by Kaveh Waddell, National Journal
Before Islamic militants brutally executed an American journalist last week, they issued a series of demands. Alongside a ransom—more than $130 million—the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria wanted a number of prisoners freed from U.S. custody. One of them was Aafia Siddiqui, whose name came up again in a list of demands ISIS released Tuesday in connection to a second American hostage in its custody.
That second captive is a 26-year-old American woman who was kidnapped while doing humanitarian aid work in Syria last year. In return for her freedom, ISIS is demanding a $6.6 million ransom, along with Siddiqui’s release.
Just who is Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani woman whose freedom makes the list of demands from one of the most extreme militant groups in the world?
Siddiqui has been called many things: “Most wanted” by the U.S. government in 2004 and “Al-Qaida Mom” by The New York Post soon thereafter, “the most important catch in five years” by a CIA operative after she was apprehended, and a “widely respected” Muslim and humanitarian by the Peace Through Justice Foundation, an advocacy group campaigning for Siddiqui’s release.