Asia Siddiqui, a 35-year-old woman who was arrested on terrorism-related charges in 2015, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison following a trial in New York City.
According to the Associated Press, Siddiqui was “studying how to make bombs for a terrorist attack that prosecutors said would have targeted” U.S. law enforcement officers. Prosecutors also said that Siddiqui “followed and expressed a violent, warped version of Islam which, in their view,” demanded that she and her co-defendent, Noelle Velentzas, “teach each other and learn how to build a bomb.”
According to the Counter Extremism Project, Siddiqui was born in Saudi Arabia and holds dual U.S. citizenship.
Richard Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a news release that “lives were saved when the defendants’ plot to detonate a bomb in a terrorist attack was thwarted by the tireless efforts of law enforcement,” reports the news agency. “This is precisely the reason why countering terrorism remains the highest priority of the Department of Justice.”
Defense lawyers claim that Siddiqui “would have required the expertise of the fictional MacGuyver” to build a bomb with the materials she had in her basement. Furthermore, they say, the idea that “she was going to independently build her own explosive device is equally fictional.”
Following the 2015 arrest of Siddiqui and Velentzas, the New York Daily News reported that the terrorist duo had considered bombing a funeral for police officers, and expressed to an undercover officer how easy murdering a police officer would be.
Homegrown terrorists Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, were self-proclaimed “bad bitches” hoping to “make history” with a massive blast and body count from a police funeral or some other major public event, authorities charged Thursday.
“It’s war,” Velentzas, who declared herself an Islamic State citizen, said in a tape-recorded August conversation. “It’s f—ing war.”
Velentzas, in another of many chats recorded by an undercover investigator, declared that killing a cop was actually easier than grocery shopping.
“Sometimes one has to wait in line to buy food,” she was quoted as coolly telling the undercover last December after the executions of NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
The Ramos funeral, which drew 20,000 law enforcement mourners, sparked speculation between the two accused women and the undercover about bombing a subsequent funeral.
A criminal complaint filed against Siddiqui and Velentzas in 2015 reveals that Siddiqui also had a soft spot for jihadist literature and poetry, and in 2009 submitted a poem to “Jihad Recollections,” a terrorist magazine. According to the complaint, the poem “calls for its readers to engage in violent jihad and to destroy enemies of Islam.” In a conversation with an undercover officer, Siddiqui also referenced an article she wrote that “referred to having written the poem.”
The New York Daily News previously published an excerpt of the poem, revealing lines that read: “Some of us are born soldiers, battle runs through our blood,” “Hit cloud nine with the smell of turpentine, nations wiped clean of filthy shrines,” and “taste the Truth through fists and slit throats.” The excerpt of the poem concludes as follows: “What can my enemies do to me if Allah has promised me success.”
Velentzas is scheduled for sentencing on March 3, 2020.