The Islamic State wants the U.S. to free a brain scientist: Who is she?

Before killing American journalist James Foley, members of the Islamic State demanded the release of a Pakistani scientist now serving a sentence for attempted murder in a U.S. prison, The Telegraph reports. Aafia Siddiqui, who earned an undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a 2001 doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University, was arrested in Afghanistan in 2008—she reportedly had documents on attacking Americans with dirty bombs, chemical weapons, and viruses—and later charged with attempting to murder Americans who were questioning her about alleged terrorist activities. “[I]n Pakistan and Afghanistan, she is seen as an Islamic ‘damsel in distress’ who has been persecuted for her faith,” writes The Telegraph’s Dean Nelson.

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