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FBI says synagogue hostage taker committed ‘hate crime’ and ‘act of terrorism’ targeting Jews


The FBI said that the hostage situation at a synagogue in Texas last weekend was an ‘act of terrorism’ and a ‘hate crime,’ officials said during a press conference Friday.  

FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno revealed that Malik Faisal Akram’s demands ‘clearly met the definition of terrorism.’

Last Saturday, Akram, a British national, entered the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville before taking Jewish congregants hostage. 

‘This is a federal hate crime. As negotiators began to engage with Akram, he repeatedly demanded the United States release a convicted al-Qaida terrorist in exchange for the safe return of the hostages,’ DeSarno said of the 44-year-old Akram.

‘In doing so, his actions clearly met the definition of terrorism.’ 

DeSarno said that an international terrorism investigation was ‘immediately opened’ after Akram requested to negotiators that he wanted a convicted terrorist released in exchange for the hostages. 

Akram’s behavior became increasingly more combative as he negotiated with authorities while issuing ‘ultimatums and deadlines’ to authorities, DeSarno added. 

Malik Faisal Akram is seen pictured at a faith based daytime outreach center in Dallas, Texas, January 2, 2022 and obtained by Reuters on January 18, 2022

Malik Faisal Akram (pictured), 44, could be heard ranting about American involvement in Afghanistan in calls home as he held hostages in a Texas synagogue

Malik Faisal Akram (pictured), 44, could be heard ranting about American involvement in Afghanistan in calls home as he held hostages in a Texas synagogue

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 16, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 16, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas

FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno, pictured right, revealed that Malik Faisal Akram's demands 'clearly met the definition of terrorism'

FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno, pictured right, revealed that Malik Faisal Akram’s demands ‘clearly met the definition of terrorism’

The FBI’s hostage negotiators were able to convince Akram to release one hostage shortly after 5 pm, with DeSarno saying that food, water, and medical aid had been delivered to hostages as negotiations continued into the night. 

Shortly after 9:00 pm on Saturday, DeSarno authorized the FBI’s hostage rescue team to enter the synagogue, with Akram’s death being ‘a result of the deadly force employed by the FBI.’ 

All four people who were held hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue were unharmed. One was released early in the 10-hour standoff and three others fled for safety before Akram was shot dead. 

The British terrorist had reportedly warned ‘I have hundreds of bullets’ in calls to his family as he threatened hostages, MailOnline learned on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old from Blackburn could also be heard ranting about American involvement in Afghanistan in calls home as he held hostages in the Texas synagogue.

He was shot dead by an FBI SWAT team police shortly after the calls home to Lancashire. 

His father Malik Akram revealed the distressing phone calls to family friends – and said his jihadist son had ‘destroyed his own life and the lives of his family too.’ 

The Congregation Beth Israel synagogue is shown, January 16, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas

The Congregation Beth Israel synagogue is shown, January 16, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas

A Texas synagogue hostage flees, watched by a SWAT team officer perched in an armored car

A Texas synagogue hostage flees, watched by a SWAT team officer perched in an armored car

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel, left, shakes hands with FBI Special Agent DeSarno, during a news conference at Colleyville Center on Friday

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel, left, shakes hands with FBI Special Agent DeSarno, during a news conference at Colleyville Center on Friday

His grieving father, speaking in Urdu at his terraced home in Blackburn said: ‘What my son has done, I have no words to explain it or to understand what he did and why he did it.

‘It came as the biggest shock of my life when I heard he was in America and in a synagogue.

The slain terrorist, a father of six, attended the funeral of his brother Gulzameer last October after he died from Covid-19, although they had fallen out and not spoken for two years.

The slain terrorist, a father of six, attended the funeral of his brother Gulzameer last October after he died from Covid-19, although they had fallen out and not spoken for two years. 

UK security intelligence service MI5 had probed his background after he spent six months in Pakistan in 2020.

He also had links with Syria and it was claimed he had told his family that he had visited Dubai.

Malik Akram had a criminal record and was once branded a ‘menace’ for raving about the attack on the World Trade Center more than 20 years ago.

The terror suspect was given a rare Exclusion Order at Blackburn’s magistrates’ court – the first in 25 years – for abusing staff about 9/11 on the day after the attack that claimed more than 2,750 lives. 

Police are piecing together the terrorist’s final movements after arriving at JFK airport by January 2 before staying in a homeless hostel run by a Christian charity before launching the attack on January 15 

He was also reported to have convictions connected to a drug deal, violent disorder and driving offences.

In 1996, he was jailed for six months for a baseball attack on a member of his family and a year later was gaoled for destroying property. 

However, he managed to bypass the US’s strict entry rules on convicted criminals and arrived in New York on January 2nd, staying in a cheap hotel in Queens.

He then traveled to Dallas and talked about finding himself a Mexican bride, while staying in homeless shelters.

The FBI believe he bought a gun on the streets and armed himself with it when he entered the Colleyville synagogue last Saturday.

His brother Gulbar, told Sky News the terrorist was suffering from mental health issues and that he ‘wouldn’t have done this at all’ if he was offered more help in the UK.

He said he traveled across the Atlantic to demand the release of jailed female terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, who gained the infamous nickname Lady Al Qaeda after trying to kill US troops overseas.

‘He feels strongly about her incarceration, he feels it is an injustice, but he did not do this by himself’ Gulbar said.



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