The Colleyville Synagogue Hostage


On the morning of Saturday, January 15th, tragedy struck the Jewish community of Colleyville, Texas. Four Jewish people, a rabbi included, were held hostage in a synagogue. They were threatened at gunpoint and kept in the synagogue for almost 10 hours. Fortunately, the hostages were able to escape unharmed.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker recounts his experience of the hostage citation and describes the measures he took to ensure safety for the other hostages. “I threw a chair at the gunman,” Rabbi Cytron-Walker describes. He had waited for a moment when the gunman wasn’t paying as much attention and used the chair to distract the gunman so that he and the hostages could escape. Aside from the heroic Rabbi Cytron-Walker, all the hostages were Jewish adults who are yet to be identified by name. They all escaped in healthy condition, with no medical assistance necessary.

The captor, however, was found dead on the scene with a cause of death yet to be determined. The police identified him as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British man. Earlier in the day, a live stream of the synagogue service revealed video footage of Mr. Akram shouting for his sister to be released from jail. After further investigation, it was revealed that his sister, Aafia Saddiqui, is currently in prison for terrorist acts. In 2010, while she was being arrested for said acts, Saddiqui fired a rifle at US soldiers while shouting “death to America.” She is currently in a jail near Colleyville Texas, which could give an explanation as to why Mr. Akram decided to commit an act of terrorism closeby.

This act of terrorism will not go unnoticed. The Jewish community has faced terrorism and hate crimes for thousands of years. The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group that defends acts of antisemitism, has recorded extremely high levels of terrorism upon the Jewish community, making them the most targeted religious group in the United States. The Jewish community is deeply saddened by these recent events but keeps its heads held high to combat the ongoing antisemitism.

The important thing is that nobody was killed or harmed in this incident. Rabbi Cytron-Walker expresses his gratitude for life by stating in a recent Facebook post, “I am grateful that we made it out. I am grateful to be alive.”