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British national identified as the hostage-taker at Texas synagogue


On Sunday, authorities identified the 44-year old British national who held four hostages at Texas’ synagogue. The standoff lasted for 10 hours until an FBI SWAT team entered the building. This ended a tensionful standoff which President Joe Biden described as “an act terror.”

Malik Faisal Akram, a hostage taken by Congregation Beth Israel in Fort Worth at 9:59 p.m. on Saturday was killed and his body shot. The FBI stated that there were no other indications of involvement, however it did not provide any possible motive.

Akram was heard screaming on the Facebook Livestream and demanding that a Pakistani Neuroscientist be released from prison for trying to murder U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan. Speaking on Saturday night, Akram was not allowed to speak out by the FBI or any police officers about Akram’s shooting.

Video from Dallas TV station WFAA showed people running out a door of the synagogue, and then a man holding a gun opening the same door just seconds later before he turned around and closed it. A few seconds later, gunfire and an explosion could be heard.

Biden told a Philadelphia food pantry on Sunday that “rest assured, we’re focused.” “The attorney general remains focused, making sure we address these types of acts,” Biden said.

Matt DeSarno is the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge. He said that hostage-taker had been specifically engaged on an issue unrelated to Jewish communities. There was also no evidence suggesting the man was part a larger conspiracy. DeSarno however stated that agency investigations “will be global.”

The reason Akram selected the synagogue was not clear.

The hostage-taker wanted to be freed, according to law enforcement officials not allowed to talk about the ongoing investigation. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaida who is in a federal prison in Texas. The officials said that he was also willing to have a conversation with her.

According to a law enforcement official, Siddiqui was held hostage at the New York synagogue and called the New York rabbi to request Siddiqui be released. The New York rabbi dialed 911.

Katie Chaumont spokeswoman at FBI Dallas stated that the police first arrived at the synagogue just after 11 am. Then, people were evacuated from surrounding neighborhoods quickly.

For a brief time, Saturday’s services could be viewed live on the Facebook page of the synagogue. There are Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that an angry man could be heard ranting and talking about religion at times during the livestream, which didn’t show what was happening inside the synagogue.

The man stated, just before 2:20 p.m. “I don’t want this man to die.” Moments later the feed was cut off. Meta Platforms Inc. spokesperson later confirmed that Facebook removed the video.

Many people were able to hear Siddiqui being called his “sister” by the hostage-taker on the livestream. But John Floyd, board chair for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, — the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group — said Siddiqui’s brother, Mohammad Siddiqui, was not involved.

This assailant is not related to Dr. Aafia or her family nor the worldwide campaign for justice for Dr. Aafia. Floyd also serves as legal counsel for Mohammad Siddiqui. We have verified that this family member wrongly accused isn’t in the DFW Metro Area.”

Victoria Francis, a Texas resident, told the AP she saw about one hour of the stream before the cut-out. Victoria Francis claimed that she heard the man rail against America, and then claim he was carrying a bomb.

His personality was all over. His anger was quite extreme and he would threaten to kill anyone who didn’t get his message across. You are responsible for any mistakes you make. He would have a good laugh about it,” she added. He was obviously in severe distress.”

Francis, who was raised near Colleyville and tuned in to hear about the hostage situation. It sounded almost like the hostage was speaking to Francis over the telephone, along with the police and another individual trying to assist with negotiations.

Colleyville is a 26,000-strong community located 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth. It is located among many large homes in a residential area that also includes a school, middle and elementary schools and a horse ranch.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron Walker is Congregation Beth Israel’s leader. He has served as the synagogue’s first full-time priest since 2006. According to his bio on the temple website, he has tried to instill a sense spirituality, compassion, and learning within the community. He loves to welcome everyone into the congregation, even LGBT.

The Sunday morning post was on Cytron-Walker’s Facebook Page. It appears that the Rabbi thanked first responders and law enforcement for their help.

I am thankful for my family. Thank you to the CBI Community as well as the Jewish Community and Human Community. We made it. He wrote, “I am thankful to be alive.”

Anna Salton Eisen was the founder of the synagogue and was the former president. She said that the congregation now has 140 members. Cytron Walker has also worked hard to establish interfaith relations in the community through pulpit swaps, and participation in community peace walks. She called Saturday’s events “surreal.”

“This experience is like nothing we’ve seen.” Eisen stated that the hostage situation in which Eisen was speaking as it continued, “It’s small town and small congregation.” It doesn’t matter what the outcome, it is hard to imagine how this will affect us all.

Following the ending of hostage situation, President Joe Biden made a thank you statement to law enforcement.

We will continue to learn more about the motives and motivations of hostage-taker in the coming days. But let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate—we will stand against anti-Semitism and against the rise of extremism in this country,” Biden said.

Naftali Bennet, the Israeli prime minister, said that he has been closely following the developments. This event serves as a reminder that antisemitism still exists and must be fought worldwide,” Bennett wrote. He stated that he felt “relieved” and grateful for the release of hostages.

This standoff led to an increase in security, especially in New York City. New York City police stated they have increased their presence “at key Jewish establishments” because of the increased risk.

Aafia Syediqui received advanced degrees from Brandeis University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was then sentenced to 86 years imprisonment on charges of assaulting and shooting at U.S. Army personnel after she had been detained in Afghanistan in 2008. This punishment caused outrage among Pakistani political leaders as well as her supporters. They considered her a victim of the American criminal justice process.

Over the years, Pakistani officials and supporters have been following her case closely. They are open to any type of agreement or swap which could lead her release. For example, in 2018, a man from Ohio was accused of plotting to attack Siddiqui’s Texas prison to try to get her out. sentenced to 22 years in prison.