The FBI agent in charge of the attack that ended an 11-hour standoff at a Texas synagogue has raised eyebrows by claiming that the hostage-taking incident was not related to the religion of those he held captive.
“We do believe from our engaging with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community, but we’ll continue to work to find motive,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said, according to CNN.
Four hostages were taken Saturday morning when a man entered the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville during Shabbat services. The incident ended when the FBI stormed the synagogue, killing the man. One hostage had been freed earlier; the other three were released at the end of the ordeal. None were reported injured.
It’s on the rise.
It comes from multiple sources.
It must never be ignored, minimized, rationalized, trivialized or politicized.
— David Harris (@DavidHarrisAJC) January 16, 2022
From our Editorial Board: The hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville is a reminder of threats that never go away, including the scourge of antisemitism. [Opinion] https://t.co/j4t3tmeKUS
— Fort Worth Star-Telegram (@startelegram) January 16, 2022
“The idea that any attack on a synagogue is ‘not specifically related to the Jewish community’ is absurd enough,” she wrote in an Op-Ed.
The hostage-taker, Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British national who was killed when the FBI stormed the synagogue, demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently in prison for trying to murder Americans in 2010.
“The attack was not specifically related to the Jewish community”…This is what happens when the FBI becomes ‘woke’…How can we believe anything they say when they have become a political tool of the left? pic.twitter.com/BnIzdKHG9B #Antisemitism #ColleyvilleSynagogue #Colleyville
— 🇺🇸Jamie🇮🇱 (@JaRaNo1128) January 16, 2022
We are relieved that all hostages at the synagogue in Colleyville are safe. However, the continued targeting of synagogues is cause for alarm. These events remind us of the dangers of antisemitism and how it must be confronted from all segments of society to stop it.
— US Holocaust Museum (@HolocaustMuseum) January 16, 2022
Harkov noted that Siddiqui seethed anti-Semitism, writing in a letter to then-President Barack Obama that Jews “have always back-stabbed everyone who has taken pity on them and made the ‘fatal’ error of giving them shelter.”
“It is this cruel, ungrateful back-stabbing of the Jews that has caused them to be mercilessly expelled from wherever they gain strength. This is why ‘holocausts’ keep happening to them repeatedly! If they would only learn to be grateful and change their behavior!!” Harkov quoted Siddiqui as having written
Harkov said it was a stretch to believe that anyone who allied himself with Siddiqui would not harbor similar hatred for Jews.
“The likelihood of someone being so passionate about releasing Siddiqui that he would hold people hostage at gunpoint and not know of her widely reported and Wikipedia-listed views about Jews is slim,” she wrote.
Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett framed the rescue as a victory over the ongoing forces of anti-Semitism.
This event is a stark reminder that antisemitism is still alive and we must continue to fight it worldwide.
To the Jewish community in Colleyville and around the world:
You are not alone – we stand united with you.
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) January 16, 2022
Anna Salton Eisen, a former president of the synagogue, called that day’s ordeal “surreal.”
“This is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. You know, it’s a small town, and it’s a small congregation,” Eisen said during the incident, according to WSVN. “No matter how it turns out, it’s hard to fathom how we will all be changed by this, because surely we will be.”
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