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Texas Synagogue Hostage Taking: Muslim Groups Express Support for Jews

American and British Muslim groups have condemned hostage-taking incident at a synagogue in the US state of Texas, expressing solidarity with the Jewish community.

“The act is all the more reprehensible since it was instigated at a place of worship where Jews were targeted,” Zara Mohammed, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement published today.

“This was, quite simply, a hate crime and an act of antisemitism. We are thankful that the hostages are unharmed. Though some may seek to exploit such incidents for divisive ends, we must double our resolve to remain united against such hatred.” 

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Four people including a rabbi were held by a gunman who entered the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville during a Saturday religious service. After hours of standoff with law enforcement, all hostages were freed and the captor was dead, police said.

The FBI identified the hostage-taker as British national Malik Faisal Akram, 44.

“We understand that the perpetrator is reported to be of British origin and a Muslim. His actions fall way short of what is expected of a Muslim,” Mohammed said.

“His family and local community in Blackburn have also condemned the perpetrator’s action and are shocked and saddened to learn of this incident. We are in touch with our regional affiliate, the Lancashire Council of Mosques, and are ready to support them and local Muslim communities during this difficult time.” 

Americans Too

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has also denounced the incident as completely unacceptable.

“This latest anti-semitic attack at a house of worship is an unacceptable act of evil. We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community,” CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said in a statement on Sunday.

Imams at nearby mosques have also responded with statements of support and prayers for the safety of the synagogue’s congregation and condemnations of the violence.

“We are shocked and horrified at what is transpiring in the Colleyville synagogue,” said Imam Jawaid Alam, from the Islamic Center of Southlake, as word spread of the hostage crisis, Arab News reported.

“They are going through an appalling ordeal and we stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and we condemn these atrocious actions. We will provide our support and hope that this situation comes to a safe resolution as soon as possible. Ameen.”

The Secretary-General of the US Council of Muslim Organizations Oussama Jammal said that Muslims across the US stand in solidarity with “the Colleyville and broader American Jewish community,” and are “relieved” at their safe release.

“This heinous attack on a synagogue, a sacred and inviolable place of worship – and its congregants in the act of prayer – is utterly unacceptable. Whoever the attacker is and whatever his claimed motivations, there can be no excuse for this horrific crime. We praise God for their return to their loved ones,” Jammal said.