By SHAISTA ABDULLAH
Yet, there was a lurking anticipation – Johannesburg was going to witness a rally at the US embassy! Nine years ago, on the 29th of March, an innocent victim of circumstances, Dr Aafia Siddiqui along with her three children, was mysteriously abducted from Karachi, Pakistan. Today, she languishes in a US jail sentenced to an 86 year prison term for a crime she did not commit.
Humanitarians across the globe joined hands to protest against this injustice and to raise their voices to ask for Aafia’s release. Muslims from all over Johannesburg gathered at the Sandton City prayer area: to offer Friday prayers in congregation. Everyone prayed in unison, “O Allah, let our efforts be successful and let Aafia come home”.
They moved in a disciplined manner to the US consulate located in downtown Sandton, and took up the designated area around the consulate. The crowd was dominated by women and children: all donned with beautiful purple scarves – Aafia’s favourite colour. They were holding white roses – symbolising peace and unity. The message was clear – “we come in peace and want our sister Dr Aafia reunited with her family”.
The air resounded with vibrant chants of “Allahu Akbar”, and “Free Aafia”. The emotional under currents were electric as the Muslim Ummah joined hands, and the busy Sandton intersection was transformed into a human fortress. When Brother Inayat Wadee read out the memorandum to be handed to the United States Consulate, there wasn’t a dry eye as the crowd relived Aafia’s pain and suffering over 9 long years – wishing and praying for one thing, and one thing only! “Oh Allah, grant Aafia release so she can re-unite with her family”
The crowd then went into a frenzy as 650 balloons symbolising Aafia’s prison number, and nine beautiful white doves to commemorate the years of her incarceration were released into the Sandton skyline. Magically, the overcast sky made way for vibrant sunshine – symbolic of hope and energy: that Aafia will indeed be free, and returned to her loved ones.
We remind ourselves of the following versus from the Noble Quran:
“Then after the distress, He sent down security for you” 3:154
“Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, BE and it is” 36:82