The brother of Malik Faisal Akram, the UK citizen who was shot and killed after an 11-hour hostage standoff at a synagogue in Texas, has claimed that his brother had a previous criminal record.
Gulbar Akram, the brother of terrorist Malik Faisal Akram, who took four hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday, has revealed that his brother had a criminal record in comments to UK media, raising questions about how he was allowed into the United States.
According to Inzamam Rashid, North of England correspondent or Sky News, Gulbar Akram said of his brother: “He’s known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?”
Malik Faisal Akram, formerly of the Blackburn area of Lancashire, is reported to have travelled to the U.S. around two weeks ago into New York’s JFK International Airport before travelling to Texas.
In a previous statement, Gulbar claimed that his brother suffered from “mental health issues.”
Akram was shot dead after an 11-hour standoff following the release of four hostages taken in the Texas synagogue. During the hostage situation, he was heard calling for the release of al Qaeda linked Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national who was convicted of attempting to kill American military officers while being detained in Afghanistan.
The Greater Manchester Police announced on Sunday that the Counter Terror Policing division in North West England is currently assisting in the investigation being led by the US Authorities.
Late Sunday evening, the police force announced that they detained two teenagers in South Manchester in connection to the Texas synagogue attack. The two teens remain in custody, their identities have not been made public at the time of this reporting.
Responding to the attack, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss wrote: “My thoughts are with the Jewish community and all those affected by the appalling act in Texas. We condemn this act of terrorism and antisemitism.
“We stand with US in defending the rights and freedoms of our citizens against those who spread hate.”
Following the revealing of Malik Faisal Akram as the attacker, his once-local ‘Blackburn Muslim Community’ group page wrote on Facebook in a now-deleted post, according to local media: “Faisal Akram has sadly departed from this temporary world and returned to his Creator.”
“May the Almighty forgive all his sins and bless him with the highest ranks of Paradise. May Allah give strength and patience to his loved ones in dealing with their loss.”
Apologising for the post, the page followed up on Monday morning, writing: “We posted about the death of a local individual yesterday and utilised a standard template with generic wording that is used on all of our death announcements. After learning about the full circumstances surrounding his death, the post was removed.”
“We apologise for any upset or offence caused to those directly and indirectly affected by the incident especially the Jewish community in Texas. This was unintentional and our thoughts are with them all.”
The group went on to say that they “totally condemn any threats or attacks on innocent people” and that they stand in “solidarity with people of all faiths”.
“We have always promoted peace, love and harmony between people of all faiths and none.”
The Blackburn Muslim Community said that they will not be commenting further on the matter as they are currently in contact with relevant authorities in terms of an investigation into Akram.
The Muslim Council of Britain also condemned the attack on Monday morning, saying the actions were “completely unacceptable and we condemn the action in the strongest possible terms.”
“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. 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.”
The Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Zara Mohammed added: “The act is all the more reprehensible since it was instigated at a place of worship where Jews were targeted. 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.”