to find her," Lamoreaux said. "At that time she had disappeared and they had no idea where she was and still have no idea. I think at this point they would be happy if she were in custody of the FBI, because they would know she was alive and safe with her children." Meanwhile, U.S. authorities have not alleged that Siddiqui is a full-fledged member of al Qaeda, but the government believes she could help other operatives get things done in the United States.
Lamoreaux says Siddiqui, who is also known as "Ahmed the Tanzanian," according to the list released by the Justice Department, didn't have time to run errands for suspected terrorists while she was raising three children.
One of the things her family has continually said about Siddiqui is she would do anything for her children and she would sacrifice her life to protect them.
The other six suspects on the list are Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a Saudi native who used to live in South Florida; Adam Yahiye Gadahn, an American and former Christian; Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a native of the Comoros Republic; Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian who is under indictment for the 1998 U.S. Embassy attacks; Amer El-Maati, born in Kuwait and wanted by the FBI for questioning; and Abderraouf Jdey, a Tunisian who was among five men who left suicide messages on videotapes recovered in Afghanistan.
Gadahn is the only U.S. native among the seven and the only one whose name was first publicly disclosed Wednesday.