Hostages safe after Texas synagogue standoff; captor dead
The man took over services at a Texas synagogue where he could be heard ranting on a livestream.One hostage held Saturday at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville was released during the standoff; three others got out about 9 p.m. when an FBI SWAT team entered the building, authorities said. The hostage taker was killed and FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said a team would investigate “the shooting incident.
A man who took four hostages at a synagogue in a suburb of Dallas, Texas , has been identified by the FBI as British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, 44. The man who interrupted a morning service in Colleyville on Saturday was shot and killed after a 10-hour standoff with police. All of the hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel were freed unharmed.
The attacker gained initial access to the synagogue during the service by claiming to be a homeless man, according to a police source quoted by CBS.
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On Saturday, an armed 44-year-old British man, a Muslim, stormed into Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, and demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani serving an 86-year sentence in a nearby federal prison on terrorism-related charges. © (Brandon Wade / Associated Press) Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, on Sunday, the day after four men were held hostage in the synagogue. (Brandon Wade / Associated Press)
We don’t know everything there is to know about the four people whom Malik Faisal Akram held hostage. But I am certain the 11-hour ordeal — which ended with the hostages safe and Akram dead — left them terrified.
British national ID’d as hostage-taker at Texas synagogue
Malik Faisal Akram was shot and killed.Malik Faisal Akram was shot and killed after the last of the hostages got out at around 9 p.m. Saturday at Congregation Beth Israel near Fort Worth. In a statement, the FBI said there was no indication that anyone else was involved, but it didn’t provide a possible motive.
NBC News’ Ken Dilanian explains who Siddiqui is and why the hostage -taker was demanding her release from prison.
During an 11-hour standoff at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas , the British gunman repeatedly demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who was convicted of attempting to kill American troops in Afghanistan.
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The theory is that rogue elements in the British secret service decided that Diana’s relationship with Fayed was a threat to the monarchy and, therefore, to the British state. 25. The Jesus conspiracy . Those who believe in this think that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, had one or more children, and that those children or their descendants emigrated to southern France.
And I can also promise you this: Not one of those four hostages had anything to do with Siddiqui.
Siddiqui was tried and convicted for grabbing a carbine and shooting at U.S. service members while under arrest in Afghanistan in 2008. Considering why a British Muslim might threaten the lives of four Texas Jews in 2022 for the actions of a Pakistani in Afghanistan in 2008 tells you a lot about the poisonous reach of antisemitic conspiracy theories and the need to call out and stop them.
Karachi-born Siddiqui, 49, came from an educated, devout Muslim family. She won entrance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and, in 1995, went on to obtain an advanced degree in cognitive neuroscience at Brandeis University, a nondenominational liberal arts college founded in 1948 by the Jewish community where 44% of undergraduates identify as Jewish.
Support flows to 'changed' Texas synagogue after standoff
DALLAS (AP) — The tight-knit congregation at a Texas synagogue where four people were held hostage by an armed captor during a 10-hour standoff over the weekend traces its roots back to a gathering organized over 20 years ago by a handful of families who were new to the area. “It was a Jewish holiday and we were just feeling kind of isolated and unsure who else was living here that was Jewish,” Anna Salton Eisen, a founder and former president of Congregation Beth Israel, said Sunday.
Op - ed .
"We strongly condemn the hostage - taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX… Whoever the assailant is , we want him to know that his actions are condemned by Dr. Aafia and her family,” attorney Marwa Elbially told CNN in a statement on Saturday. Speaking at the press conference, the special agent in charge of the FBI Dallas Field Office, Matthew DeSarno, admitted that the suspect “ was singularly focused on one issue” and that “it was not specifically related to the Jewish community.”
It is hard to avoid conspiracy theories nowadays, especially on the internet. If even an envelope mix-up at the Oscars can compel people to grab their tinfoil hats, then what about theories with wider ranging effects? Of course, it is easy to fall into the trap of immediately dismissing those who believe
Kyrie Irving’s spherical Earth denial is a symptom of science denial plaguing the country at large. Though his comments may seem harmless, they help reinforce the current credibility gap that scientists today have to deal with, making it even harder to convince people to act on important issues, such as
“She must have been conspicuous when she showed up on campus, heavily pregnant and dressed in her Muslim head scarf and long dark gown or hijab,” writes Deborah Scroggins in her 2012 book “Wanted Women: Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui.”
At Brandeis, Siddiqui brought her religion into her scientific work, concerning her professors. After the 9/11 attacks, she left the U.S. for Pakistan and Afghanistan. By then, she reportedly had already come to the attention of U.S. authorities.
In 2008, Afghanistan police arrested her. She was carrying documents on making explosives, along with descriptions of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and other New York City landmarks. During an interrogation, Siddiqui grabbed a rifle and shot at her captors and questioners.
Before her 2009 trial for the shooting, Siddiqui tried to dismiss her lawyers because of their Jewish background and demanded that prospective jurors undergo DNA testing to determine if they had Jewish genes.
British Police Arrest Two Teens Over Texas Synagogue Standoff
Police said the teenagers were being questioned after an incident at a synagogue in Colleyville ended with an armed British national dead.The FBI on Sunday identified the armed man who took a rabbi and three others hostage for about 11 hours at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram.
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“Study the history of the Jews,” she wrote in a plea to then-President Obama. “They have always back-stabbed everyone who has taken pity on them and made the ‘fatal’ error of giving them shelter.” She added: “This why ‘holocausts’ keep happening to them repeatedly! If they would only learn to be grateful and change their behavior!!”
A defense psychologist claimed that Siddiqui’s antisemitism was proof of her delusion.
“Her beliefs that Israel, the United States and India are conspiring to invade Pakistan, that Jews are responsible for 9/11 and have infiltrated American political and nongovernmental organizations” said the psychologist, Thomas Kucharski, indicated that she was not fit to stand trial.
But in truth, antisemitic conspiracy theories dominate Pakistani textbooks, media and government. Why would Siddiqui believe anything else?
In May, Pakistan’s top diplomat invoked the myth of global Jewish financial and media control on CNN. He told a CNN anchor that Israel was “losing the media war” over its policies in Gaza, “despite their connections.”
Timeline sheds light on what synagogue standoff suspect did in US
A family friend claims Malik Faisal Akram had a history of mental health issues. The suspect, Malik Faisal Akram, 44, reportedly took a flight from London to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Dec. 29 and listed a hotel in Queens, New York, as his local address on a customs form, the sources said.
“What are their connections?” he was asked.
“Deep pockets. ... They are very influential people. I mean, they control media.”
When an FBI spokesman said after the hostage-taking in Texas that the standoff was "not specifically related to Jewish community” — a statement that made headlines and deeply upset many Jews — it was both right and wrong. The Jews have nothing to do with Siddiqui, but in minds twisted by antisemitic hate, they have everything to do with it. Once again, Jews became the real-life victims based on utter fictions.
Those fictions are particularly dangerous when they swirl about in unstable minds. The brother of Akram, the hostage-taker, claimed he had “mental health issues,” and Siddiqui's lawyer once describer her as in "total psychic pain." That may explain their actions, but it doesn’t explain the regurgitation of these theories, in some form or other, by those who can make no such excuses.
Crackpot theories about Jews abound in the Muslim world and in the darker corners of the non-Muslim world as well.
“We blame the Jews for everything,” an Egyptian journalist once told me. “It’s like a joke.”
Antisemitic rants can seem like a joke. Who can take seriously Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s tweet about Jewish space lasers causing California wildfires, or a Utah tech CEO’s email that Jews developed the COVID-19 vaccines to kill billions of people?
Synagogue attack puts Jewish community on edge
The Texas synagogue attack has put the Jewish community on high alert, highlighting safety and security trainings. The faith-based attacks have forced community leaders to prioritize security and safety precautions to maintain their ability to pray, congregate and practice their faith, Eric Fingerhut, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, told ABC News.
But when synagogues are attacked, it's clear these “jokes” aren’t funny. The man who opened fire and killed a woman in a Poway, Calif., synagogue in 2019 and the white supremacist who killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue six months earlier both believed the antisemitic claptrap they read online.
“HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!” tweeted Abdullah T. Antepli, a public policy and divinity school professor at Duke University, and Duke’s former Muslim chaplain, in a much-circulated thread over the weekend. “Yes, we Muslims living North America undeniably have an increasing anti-Semitism problem and seemingly we have yet to even begin to address the issue honestly, morally and accurately.”
“We MUST! Without ands and buts, without any further denial, dismissal and or trivializing of the issues. We need to honestly discuss the increasing anti-Semitism within various Muslim communities.”
“Somebody might think that they’re just making a comment or just making a joke,” said Congregation Beth Israel's Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, one of the hostages in Colleyville. “Unfortunately, someone, somewhere, is going to take that hatred, and they’re going to go to a dangerous place with it.”
Sorry to say, the rabbi knows what he’s talking about.
Rob Eshman is the national editor of the Forward and writes its weekly "Letter from California." Parts of this column originally appeared in the Forward.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
Why FBI Assigned Both 'Hate Crime' and 'Terrorism' to Texas Synagogue Attack .
The FBI had previously called the hostage situation "a terrorism-related matter" that targeted the Jewish community. However, DeSarno added that they were also treating Akram's actions as a hate crime.Akram, 44, took four people hostage at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville while demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani associate of al-Qaeda serving an 86-year prison sentence in Texas for attempted murder. Akram, a British national, held at least three of the hostages within the synagogue for 11 hours before being killed by an FBI team that breached the building.