Four Hostages Held in Texas Synagogue

Valentina Arias, Multimedia Photo Editor

On Jan. 15, Malik Faisal Akram held four people hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.

The standoff lasted about 10 hours, with only one of the four hostages being released before the Federal Bureau of Investigation and SWAT team stormed the synagogue and rescued the remaining three at about 9 p.m. While this was occurring, the SWAT team confirmed that Akram was deceased due to his refusal to comply during the hostage’s rescue. 

The situation began with the police receiving a phone call informing them of the hostage situation, seen on the synagogue’s Facebook live. The congregation had been live-streaming their religious services for others to view, and after being made aware of the situation, the police set up a border around the synagogue and evacuated everyone nearby.

While holding all four victims hostage, Akram demanded the release of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently in jail for allegedly having close ties to al-Qaida and attempting to kill U.S Army officers in Afghanistan. Siddiqui’s attorney has released a statement saying that she had no involvement with the hostage situation or Akram himself.

In recent years, antisemitic attacks have surged, leading to increased security at their places of worship. This synagogue in particular had increased protections, leading Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker — one of four hostages —to note that the security training they had received was extremely beneficial in assisting them during the situation.

On January 17, the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue will be having a service at night to put the community at ease with all that has happened. They want to put this event in the past and be glad about the good outcome that has happened after this wretched experience.