Texas synagogue hostage taker’s brother says ‘religious lunatics caught him’

The brother of the British terrorist who attacked a Texas synagogue on January 15 and took four people hostage said his brother had been radicalized by “religious lunatics” and called on Muslim community leaders and authorities to take action. stronger measures to end indoctrination.

Gulbar Akram told The Sun that his brother, Malik Faisal Akram, also had no hatred for Jews, at least not in the past.

“He didn’t hate Jews. One of his closest friends is Jewish,” he said.

The Akrams were brought up in Blackburn, in the north of England, in a family originally from Pakistan. Gulbar said Malik once led a fairly normal British life, being a fan of Sunday roasts, Blackburn Rovers football club and the TV comedy ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

However, the problems started in his youth when he was expelled from school for fighting and for “jostling”. His parents then sent him to a military school in Pakistan. He then returned to the UK and enrolled in a business course, but failed to complete it.

“He was very smart but he was in a rush to make money.” Golbar said. “He didn’t care if anything was stolen if he could make money.”

Gulbar said his brother’s descent into religious extremism began in 2003, when he joined the Tablighi Jamaat sect. At one point he burned £60,000 ($80,000) in cash outside a mosque, saying it was “dirty money”.

Malik married in 2004 and had six children. But her marriage also became troubled. Gulbar said his brother would disappear for months doing missionary work for the cult.

Hostage taker from Congregation Beth Israel, identified as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British national. (Courtesy)

“Different characters started to appear. One of them [had been] locked up for terrorism so the family was worried. he told.

In 2016, Malik’s marriage fell apart. He shut down a pharmacy business he ran at the time and disappeared, traveling the world, occasionally reappearing, but in a general disconnect from his family.

Eventually, Malik’s problematic activities and associations were noticed by UK counter-terrorism officials MI5, who investigated him in 2020 but ultimately closed the case for lack of evidence.

“He was no angel,” Gulbar said. “But if those religious lunatics hadn’t caught him, this would never have happened…He would be alive now if he hadn’t joined the extremists.”

He added that “mosques, imams, police and authorities all need to do more to prevent this kind of thing from happening.”

Gulbar was apparently the last person to speak to Malik alive, as the latter called him from inside the synagogue during the clash with the police and the FBI, shortly before his death, in a conversation that is making its way online.

A law enforcement vehicle is seen near the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue on January 16, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images/AFP)

On the phone, Malik denounced Jews, jihadism and American wars and said he would return home in a body bag, as his brother tried to persuade him to surrender, to no avail.

His four hostages, including a rabbi, were all released unharmed.

In the tirade published by the Jewish Chronicle, Akram said, “Why do these motherfuckers come to our countries, rape our women and fuck our children? I’m setting a precedent.

“Maybe they will have some sympathy for the fucking Jews,” he said, referring to US authorities. He demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, who is serving an 86-year prison sentence after being found guilty of shooting at American soldiers in Afghanistan.

US and UK officials called the attack anti-Semitic. Akram made the Texas rabbi call a rabbi in New York twice during the incident, and one of the hostages said Akram chose the synagogue because of his belief in anti-Semitic tropes.

Akram told his brother during the siege, “I came to die”, adding that he wanted to “go down as a martyr” and that he was “bombarded” with “all munitions”.

“I open the doors for all young people in England to come to America and fuck with them,” Akram said. “We’ll give them a fucking war.”

His brother urged him to surrender.

“You don’t need to do this. Why are you doing this?” Gulbar said to his brother. “Just packing. You’ll need a little time and then you’ll be out.”

“These guys you have, there are innocent people, man,” he said.

A police vehicle patrols an intersection on January 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas near Congregation Beth Israel. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images via AFP)

The Chronicle said the recording was part of a longer 11.5-minute recording obtained from a “security source”.

Suggesting that the attack had been planned for a long time, Akram said: “I prayed to Allah for two years for this. I come home in a body bag.

The Times said Akram was twice referred to a UK government program called Prevent, which aims to deter people seen as vulnerable to radicalisation.

He cited sources saying Akram was referred in 2016 and 2019 for “concerns about his anti-Western and conservative Islamic views”. But it was unclear whether he had signed up for the voluntary program, the daily added.

US and UK authorities are investigating whether more could have been done to identify the risk posed by Akram in time to prevent the attack.

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