Asia Siddiqui

Asia Siddiqui is a U.S. citizen and an alleged ISIS-inspired homegrown extremist from Queens, New York.Elizabeth Whitman, “How Noelle Velentzas, Asia Siddiqui Were Arrested For Allegedly Conspiring In Terror Attack: New York Women Foiled By Undercover Agent,” International Business Times, April 2, 2015, http://www.ibtimes.com/how-noelle-velentzas-asia-siddiqui-were-arrested-allegedly-conspiring-terror-attack-1868472. On April 2, 2015, the FBI arrested Siddiqui along with her friend and accomplice, Noelle Velentzas.“Two Queens Residents Charged with Conspiracy to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, April 2, 2015, https://www.fbi.gov/newyork/press-releases/2015/two-queens-residents-charged-with-conspiracy-to-use-a-weapon-of-mass-destruction. Both women were charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons or property in the United Sates,“Two Queens Residents Charged with Conspiracy to Use a Weapon of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, April 2, 2015, https://www.fbi.gov/newyork/press-releases/2015/two-queens-residents-charged-with-conspiracy-to-use-a-weapon-of-mass-destruction. and initially pleaded not guilty.Christie Smythe, “New York Women Plead Not Guilty in Jihadist Bomb-Plot Case,” Bloomberg, May 7, 2015, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-07/new-york-women-plead-not-guilty-in-jihadist-bomb-plot-case. Siddiqui and Velentzas pleaded guilty on August 23, 2019.“Two Queens Women Plead Guilty in Connection with Plan to Build Explosive Devices Similar to Those Used in Prior Terrorist Attacks in the United States,” U.S Department of Justice – Office of Public Affairs, August 23, 2019, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-queens-women-plead-guilty-connection-plan-build-explosive-devices-similar-those-used. Siddiqui was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on January 9, 2020,“Queens Woman Sentenced to 15 Years’ Imprisonment for Teaching and Distributing Information About Weapons of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Public Affairs, January 9, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/queens-woman-sentenced-15-years-imprisonment-teaching-and-distributing-information-about. while Velentzas was sentenced to 16 ½ years on June 16, 2021.“Woman Sentenced to 198 Months in Prison for Teaching and Distributing Information About Weapons of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 16, 2021, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/woman-sentenced-198-months-prison-teaching-and-distributing-information-about-weapons-mass.

Between August 2014 and April 2015, Velentzas and Siddiqui met with an undercover agent whom the two women believed to be a fellow jihadist.Elizabeth Whitman, “How Noelle Velentzas, Asia Siddiqui Were Arrested For Allegedly Conspiring In Terror Attack: New York Women Foiled By Undercover Agent,” International Business Times, April 2, 2015, http://www.ibtimes.com/how-noelle-velentzas-asia-siddiqui-were-arrested-allegedly-conspiring-terror-attack-1868472. During this time, the women allegedly educated themselves on how to build explosives, and collected potential bomb-building supplies from stores such as Home Depot.“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, April 1, 2015, https://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/velentzas-complaint.pdf. The evidence for the case against the women included objects found in their apartments, allegedly including a propane gas tanks, soldering tools, pipes, a pressure cooker, fertilizer, flux, machetes, daggers, and bomb recipes.Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry Mcshane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” New York Daily News, April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174. Authorities suspect they were planning to attack policemen and a heavily populated funeral for a police officer.Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry Mcshane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” New York Daily News, April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174.

Siddiqui’s neighbors, family, and imam seemed surprised by the women’s arrest.John Asbury, Alison Fox, and Zachary R. Dowdy, “Bomb suspects Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui described as devout Muslims with no hint of extreme leanings,” Newsday, April 2, 2015, http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/noelle-velentzas-asia-siddiqui-bomb-suspects-described-as-devoted-to-islam-family-1.10185012. Neighbor David Isaac stated, “I’ve seen the two of them together. Nothing extremist or nothing, nothing about ISIS or none of that, no propaganda. If they were doing it, they were doing it on the down low.”Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry Mcshane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” New York Daily News, April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174.

According to the criminal complaint, Siddiqui has a violent history despite her innocent facade.Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry Mcshane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” New York Daily News, April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174. Authorities allege Siddiqui had been in contact with al-Qaeda members, although when, whom, and to what extent is unknown. In 2009, she allegedly “expressed support” for the terror group’s violent jihadist cause.”“Criminal Complaint,” United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, April 1, 2015, https://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/velentzas-complaint.pdf. In 2009, Siddiqui published a poem in the online terrorist publication Jihad Recollections, the predecessor to al-Qaeda magazine Inspire.Erika Badia, John Marzulli, and Larry Mcshane, “Would-be terrorists considered attack on NYPD funeral after Rafael Ramos send-off authorities,” New York Daily News, April 3, 3015, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wannabe-terrorists-weighed-attack-nypd-funeral-complaint-article-1.2171174.

Siddiqui was born in Saudi Arabia and is a U.S. citizen.Anthony M. Destefano, “Two Queens women accused in terror plot led ordinary lives until arrest, source says,” Newsday, April 3, 2015, http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/noelle-velentzas-asia-siddiqui-led-ordinary-lives-until-arrest-on-terrorism-charges-source-says-1.10191682.

On August 23, 2019, Siddiqui pleaded guilty in federal court to “teaching and distributing information pertaining to the making and use of an explosive, destructive device, and weapon of mass destruction, intending that it be used to commit a federal crime of violence.”“Two Queens Women Plead Guilty in Connection with Plan to Build Explosive Devices Similar to Those Used in Prior Terrorist Attacks in the United States,” U.S Department of Justice – Office of Public Affairs, August 23, 2019, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-queens-women-plead-guilty-connection-plan-build-explosive-devices-similar-those-used. On January 9, 2020, she was sentenced to 15 years in prison.“Queens Woman Sentenced to 15 Years’ Imprisonment for Teaching and Distributing Information About Weapons of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Public Affairs, January 9, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/queens-woman-sentenced-15-years-imprisonment-teaching-and-distributing-information-about. She is currently imprisoned at Aliceville Federal Correctional Institute in Alabama, with a scheduled release date of January 12, 2028.“ASIA SIDDIQUI,” Find an Inmate – Federal Bureau of Prisons, accessed March 18, 2021, https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/.

Siddiqui’s co-defendant, Noelle Velentzas, also pleaded guilty to the same charges on August 23, 2019.“Two Queens Women Plead Guilty in Connection with Plan to Build Explosive Devices Similar to Those Used in Prior Terrorist Attacks in the United States,” U.S Department of Justice – Office of Public Affairs, August 23, 2019, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-queens-women-plead-guilty-connection-plan-build-explosive-devices-similar-those-used. Velentzas was sentenced to 198 months in prison on June 16, 2021.“Woman Sentenced to 198 Months in Prison for Teaching and Distributing Information About Weapons of Mass Destruction,” U.S. Department of Justice, June 16, 2021, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/woman-sentenced-198-months-prison-teaching-and-distributing-information-about-weapons-mass.

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