Friday, December 1, 2023

Texas terrorist had Tablighi links, family has roots in Pakistan

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The slain Texas synagogue hostage-taker, Malik Faisal Akram from UK’s Blackburn had connections with the Tablighi Jamaat, officials privy to the matter have revealed. Akram’s family hails from the Jhelum district in Punjab, Pakistan. According to the sources cited by media outlets, Akram had travelled to foreign lands for works related to the Islamic organization. He had also made several trips to his ancestral country, Pakistan.

It has also emerged that Akram’s family in the UK has links with a Labor Party Councillor, Malik Irfan. Known for his overt participation in pro-Palestine causes, Malik Akram briefly served as the head of the Rondell Street Islamic Centre in London.

In December 2021, after Saudi Arabia banned Tablighi Jamaat for alleged terror links, Pakistan reacted swiftly and adopted a rather confrontational tone towards the Arab nation. Pakistan condemned the Saudi decision to ban the group.

Moreover, the assembly of Pakistan’s Punjab province, in which Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party is in majority, unanimously adopted a resolution calling the Tablighi Jamaat a force for good.

Two men were arrested on Thursday in Manchester and Birmingham as part of an ongoing investigation into the attack. Earlier, two teenagers, believed to be Malik Akram’s sons were arrested by UK authorities.

At least four people were taken hostages, including a Rabbi by Akram, who was demanding the release of the Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted of trying to kill US military officers while in custody in Afghanistan.

The United States suspects that Aafia Siddiqui joined Al-Qaeda from America, then returned to Pakistan where she married a family member of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks.

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