By: Qaanitah Hunter (Cii Broadcasting)
In its continuing efforts to advocate for the plight of the oppressed worldwide, International Satellite Radio Broadcaster Channel Islam International(Cii) recently marked the official launch of the Free Aafia Campaign in South Africa.
The campaign seeks to mobilise the community and create awareness around the case of the Pakistani neurosurgeon Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who disappeared mysteriously from Pakistan in 2003 and was subsequently re-arrested in Afghanistan and extradited and sentenced in the United States.
This February, Cii will be hosting Dr Aafia’s sister, on a nationwide awareness and speaking tour. The highly qualified Dr. Fawzia Siddiqui, a consultant neurologist, neurophysiologist and epileptologist will address audiences and network with social justice and women’s forums across the country the 17th – 23rd February 2012.
A prominent theme of the visit will be to seek justice and freedom for the woman also known as “The grey lady of Bagram,” stemming from her alleged torture for five years in the notorious American-Afghan prison.
During her trial in the US, Aafia alluded to being raped, tortured in secret prisons, and having her children harmed. She was finally sentenced under questionable grounds in 2010, to 86 years in prison, on 5 counts, making her eligible for release in 2094. She would be 122 years old at the time of her release, if she remains alive at that time. The campaign is being spearheaded by Cii Presenter, Inayet Wadee.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Wadee appealed to listeners to keep in mind the saying of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH): “The ummah is like one body, if one part of the body is in pain, the entire body pains.”
Dr Fauzia will arrive in South Africa on the 16th or 17th of February.
“We have a tentative schedule drawn up for Dr Fauzia Siddiqui. There are two official Cii dinners earmarked in anticipation of Dr Fauzia’s arrival,” Wadee said.
The first dinner will take place in Lenasia on the evening of the 17th February 2012. Wadee added that another dinner will be held the next dayat the NMJ Islamic Centre in Durban. “We have also arranged a program in Pietermaritzburg for our listeners in the midlands area,” he said. DrFauzia will be meeting with a group called Free Muslim Prisoners and other Muslim organizations on her return to Johannesburg.
“She will also meet prominent political groupings like the ANC Women’s League,” Wadee added. Other engagements will be press conferences and meeting with members of the media. “Finalizations of all programs and events will be posted on the dedicated page for Aafia on the Cii website,” he explained.
According to Wadee, there would be two other initiatives that will be running concurrently with the Free Aafia Campaign.
The first is a poetry initiative in honour of the tortured prisoner #650, Dr Aafia Siddiqui. Learners are urged to write poetry in support and honour of Dr Aafia.
“Two winners, from Durban and Johannesburg, of this poetry initiative will have the opportunity to render their poetry at the Cii dinners,” Wadee said. He urged parents to encourage their children to write and commemorate the honour of this oppressed lady.
The second initiative includes the distribution of four wheelchairs. “Brother Arshad Latiff was kind enough to sponsor four wheelchairs with the Free Aafia logo branded on it,” Wadee said. The wheelchairs will be distributed to four deserving individuals.
The public are encouraged to send their messages of support to the campaign’s dedicated SMS number, 32414, prefixed with the word ‘aafia.’ They could also email firstname.lastname@example.orgWadee urged members of the community to come forward and assist in facilitating the campaign towards securing the freedom of Dr Aafia.
For further information, or to be part of any of the planned activities in your area, contact Inayet Wadee on 082 909 3366