The FBI continues to get heat this week after it alleged the hostage situation at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas had nothing to do with religion. In a revised statement the FBI admitted “This is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted, and is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
The statement marks a major shift in tune from the FBI after one of its agents said last Saturday that the situation “was not specifically related to the Jewish community.”
“We do believe from our engagement with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community,” Matt DeSarno, FBI special agent in charge, said on Saturday. “But we’re continuing to work to find motive, and we will continue on that path. In terms of the resolution of the incident, the hostage-taker is deceased.”
The comment contradicted the public posts of the Muslim hostage-taker and his own family’s comments. The suspect’s history of anti-Semitic and violent terrorist-laden language was plainly available making some question the FBI’s original statement. After considerable pushback in the media, on social media, suspect’s family and media personalities, the FBI changed its tune. Comments from observers included the following:
- Seth Mandel, “Washington Examiner”: “He took a shul hostage and demanded to free a notorious antisemite and forced one rabbi to call another rabbi in NY to help with this. Motive is likely indigestion, though we can’t rule out ‘lost a bet.’”
- Dan McLaughlin, “National Review”: “Hitler was mad about the Treaty of Versailles, which wasn’t Jews’ fault, either.”
- Kyle Orton, researcher: “This is absolutely absurd from @AP. In an era when the most micro-identities receive excess coverage and the most innocent slight can be interpreted as evidence of bias, even a hostage-taking at a synagogue doesn’t qualify as hostility to Jews.”
- Stephen L. Miller, political commentator: “Parents at school board meetings are instantly labeled domestic terrorists in writing on official DOJ letterhead. Armed guy takes Jewish hostages at synagogue during religious services demanding the release of an anti-Semitic convicted terrorist is a mystery they can’t solve.”
The FBI under the Biden administration has been highly criticized over misplaced priorities and what is perceived as a woke push within the agency. It faces several investigations over its focus on parents attending school board meetings and labeling them “terrorists.”
The media was also called for trying to hide the fact the attacker was a Muslim.
Writer Eve Barlow blasted what she described as an effort by the media to avoid immediately labeling the attack as anti-Semitism and argued that Jews were not granted the same “collective protection” as Black and LGBTQ+ people.
Barlow also blasted the reaction by authorities following the attack’s conclusion as “indicative of institutionalized anti-Jewish racism” and called on the non-Jewish world to “actively free itself from antisemitism.”
“The only thing more frightening than a violent act of antisemitism, is a violent act of antisemitism that the world is happy to ignore,” Barlow wrote before describing how British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue for 11 hours as he demanded the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui from prison.
— Grazia UK (@GraziaUK) January 20, 2022
The situation concluded with the escape of the hostages and the death of Akram at the hands of law enforcement.
“As is typical for the Jewish news cycle, when mainstream media picked up the story, they doubted its authenticity,” Barlow wrote. “The BBC, Guardian and Telegraph all reported the situation with quotation marks around the word ‘hostage’, because apparently it wasn’t obvious enough that this was a hostage situation.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice