Loose gun laws hamper investigation into Texas synagogue hostage-taker
We know lots of little details about the activities of a man who took hostages at a Texas synagogue, but not a big detail.
Just before New Year’s Day, Malik Faisal Akram flew from England to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. He had a criminal record in the United Kingdom and a reported history of mental health issues. Akram had been banned from a U.K. magistrate’s court in 2001 because he wished aloud that the court usher had been killed in a mass casualty flight attack a la 9/11. In 2020, Akram was investigated by British intelligence as a possible violent Islamist threat. Yet, he was permitted entry into the United States – seemingly within the law. Soon after arriving in New York, he flew to Texas where, about two weeks later, he took hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, before the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team killed him.
There are some unique aspects to Akram’s case. It’s not every day that someone travels here, holds hostages and demands the release of an Al Qaeda-linked federal prisoner. But there is also a common element to Akram’s tale . He bought a gun — according to President Joe Biden “on the street” — likely in Texas. By now, investigators know which flights Akram took, where he bought his cellphone, the people he called, the Queens hotel where he spent a night and the Texas homeless shelter that took him in.