According to the FBI, the kidnapping of a rabbi and three others in a Texas synagogue this weekend constituted an “act of terrorism” and a “federal hate crime.” As talks with hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram began, he asked that the US release a convicted al-Qaida terrorist in exchange for the safe return of the hostages. According to the authority, his conduct certainly fit the criteria of terrorism.
Akram kidnapped Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three others during Shabbat services at a New York synagogue. Akram calls for the release of a neuroscientist convicted of attempting to assassinate US soldiers in Afghanistan. The rabbi greeted him and poured him a cup of tea, not suspecting anything until they prayed together.
When the rabbi had his back to Akram during prayer and heard his revolver click, he realized something was wrong, he added. According to a Facebook video broadcast from within the place of worship, the guy then began shouting for hours about his family and Islam.
In a live-streamed video, the guy who took four people hostage inside a Texas synagogue warned, “If anyone attempts to enter this place, I’m telling you everyone will die.” After a hostage rescue squad penetrated the synagogue, he was murdered during a gunfight. DeSarno’s remarks differ from his previous statement that the gunman’s demands were centered on issues beyond the Jewish community.
Moreover, President Joe Biden remarked at the Tree of Life synagogue hostage situation in January that there wasn’t “enough information” to determine why the gunman targeted the Jewish community. FBI Director Christopher Wray later characterized the hostage crisis as an “act of terrorism targeting the Jewish Community.”
“They dispatched FBI SWAT, two highly trained teams from their elite Hostage Rescue Team. They are the individuals who finally went into the synagogue,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Wray. “The FBI is considering Saturday’s actions as a terrorist attack against the Jewish community, as it has been,” he says.