January 17, 2022

USA: A Known Islamic Terrorist With Long Criminal History In UK Arrived In America 2 Weeks Ago, Bought A Gun On The Street, Took 4 Jewish People Hostage At A Texas Synagogue On Their Holy Day.

The Daily Mail, UK
written by Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter and Vivik Chaudhary and James Tapsfield, Political Editor and Rory Tingle, Home Affairs Correspondent for MailOnline
Monday January 17, 2022

The security services were today accused of a serious 'intelligence failure' after a British Islamist was able to travel to the US to lay siege to a synagogue despite his significant criminal convictions and known radical views.

As police in the US and UK scramble to discover if he was part of a wider terror cell, it has emerged that Malik Faisal Akram, 44, from Blackburn, Lancashire, was branded a 'menace' for raving about the attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001.

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.

The incident 20 years ago raises questions about whether he was known to the security services on either side of the Atlantic - and how he managed to get into the United States two weeks ago with a significant criminal record.

Today, Tory MP Bob Seely told MailOnline there seemed to have been a 'dreadful' error at the UK and US borders caused by an 'intelligence failure' and it needed to be looked at.

'This is clearly a failure of intelligence sharing. It is absolutely dreadful that he has been allowed to go to the States and hurt people. Clearly something has gone wrong somewhere,' he said.

Another senior MP with knowledge of the security services voiced surprise that the background had not been picked up. 'How did he get into the US?' they said. 'You get picked up for walking on the cracks in the pavement.'

Yesterday, his brother, Gulbar, demanded how he was allowed into America despite a long criminal record. He said Malik was mentally ill and was mourning the death of his brother three months ago, reportedly from Covid.

The extent of his criminal record is not yet clear, but it may be that some of his offences may have been too petty or too old to stop him being turned away from the United States' border.

Malik Faisal Akram landed at New York's JFK Airport on January 2. The address he gave on his arrival papers appears to be the same as the Queens Hotel in New York City, which offers basic accommodation for $80-a-night.
Come on, this was premeditated. He went straight to that synagogue across the country 2 days after he landed in America on a temporary visa. (emphasis mine)
He spent the nights between January 6 and January 13 at a Christian charity's homeless hostel in Dallas, managing to buy a gun 'on the street' nearby.

Two days later he laid siege to the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, before being shot dead by a SWAT team on Saturday night. There were no other casualties.

As Akram's family said the FBI landed in the UK, the Prime Minister's spokesman today called the Texas synagogue attack 'a terrible and anti-Semitic act of terrorism'. President Joe Biden said the ten-hour siege was an 'act of terror'.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she had spoken to her US counterpart Alejandro Mayorkas and offered 'the full support' of the UK police and security services in the investigation.

Last night two teenagers, who have not been named, were arrested by British counter-terrorism officers in south Manchester and remain in custody.

Akram's family had been working with police in Texas to convince him to give himself up. His younger sibling Gulbar said he and other relatives were called into Greenbank police station in Blackburn to speak with his older brother, who was armed and claimed to be carrying a bomb.

In a live Facebook feed of the service he raided he was heard shouting at the congregation in a strong northern British accent: 'If anyone tries to enter this building - everyone will die'. He added: 'I'm gunned up. I'm ammo-ed up. Guess what, I will die. I am going to die, so don't cry for me' before hurling anti-Semitic insults.

Speaking to FBI agents, he had also demanded the release of jailed female terrorist Aafia Siddiqu - known as Lady Al Qaeda for attempting to kill US military personnel in Afghanistan - and that she be brought to the synagogue so they could both 'die together'.

He referred to her as his 'sister' during the attack but the pair are not related. She is being held in a jail about 20 miles from Colleyville.

After agreeing to release one of his hostages, two more hostages were seen running out of a side door, chased by Akram waving a handgun. Soon afterwards a FBI rescue team stormed the building and Akram later died in a hail of bullets at around 10pm on Saturday night.

It is also possible that his 9/11 rants and other crimes may not have been picked up if he lied about not being a criminal because the US authorities do not routinely have access to Britain's criminal record information database.

As FBI agents landed in the UK to work with British police, it also emerged today:
  • Two teenagers, both believed to be under 16, are being questioned by UK counter-terrorism police after being arrested in Manchester;
  • The Texas synagogue terrorist had asked negotiator to bring Aafia Siddiqu - known as Lady Al Qaeda - and that she be brought to the synagogue so they could both 'die together'. She is in a jail 25 miles away;
  • British extremist Anjem Choudary has been campaigning online for Siddiqui's release;
  • Akram's links to Pakistan are also being probed, having been a regular visitor to the country where his father was born. He was reportedly a supporter of the conservative Tablighi Jamaat group, set up to 'purify' Islam. It denies being a terror group – but members are banned from Saudi after the organisation was branded 'one of the gates of terrorism' by the Gulf state.
Akram had apparently flown to America two weeks ago, lived in homeless shelters and bought a gun 'on the street', according to US President Joe Biden.

He was described by his family as suffering 'mental health issues' but concerns over a wider plot grew last night as two teenagers were arrested over the incident by anti-terror officers in south Manchester.

The pair, both believed to be under 18, cannot be identified for legal reasons. They were still in custody overnight, Greater Manchester Police said.

However the FBI's field office in Dallas had earlier said there was 'no indication' that anyone else was involved in what President Biden called 'an act of terror'.

Boris Johnson 'absolutely stands in solidarity with the Jewish community, both in the UK and indeed in Texas' after the hostage-taking incident in a US synagogue.

Malik Faisal Akram, originally from Blackburn in Lancashire, was shot dead when the FBI entered the building in Texas on Saturday night.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: 'This was a terrible and anti-Semitic act of terrorism.

'The Prime Minister's thoughts are with the Jewish community both in Texas and around the world and we stand with our American friends against those who seek to spread hate and fear around the world.

'British authorities continue to provide full support to Texas and the US law enforcement agencies.'

The terrorist was banned from Blackburn Magistrates' Court in September 2001 and described as a 'menace' after officials complained that he was persistently causing trouble inside Blackburn magistrates court even when he was not appearing before the bench.

The ban followed a series of incidents which culminated with Akram abusing court ushers over the New York attacks.

Under the order, Akram was warned that if he entered the court complex, he could be detained under the Contempt of Court Act and face a possible prison sentence or £2,500 fine.

The rare Exclusion Order was made against him under Section 12 of the Contempt of Court Act and had only ever been used once before at Blackburn Magistrates' Court.

A letter sent to Akram, known by his middle name Faisal, confirming the ban stated: 'Once again you were threatening and abusive towards court staff. In a clear reference to the terrorist attack on New York the previous day you said on more than one occasion to one of my court ushers 'you should have been on the f***ing plane.'.

Akram was reported as saying in a local newspaper at the time: 'I'm innocent. This is nothing to do with me because I didn't say that. People at the court have just got it in for me because they don't like me.' Mr Wells described Akram as a 'menace' who had a long history of abusing court staff.

Malik's brother Gulbar issued a statement on behalf of the family last night in which he told of their 'devastation' and revealed how relatives had been in contact with Malik during his attack at the police's request but could not convince him to surrender.

But speaking to Sky News he also demanded to know how the incident had been allowed to unfold. 'He's known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?', he said.

In his online statement posted hours earlier, Gulbar wrote: 'It is with great, great sadness I will confirm my brother Faisal passed away in Texas, USA this morning.

'We are absolutely devastated as a family. We can't say much now as there is an ongoing FBI investigation.

'We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident.

'Sitting in the incident room all last night at Greenbank [Police Station in Blackburn] until the early hours liaising with Faisal, the negotiators, FBI etc.

'And although my brother was suffering from mental health issues we were confident that he would not harm the hostages.

'There was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender.

'Obviously our priority will be to get him back to the UK for his funeral prayers although we have been warned it could take weeks.

'We would also like to add that any attack on any human being be it a Jew, Christian or Muslim etc is wrong and should always be condemned.

'It is absolutely inexcusable for a Muslim to attack a Jew or for any Jew to attack a Muslim, Christian, Hindu vice versa etc.'

A later post shared on Facebook by Blackburn Muslim Community pleaded for patience and respect for the family. The statement read: 'Faisal Akram has sadly departed from this temporary world and returned to his Creator.

'May the Almighty forgive all his sins and bless him with the highest ranks of Paradise. May Allah give strength and patience to his loved ones in dealing with their loss.'

It remained unclear this morning why Akram flew to Texas, 4,700 miles away from his Lancashire home, to carry out his attack.
How is it unclear? He was obviously on a mission. (emphasis mine)
He was shot dead at around 9pm local time (3pm GMT) by the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team after holding four hostages, including the rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker for ten hours.

The incident began when Akram entered the building as it was livestreaming a service, shouting that he had weapons and 'backpacks of explosives' on him.

From inside the Texas synagogue, the assailant told a SWAT team: 'If anyone tries to enter this building, I'm telling you…everyone will die.'

He could be heard ranting, in what appeared to be a British accent, on the synagogue's Sabbath livestream, before it was cut off at 2pm CST, saying: 'I'm going to die. Don't cry about me'

'Are you listening? I am going to die,' he repeated over and over.

Leaders from the Islamic Center of Southlake, who have worked closely with Rabbi Cytron-Walker to help unite the faithful in the Dallas-Fort Worth area came out to the scene to denounce the attack and pray for their friend.

'We want to see him again as soon as possible,' said Shahzad Mahmud, the former president of the Islamic Center. 'We just want to make sure he goes back to his family,'

One of the hostages was freed early in the incident and the other three fled to safety shortly before it ended.

Dramatic footage revealed the moment two hostages ran out of the temple followed by Akram who chased them with a gun before quickly retreating back inside and closing the door after spotting the nearby SWAT team. Dozens of agents then breach the synagogue as gunshots can be heard.

FBI special agent Matt Desarno said the agency's Hostage Rescue Team, who were flown in from Quantico in Virginia, entered the synagogue at around 9pm local time, freed the hostages and killed the suspect.

'There is no question that this was a traumatic experience,' Cytron-Walker said in a statement last night. 'We are resilient and we will recover.'

Rabbi Cytron-Walker in his statement credited his congregation's previous security training from the FBI and others with their survival from a harrowing ordeal.

'In the last hour of our hostage crisis, the gunman became increasingly belligerent and threatening,' the rabbi said.

'Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself.'

During a visit to a Philadelphia food bank, U.S President Joe Biden today described Akram's actions as an 'act of terror', adding that there was not yet sufficient information as to why the gunman had specifically targeted a synagogue.

Biden later added that it is understood that Akram purchased the weapons used during the stand-off 'on the street' and spent his first night in the US 'in a homeless shelter'.

'He purchased them when he landed and it turns out there apparently were no bombs that we know of. ... Apparently he spent the first night in a homeless shelter. I don't have all the details yet so I'm reluctant to go into much more detail,' the President added.

'I don't think there is sufficient information to know about why he targeted that synagogue, 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-Israel comments'.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss took to Twitter to condemn the 'appalling act of terrorism and anti-semitism in Texas'. Ms Truss added: 'We stand with US in defending the rights and freedoms of our citizens against those who spread hate.'

Assistant Chief Constable Dominic Scally, for Counter Terror Policing North West, said they are helping with the investigation being led by authorities in the US.

He said: 'Firstly, our thoughts remain with everyone affected by the terrible events that took place in Texas on 15 January.

'We can confirm that the suspect, who is deceased, is 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, originally from the Blackburn area of Lancashire.

'I can also confirm that Counter Terror Policing North West is assisting with the investigation being led by the US authorities.

'Police forces in the region will continue to liaise with their local communities, including the Jewish community, and will put in place any necessary measures to provide reassurance to them.'

Following the arrests, the force added: 'Two teenagers were detained in South Manchester this evening. They remain in custody.'

FBI special agent Matthew DeSarno told reporters in Colleyville after the standoff that the investigation would 'have global reach.'

He said the suspect's demands were 'focused on one issue that was not specifically threatening to the Jewish community.'
He specificially flew into the United States to fly directly to Dallas Fort Worth, Texas where the Jewish synogogue is and he bought a gun on the street after he landed in Dallas Fort Worth. He targeted that specific Jewish synogogue on their Jewish holy day. (emphasis mine)
Britain's ambassador to Washington confirmed that British authorities were 'providing our full support to Texas and US law enforcement agencies.'

Aafia, now 49, was jailed for 86 years after being arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 for the attempted murder of a US army captain.

The Pakistani-born neuroscientist was found with two kilos of poison sodium cyanide and plans for chemical attacks on New York's Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.

She was handed to the Americans and convicted of attempted murder two years later in a US court.

Her attorney, Marwa Elbially, told CNN that her client has no involvement in the hostage situation.

'She does not want any violence perpetrated against any human being, especially in her name,' Elbially said.

'It obviously has nothing to do with Dr. Siddiqui or her family.'

Jonh Floyd, of the Houston branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also confirmed Aafia's family was not involved in the current hostage situation, and that they condemn the suspect's actions.

'We want the hostage-taker to know that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and her family strongly condemn this act and do not stand by you,' Floyd wrote in a statement directed at the hostage taker.

'We want the assailant to know that his actions are wicked and directly undermine those of us who are seeking justice for Dr. Aafia.'

Aafia's hatred for the US was so strong that during her interrogation after her arrest she grabbed a rifle from one of her guards and shot at them shouting: 'Death to Americans.'

She came to the US in 1991 and won a partial scholarship to MIT, where she was a biology major.

Siddiqui was sent by her neurosurgeon father from Pakistan to study in the U.S. on her own and won a partial scholarship to study at the prestigious Cambridge school.

She arrived there in 1991 having been living with her brother in Texas for a year where she studied at the University of Houston and gave regular speeches on Islam.

During one she told the crowd: 'The hijab is not a restriction. It allows a woman to be judged by her content, not by her packaging, by what is written on the pages, not the pretty artwork on the cover'

In 1993, she wanted to do 'something to help our Muslim brothers and sisters' even if it meant breaking the law.

The mother of three was radicalized after the 9/11 terror attacks, divorcing her husband and moving back to Pakistan, where she remarried Ammar Al-Baluchi, the nephew of 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

What happened in Pakistan before her arrest is unclear and even during her U.S. trial judge Richard Berman said he did not know what she was doing.

But even now such is her importance as a symbol of defiance to the West that Islamic State fighters publicly stated they wanted to swap her for James Foley, the American photojournalist they executed earlier this year.

She is serving an 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, about 25 miles from the hostage site at the Texas temple.

During her trial, Aafia demanded that every jury member get DNA tested to see if they were Jewish.

'I have a feeling everyone here is them [Jews], subject [them] to genetic testing… They should be excluded if you want to be fair,' she told a federal judge in 2010.

Congregation Beth Israel is a Reform Jewish synagogue in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, which has about 70,000 Jewish people, one of the largest communities in the state.
Breitbart News
written by Kurt Zindulka
Monday January 17, 2022

The brother of Malik Faisal Akram, the UK citizen who was shot and killed after an 11-hour hostage standoff at a synagogue in Texas, has claimed that his brother had a previous criminal record.

Gulbar Akram, the brother of terrorist Malik Faisal Akram, who took four hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday, has revealed that his brother had a criminal record in comments to UK media, raising questions about how he was allowed into the United States.

According to Inzamam Rashid, North of England correspondent or Sky News, Gulbar Akram said of his brother: “He’s known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?”

Malik Faisal Akram, formerly of the Blackburn area of Lancashire, is reported to have travelled to the U.S. around two weeks ago into New York’s JFK International Airport before travelling to Texas.

In a previous statement, Gulbar claimed that his brother suffered from “mental health issues.”

Akram was shot dead after an 11-hour standoff following the release of four hostages taken in the Texas synagogue. During the hostage situation, he was heard calling for the release of al Qaeda linked Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national who was convicted of attempting to kill American military officers while being detained in Afghanistan.

The Greater Manchester Police announced on Sunday that the Counter Terror Policing division in North West England is currently assisting in the investigation being led by the US Authorities.

Late Sunday evening, the police force announced that they detained two teenagers in South Manchester in connection to the Texas synagogue attack. The two teens remain in custody, their identities have not been made public at the time of this reporting.

Responding to the attack, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss wrote: “My thoughts are with the Jewish community and all those affected by the appalling act in Texas. We condemn this act of terrorism and antisemitism.

“We stand with US in defending the rights and freedoms of our citizens against those who spread hate.”

Following the revealing of Malik Faisal Akram as the attacker, his once-local ‘Blackburn Muslim Community’ group page wrote on Facebook in a now-deleted post, according to local media: “Faisal Akram has sadly departed from this temporary world and returned to his Creator.”

“May the Almighty forgive all his sins and bless him with the highest ranks of Paradise. May Allah give strength and patience to his loved ones in dealing with their loss.”

Apologising for the post, the page followed up on Monday morning, writing: “We posted about the death of a local individual yesterday and utilised a standard template with generic wording that is used on all of our death announcements. After learning about the full circumstances surrounding his death, the post was removed.”

“We apologise for any upset or offence caused to those directly and indirectly affected by the incident especially the Jewish community in Texas. This was unintentional and our thoughts are with them all.”

The group went on to say that they “totally condemn any threats or attacks on innocent people” and that they stand in “solidarity with people of all faiths”.

“We have always promoted peace, love and harmony between people of all faiths and none.”

The Blackburn Muslim Community said that they will not be commenting further on the matter as they are currently in contact with relevant authorities in terms of an investigation into Akram.

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