On Saturday, a terrorist took control of a Colleyville, Texas synagogue with the reported hope of exchanging his four hostages for convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui’s release from prison.
The four hostages escaped unharmed, and the hostage-taking terrorist, identified as 44-year-old British national Malik Faisal Akram, is dead.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:
The FBI on Sunday identified the hostage-taker in the standoff at a Colleyville synagogue as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen.
Akram — who could be heard speaking during a livestream that broadcast a portion of the 11-hour standoff — died Saturday night after a hostage rescue team breached the building. The four hostages were unharmed.
Authorities said Saturday that Akram was killed in a shooting but did not answer a question about whether he was shot by law enforcement or if the gunshot was self-inflicted. The man claimed to have explosives, according to statements he made on the livestreamed video. Authorities have said he had a gun.
“This was an act of terror,” President Joe Biden said Sunday. Biden said there were apparently no explosives, despite the threats, the Associated Press reported.
The Huffington Post provides a brief recap of Siddiqui’s terrorist acts and trial.
Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist and MIT graduate, was accused of having ties to al Qaeda and sentenced to 86 years in 2010 for trying to murder American soldiers in Afghanistan. In 2008, she had grabbed a soldier’s M4 rifle and used it to shoot at another soldier while being pulled in for questioning; during the attack she “exclaimed her intent and desire to kill Americans,” according to the Justice Department. Siddiqui was wounded by gunfire during the incident.
During her trial, Siddiqui expressed hostility toward Jewish people, suggesting at one point that potential jurors undergo genetic testing to confirm they are not Jewish. She is currently imprisoned at a medical facility near Fort Worth.
Colleyville lies between Dallas and Fort Worth in northern Texas.
Knowing all of this, the FBI beclowned itself by claiming that the hostage-taking of Jewish people in an effort to free an anti-Semitic jihadi was “not specifically related to the Jewish community.”
Biden's FBI: The Islamist terrorist, who held Jews hostage at a Texas synagogue, on Sabbath, was “singularly focused on one issue” that was not “specifically related to the Jewish community.
He then adds “We are continuing to work to find motive.” pic.twitter.com/RUPFhORWbs
— Ari Hoffman (@thehoffather) January 16, 2022
It is SO WEIRD how all these men who aren’t antisemitic keep ending up in synagogues with guns!! pic.twitter.com/Edt0ftT0rL
— leekern (@leekern13) January 16, 2022
Meanwhile, state and local law enforcement in cities across the nation have stepped up security for synagogues, and numerous officials in the Biden administration are stressing their concern about copycat perpetrators acting against Jewish people and places of worship.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports in a separate article:
An FBI representative is facing criticism Sunday for telling reporters that the focus of the Colleyville hostage-taker was “not specifically related to the Jewish community,” shortly after the crisis resolved on Saturday night after an 11-hour standoff, with all four hostages at Congregation Beth Israel safe and free.
But the Biden administration’s initial response reflected widespread community concern that the targeting of a synagogue during Shabbat services could fuel a recent surge of antisemitism nationwide. “We continue reaching out to Jewish leaders and faith leaders in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well as nationally, to offer support and check in, and make sure we’re in regular contact,” a White House official said.
. . . . Top administration officials also told Jewish leaders in those calls that they shared the concern that events in Colleyville could inspire “copycat” attacks against Jewish institutions across the United States. Those concerns remain even with the hostage crisis resolved.
“We are monitoring social media traffic,” Mayorkas said. “We have in the past seen incidents of violence be the subject of communications and efforts by those who seek to do us harm, to inspire copycats – but we are not seeing any specific or credible threat at this time.”
According to the BBC, Akram is from the Blackburn area of Lancashire and is thought to have arrived in the United States approximately two weeks ago.
Akram’s family is reportedly “devastated” and claim that Akram had “mental health issues.”
Akram’s brother Gulbar Akram said Sunday that their family was “devastated.”
“We as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident,” he posted in a WhatsApp chat that a Blackburn, England, Muslim group later posted to Facebook.
He said he was in a room with U.S. law enforcement officers for hours, “liaising with Faisal, the negotiators, FBI.”
“My brother was suffering from mental health issues,” the post said.
In an interview with The Washington Post, in which he confirmed writing the WhatsApp message, Gulbar Akram said the hostages had not been in danger of losing their lives.
“I was there in the incident room,” he told The Post. “I know my brother wouldn’t hurt the hostages. He didn’t have it in him. I’m not excusing what he did. … Not one of them needed medical attention.”
Gulbar Akram declined to elaborate on his brother’s mental health.
In the post, Gulbar Akram took issue with how police and the news media were portraying the end of the hostage situation, saying the captives had been released before “a firefight” in which his brother was killed.
“There was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender,” Gulbar Akram said in the post, which has since been removed from the Blackburn Muslim Community page.
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