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Texas Rabbi Who Survived Islamic Terror Attack Has Life-Saving Advice for Every American Church

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Jews are under attack in America.

The FBI revealed in a statement that on Saturday, British national Malik Faisal Akram, 44, took four hostages in a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.

He was demanding that al-Qaida terrorist Aafia Siddiqui be released from an 86-year prison sentence, according to the FBI. Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist known as “Lady al-Qaida,” was convicted of multiple felonies in 2010, NBC News reported.

Siddiqui is being held at Carswell Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Akram, who participated in a 10-hour standoff at the synagogue, died on scene, though authorities did not confirm the exact details of his death.

The hostages escaped physically unharmed. Armed with faith in God, I pray that they are psychologically unscathed as well. But faith was not all they were armed with.

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Charlie Cytron-Walker, the rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel since 2006, said on Sunday that security training taught him to deal with active shooter situations.

“Over the years, my congregation and I have participated in multiple security courses from the Colleyville Police Department, the FBI, the Anti-Defamation League, and Secure Community Network,” Cytron-Walker said.

“We are alive today because of that education. I encourage all Jewish congregations, religious groups, schools, and others to participate in active-shooter and security courses.”

According to one training specialist, this kind of attack is the most “personal form of terrorism you’re ever going experience.”

It’s a sad day when God-fearing people must worry about being attacked in houses of worship. That day is here. Are you personally prepared?

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This was not an isolated incident. In October 2018, a shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg killed 11 worshippers. In April 2019, a shooting at a Chabad in Poway, California, killed one and injured three. In December 2019, an attack in Jersey City at a kosher market left six more dead. And the list goes on.

The Jewish people are not alone.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “At least 113 incidents have occurred across 29 states and the District of Columbia since May 2020. Incidents include arson, statues beheaded, limbs cut, smashed, and painted, gravestones defaced with swastikas and anti-Catholic language and American flags next to them burned, and other destruction and vandalism.”

The Judeo-Christian tradition, the very foundation of Western culture, has been targeted by Islamic terrorists, progressive politicians and neo-Marxist ideologues hiding in the shadows of the Ivory Tower for decades. The aggression against the faithful can be traced back to the Fall itself, when the serpent whispered sweet-nothings in the ear of Eve.

Catholics could learn something from their older Jewish brothers. Founder of the Caliber 3 initiative, Col. Sharon Gat teaches Jews across the country how to defend their congregations against intruders using, if necessary, guns. The initiative upends the traditional security guard model, which has caused concern among communal officials.

Gat told the U.K.’s Daily Mail, “The average person in these trainings, after 40 hours, I can say there’s a very, very good chance that if an active shooter comes into his synagogue, the active shooter will be dead, and people will be saved.” Murderous attacks on synagogues provoked Gat’s response.

Gat’s initiative, along with those like Yonatan Stern, an Israeli-American security instructor who runs Cherev Gidon, a training firm and facility in Pennsylvania, does not promote violence. The training is defensive in nature. All Americans, regardless of religion, race or anything else, have the God-given right of self-defense.

Learning defensive measures to ward off active shooters saves innocent lives. Charlie Cytron-Walker and his fellow hostages are living proof.

All of these incidents make clear that the world is seething with hate. The question is, why?

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian Nobel laureate who suffered years in Stalin’s gulags, knows hatred. In his 1983 acceptance speech for the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, Solzhenitsyn said, “More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’”

Not much has changed. Religious fanatics of any ilk are blasphemers. Their violent aggression betrays the motivating factor of their madness: hatred.

“It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that ‘revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.’ That is absolutely true,” Solzhenitsyn said.

Religious fanatics do not fight for God. They fight because of a hatred of God. This is the root of all hate.

We are in a midst of a new revolution. Its soldiers fight under the same banner as the old: that of the serpent.

“But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism,” Solzhenitsyn continued. “Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions.”

Sound familiar? The new revolution is the same as the old. Are you prepared to face this reality?

Cytron-Walker, Gat, Stern and others like them play the parts of counter-revolutionaries. They did not start the fight. They are simply training so they can defend themselves and the faithful who they serve.

God help them.

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Jack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.
Jack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.