Two men arrested in England as investigation continues into Colleyville synagogue terrorist attack

AP Photo/Jake Bleiberg

Two men in England were arrested this morning in Birmingham and Manchester as part of the investigation into Saturday’s terrorist attack on Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Earlier in the week, two teenagers from Manchester were arrested and held in police custody but little information was given as the investigation is still underway and the teenagers are under 18 years of age. They were released without charges on Tuesday.

Malik Faisal Akram, a British national, was known to police in the U.K. and had a criminal record. It is still unclear how it is that Akram was issued a visa to enter the U.S. with a criminal record. No one has answered how he obtained a gun that Akram allegedly purchased on the street before he used it in his act of terrorism in the synagogue. The FBI botched the messaging on the day’s events, which lasted eleven hours, but both Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and one of the synagogue’s board members have released accounts of what went on during the attack. The four men held hostage by the Islamic terrorist were able to escape unharmed, thanks to security training, and the terrorist is dead. The FBI team on the scene shot and killed Akram.

Greater Manchester Police report that the two adult men arrested this morning remain in custody for questioning by UK counterterrorism investigators working with US authorities. Did the two teenagers have information that they gave to police in order to secure their release earlier this week? Details aren’t being released yet on either the arrest of the teens or on the two men arrested in the early hours of this morning.

Yesterday the rabbi’s intention to leave the synagogue after serving there for 16 years became a part of the story. It has nothing to do with the terrorism attack but it is an interesting development, especially given his heroic acts during the hostage situation, with himself as one of the hostages. He announced he was leaving last fall and his last day will be in June.

Jennifer Farmer, a spokeswoman for Congregation Beth Israel, told the Star-Telegram that Cytron-Walker’s focus, and the focus of the rest of his congregation, is on healing.

“The Rabbi, his family, congregation and broader community must do the difficult work of picking up the pieces and moving forward,” Farmer said in an emailed statement to the Star-Telegram. “That’s where everyone’s energy is. While the Rabbi was planning to transition, right now he just wants to heal.”

In another statement to the Dallas Morning News, Farmer said, “In terms of his transition, he has served this congregation for nearly two decades, and he has made tremendous sacrifices on behalf of the community. Regardless of where he lands, most people will still consider him their friend and rabbi.”

According to an email sent to the congregation on Nov. 2 and obtained by Forward, Cytron-Walker “decided that he did not want to go to the membership for a vote” after he learned the synagogue’s board would be recommending his contract not be renewed.

Today details from Akram’s final phone call to with his family before he was shot dead in the synagogue reveals he told them he “came to die.” It was also revealed that he was the father of six children.

The Blackburn terrorist who held up a synagogue ranted about ‘f***ing Jews’ and urged more British Muslims to launch jihad in the United States in a disturbing final phone call to his family just minutes before he was shot dead, it was revealed today.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, said his decision to kidnap a rabbi and three others at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville on Saturday was his own declaration of war on America, claiming: ‘I’ve come to die’.

In a recording of his last phone call to his brother Gulbar, 43, Akram said he had promised their younger sibling Gulzameer, who died of Covid last year, ‘that I’d go down a martyr’, adding: ‘I’ve told my kids to man up. Don’t cry at my funeral. I’ve been praying to Allah for two years for this. I’m coming home in a body bag’.

Father-of-six Akram, who had been in the US for a fortnight and bought his gun ‘off the street’ in Texas, said: ‘I’m opening the doors for every youngster in England to enter America and f*** with them’. And in a message for fellow jihadists he said: ‘Live your f***ing life bro, you f***ing coward. We’re coming to f***ing America. F*** them if they want to f*** with us. We’ll give them f***ing war’.

That phone calls makes the FBI’s first remarks during their press conference at the conclusion of the terror attack on the synagogue all the more disturbing. The agent in charge at the scene said the motive was unclear and that it didn’t have anything to do with hatred of Jews. The British spies who observed Akram in 2020 failed, too.

British spies watched him for a month at the end of December 2020 but decided he posed no risk, despite multiple reports he had been radicalised. He also ceased to worship at his father’s mosque and began attending meetings of a sect set up to ‘purify’ Islam and banned in Saudi Arabia as ‘one of the gates of terrorism’. Akram also had a criminal record dating back more than 25 years.

He phoned home several times during his terror attack, according to his father. His brother tried to get him to given himself up by telling him he could serve some time in prison and then return home. Instead, Akram dug in and even offered up some hot takes on America’s involvement in Afghanistan.

Gulbar Akram told him what he was doing was a ‘sin’ and urged him to give himself up, claiming he could ‘do a little time’ in prison and come back to Blackburn.

But Faisal exploded with rage, screaming: ‘I’d rather live one day as a lion than 100 years as a jackal. I’m going to go toe-to-toe with [police] and they can shoot me dead. I’m coming home in a body bag.

‘I’m bombed up, I’ve got f***ing every ammunition’, raving: ‘I’ve asked Allah for this death, Allah is with me, I’m not worried in the slightest’.

Turning on America’s involvement in Afghanistan he yelled: ‘Why do these f***ing motherf***ers come to our countries, rape our women and f*** our kids? I’m setting a precedent’.

Good riddance.