News & Politics

Synagogue Hostage-Taker ID’d as ‘British National’ with ‘Mental Health Issues’

AP Photo/Gareth Patterson

The jihadi who held hostages for hours in a Texas synagogue Saturday, demanding the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, has been identified as a 44-year-old “British national” from Blackburn, Lancashire named Malik Faisal Akram. That is, however, about all the information the FBI has so far released, as efforts to whitewash and deny Akram’s motives continue.

The Blackburn Muslim Community requested that people “avoid taking part in the sin of backbiting” in talking about the case, which apparently meant that they didn’t want to see Akram being called a jihad terrorist. Akram’s brother Gulbar, meanwhile, condemned the attack and apologized: “We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident.” However, Gulbar also added that Malik Faisal Akram had “mental health issues.”

Of course. The claim that jihadis are suffering from mental illness is an excuse that authorities frequently employ in order to avoid having to speak publicly about aspects of Islamic teaching that can incite violence. In San Francisco last November, a knife-wielding Muslim screaming “Allahu akbar” charged at police, who shot him in self-defense. The establishment media insisted he was mentally ill. Also in November, a Muslim named Emad Al Swealmeen blew himself up in a taxicab outside a Liverpool hospital; police told the public that he suffered from periods of mental illness. In Germany, a Muslim migrant stabbed four random people, and although authorities acknowledged that he could be an “Islamic extremist,” he was placed not in a prison but in a psych ward.

And so on and on. For years now, authorities who feared doing anything that might suggest a connection between Islam and terrorism consigned numerous obvious instances of jihad activity to mental illness. If law enforcement officials take Gulbar’s claim at face value, this hostage-taking incident will quickly be forgotten amid a flurry of establishment media articles about the “stress” caused by “Islamophobia” and the need to redouble efforts to make sure Muslims suffer no undue difficulties.

Amid all this, a note of clarity came from the unlikeliest of sources: Joe Biden. Old Joe expectedly pretended that the hostage-taker’s motive was unclear, saying authorities “just don’t have enough facts” to explain why it all happened. Biden sputtered, “I don’t — we don’t have — I don’t think there is sufficient information to know about why he targeted that synagogue, why he insisted on the release of someone who’s been in prison for over 10 years, why he was engaged, why he was using an anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments.” After all this boilerplate, however, Biden actually spoke truthfully, calling the incident “an act of terror.”

That it was, and it was striking to hear Old Joe admit it; will those unnamed people with whom he is always saying he will get in trouble if he answers too many questions call him on the carpet for it? Meanwhile, contrary to Biden’s professed ignorance, there was little mystery as to why Akram targeted a synagogue; nor was it any great puzzle as to “why he insisted on the release of someone who’s been in prison for over 10 years.”

Related: Lefty Rag: ‘Modern Jihad’ Is Not Islamic; It’s the Fault of ‘Neoliberal Capitalism’

Some Islamic groups have been agitating for Siddiqui’s release for years. On Nov. 10, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held a Facebook live discussion to call for Siddiqui to be freed. The panelists included Siddiqui’s attorney, Marwa Elbially, Faizan Syed, the Executive Director of the Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of CAIR, and the notorious Leftist activist Linda Sarsour. “Join us,” said the CAIR invitation, “for a livestream discussion on the renewed campaign to free Dr. Aafia Siddiqui who is serving an unjust 86 year sentence for a crime she did not do.” In reality, Siddiqui received her long sentence because of abundant evidence that she plotted the jihad mass murder of Americans, including U.S. government employees.

Whether or not Malik Faisal Akram saw or even knew about CAIR’s Facebook discussion, the anger over Siddiqui’s imprisonment was not limited to this single event. What’s more, according to the Elder of Ziyon, jihadis have discussed taking Jews hostage to force the freeing of Siddiqui before: “Indian Mujahideen co-founder and Pakistan based Riyaz Bhatkal, as per NIA chargesheet on Yasin Bhatkal, had met Al Qaeda operatives in 2013. Yasin Bhatkal, who was picked up by Intelligence Bureau from Nepal in August 2013, told his interrogators that Riyaz had told him to kidnap Jews from Pushkar mela in Rajasthan and demand the release of Aafia Siddiqui. This was a popular plan. Siddi Bapa also allegedly told NIA interrogators that he and some of his men were working on a plot to take ‘foreign Jews’ hostage at the time of his arrest. He claims to have received orders to take Jewish hostages sometime after executing the 2013 Hyderabad bombings.”

In light of all that, it is a peculiarly virulent strain of willful ignorance to think that Malik Faisal Akram’s motive is unknown. But the establishment media will no doubt continue to do all it can to obfuscate it.