The FBI released a new statement Sunday night, attempting to walk back their previous comments that the hostage taking at a Texas synagogue, on the Jewish Sabbath, during services "...was not specifically related to the Jewish community."
In the new statement, the FBI said, "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 is a change from what FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said Saturday night when he announced the death of the suspected terrorist. "We do believe from our engaging with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community. But we're continuing to work to find motive and we will continue on that path."
The FBI was slammed across the political spectrum and social media following the remarks regarding the hours-long standoff that occurred in Colleyville, Texas, where Malik Faisal, a British national, held four people hostage in Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, including their rabbi.
During this conference, the FBI confirmed that Akram, was shot and killed. All hostages were eventually released unharmed.
Akram reportedly demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, known as "Lady Al-Qaeda" in counterterrorism circles, from a federal prison in Texas.
Siddiqui, an antisemitic Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda, was sentenced in 2010 to 86 years in prison for attempting to kill US military officers while in custody in Afghanistan. Muslim groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have also advocated for Siddiqui's release.
In response to an Associated Press tweet stating, "The FBI says the Texas synagogue hostage taker's demands were specifically focused on issue not connected to the Jewish community," numerous journalists, media personalities, and other notable figures slammed the outlet's tweet and the FBI's statement.
Sunday morning while speaking to reporters, President Joe Biden after calling the hostage taking an antisemitic act of terror said, "I don't think there is sufficient information to know 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 using anti-Semitic & anti-Israeli comments."
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