The British national who held four Jews hostage inside a Texas synagogue for several harrowing hours Saturday is dead, yet nearly 48 hours later, questions and controversy remain.
The hostage-taker sought the release of Aafia Siddiqui, an imprisoned Pakistani terrorist who attempted to kill U.S. military officers 14 years ago in Afghanistan. An America-hating anti-Semite, Siddiqui is currently imprisoned for several more decades near Fort Worth, where Congregation Beth Israel is located.
As Bari Weiss opined in a lengthy Monday post at her Substack, “The bad guy was killed. The good guys were saved. But the reaction to the hostage-taking in Colleyville, Texas, should alarm American Jews.”
The weekend incident has been deemed isolated, but with attacks on Jewish Americans increasing in recent years, one questions that declaration.
Consider that the lead FBI special agent of the Dallas Field Office argued the hostage-taker “was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community.” After facts set in, the FBI updated their statement to note the Jewish community was indeed targeted by Malik Faisal Akram.
FBI statement on Colleyville, Texas synagogue attack: pic.twitter.com/Vaciwh1YH1
— Joel Schectman (@joel_schectman) January 17, 2022
Attacking a synagogue, taking hostages, and demanding a major al-Qaeda operative’s release should have been an easy clue. Sen. Lindsey Graham picked up on this right away.
It is very disturbing to hear from the FBI they do not believe the hostage taker’s demands had anything to do with the Jewish faith.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 16, 2022
On an uplifting note, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker claimed multiple security trainings helped him and the other hostages survive the ordeal.
“We are alive today because of that education,” the liberal rabbi originally from the Midwest explained. “I encourage all Jewish congregations, religious groups, schools, and others to participate in active-shooter and security courses.”
Their most recent training included active shooter training and inspection of the synagogue’s perimeter and safety protocols, per the Washington Post.
And finally, there’s President Joe Biden, who seemed a step behind, as usual.
Asked Sunday during a cursory briefing if he knew the motivations of Akram, Biden said, “No, I don’t. I — there’s speculation, but I’m not going to get into that. I’m going to have a press conference on Wednesday, and I’ll be happy to go into detail of what I know in detail at that time.”
Queried why Akram targeted a specific synagogue, Biden said, “I don’t think there is sufficient information to know about why he targeted that synagogue or why he insisted on the release of someone who’s been in prison for over 10 years, why he was engaged — why he was using anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments. We just don’t have enough facts.”
Mr. President, stop placating your radical base; the anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli invective are “facts” that reveal the thug’s motivation. We should also wonder how he made it into the United States despite his long criminal record.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.