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[LISTEN] Synagogue Hostage Drama Raises more Questions

Jan 19, 2022

Staff Writer

Malik Akram (44), a British national, was on Sunday shot by US police after taking 4 worshippers’ hostage in a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. UK intelligence, MI5, has since stated that he was previously under their radar, yet was no-longer seen as a threat. Meanwhile, 2 teens from Manchester, in the UK, have also since been arrested.

Akram’s family have condemned the incident, distancing themselves from his actions, and citing the fact that he seemed to have mental/psychological issues. This has raised questions in the UK and US, especially since Akram had travelled to the US despite previous convictions, and was easily able to obtain weapons after entering the United States.

There has so far been no claim of responsibility from any group, emphasizing the suspicion that this had been the act of an individual, largely acting alone.

Moreover, Affia Siddiqui, who continues to be imprisoned  on a dubious conviction, has herself distanced herself from Akram’s actions.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, Ivonne Ridley, a British Journalist, alluded to the fact that the hostage crisis seemed very unprofessionally planned, and was likely the act of a disturbed individual: “There was nothing professional at all about this siege. It seemed very much as though the hostage taker was acting on instinct and acting alone… it looked as though it was just the act of one British Muslim, who sounds like he was a very troubled individual.”

Ridley pointed out how a lack of sensitivity and awareness about Islam and Muslims led many to believe that this was Aafia Siddiqui’s brother, when Muslims commonly refer to other Muslim women as their sisters. She also noted that Aafia’s brother would not have committed such an act, and that Aafia and her family are often annoyed by and opposed to, such actions; the family has since distanced themselves from Akram’s actions.

Concerned, she cautioned that such copycat incidents could be attempted, saying, “my biggest fear now is that there are going to be copycat incidents, which we would not want to happen, but I think it’s almost inevitable that there will be copycatting.”

Last, she noted that although the case of Aafia Siddiqui is not as high-profile as it should be, there would always be a strong grass-root movement seeking to obtain justice. She referred to the fact that it was almost impossible for Siddiqui to have disarmed an American soldier, especially one that was armed and on high alert, and appealed to the conscience of those involved to speak the truth.

 

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