Texas synagogue terrorist's Pakistani 'sister' is a piece of work

In a major news story, four hostages were freed after a standoff at a synagogue in Texas.

The incident occurred a little before 10:40 a.m. local time, yesterday, when the police received a call about a gunman storming into the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, near Fort Worth, during morning Shabbat prayers.

The service that was live-streamed via Facebook was eventually taken down.

The terrorist was heard on the livestream demanding the release of Islamist terrorist Aafia Siddiqui who was sentenced to 86 years in prison in 2010 for assault and attempted murder of a U.S. soldier.  The Associated Press reported that the gunman was also heard ranting about religion and against America. 

There were four hostages in the synagogue, including the head rabbi of the synagogue, Charlie Cytron-Walker.

Rabbi Cytron-Walker has been the synagogue’s first full-time rabbi since 2006. He has worked to bring a sense of spirituality, compassion, and learning to the community, welcoming everyone, including LGBT people, into the congregation. He worked towards building interfaith relationships in the community.

After 10 hours, law enforcement officials declared the hostage-taker was dead while the hostages were released unharmed. 

Details of the rescue operation have not been released yet.

So who is Aafia Siddiqui?

Siddiqui was born in Pakistan and came to the United States on a student visa in 1990 for higher education. She lived in the United States between 1991 and 2002. She studied at MIT and has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University.

She returned to Pakistan and married a relative of the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Siddiqui was arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 in possession of documents about the manufacture of "dirty bombs" and notes about planned attacks against New York City landmarks such as the Empire State Building.

Following her arrest in Afghanistan, she was interrogated by U.S. soldiers and the FBI. During that interrogation, Siddiqui found an unattended rifle and fired it at members of the interrogation team. She also attacked an FBI agent and a U.S. army officer attempting to disarm her. She was subsequently charged with attempted murder.

She was then branded as "Lady al Qaida."

She was apparently exceptionally valuable to the terrorist groups operating in the area.

ISIS offered to trade journalist James Foley, who was captured in Syria, with Siddique; Foley was beheaded in July 2014. Then in August 2014, ISIS offered the release of humanitarian aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was abducted in Syria, in exchange for Siddiqui.

In her native Pakistan, officials decried her punishment. Then Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, called her the “daughter of the nation” and campaigned for her release. Pakistani leaders have openly floated the idea of swaps or deals that could result in her release.

Thousands took to the streets in protest when she was convicted of the attempted murder of a U.S. army officer in 2010. Her imprisonment in Texas was used as a rationale for terrorism against Americans, this time in the United States itself.

This isn't the first time that attempts were made to free Siddique.

In 2018, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud a Somali native, who came to the United States with his family as a 2-year-old, admitted to planning an attack on the federal prison where Siddiqui is being held in an attempt to free her. Mohamud was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

This hostage situation leaves several open questions and concerns.

Firstly, the incident spurred memories of the long history of antisemitic attacks in the U.S. and around the world.

Since the days of President Obama, the Democrats have been openly championing the Palestinian cause, hence abandoning their closest ally and the only pluralistic democracy in the Middle East, Israel. Some Democrats have even described Israel as an “apartheid” state

The Democrat hate for Israel and the antisemitism have intensified in recent times.

The Democrats stay mum when terror-group Hamas fires rockets into Israel. "The Squad," which includes Palestinian-American Rashida Talib of Michigan and Somalian refugee Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are blatantly antisemitic and pro-Palestine. They even opposed funding of Israel's Iron Dome, AOC famously ‘wept’ to apologize for her ‘present’ vote.

Even Bernie Sanders, who was raised Jewish and was generally sympathetic toward Israel has recently expressed support for Palestinian causes, perhaps to appease the antisemitic Democrat base.

The Democrats in their urge to gain power have frequently demonized America as a country founded in immorality, systemic racism, and bigotry. They attack Trump supporters as domestic terrorists and white supremacists. 

While the terrorist is solely responsible for his actions, these antisemitic and anti-American rants in Washington and in the media can function as a catalyst to an already unstable radicalized mind.

It is important to note that terror attacks such as these don’t occur in a vacuum. There is radicalization and preparation before the act. The terrorist must have procured his raw material within the U.S. Perhaps he received logistical support and training within or beyond the U.S. Perhaps he consumed material either in person or via the internet that drove him to be radicalized. He may have traveled to countries that are known for having terror training camps. Red flags should have been raised during any of these stages.

It is a failure of intelligence that he wasn’t apprehended prior to his act of terror. Perhaps intelligence agencies were occupied with terrorizing Trump supporters?

The attack is also a reminder of the failed immigration system. Both Aafia Siddiqui and her devotee Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud entered the U.S. legally and turned out to be the enemy within. Biden’s open borders with an uncontrolled influx of immigrants are likely to bring more similar and very serious problems.

It should also be a reminder about U.S. ‘ally’ Pakistan, the very place Osama bin Laden chose to make his home. Despite their repeated treachery, Pakistan has huge support in Washington.

In the end, the U.S. has to be grateful to the skilled negotiators, the SWAT Team, and local law enforcement officials for managing to protect the four hostages. These matters could have been much worse.

Do not be surprised if the media attempts to describe the terrorist as a victim of circumstance or U.S. policy and characterize his killing as an unnecessary application of force.  Do not be surprised if they use this as an excuse for gun control and confiscation.

When President Trump’s orders had led to the executing of ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the Washington Post described the terrorist as an “austere religious scholar” who maintained “a canny pragmatism” and that “acquaintances would remember him as a shy, near-sighted youth who liked soccer but preferred to spend his free time at the local mosque.”

If, for instance, the terrorist entered the U.S. following Biden's open borders or came here recently from Afghanistan, we can be assured that we will never learn of it.

As immediate remedial action, all synagogues around the country must be given adequate protection with armed personnel and every individual entering the premises scanned.

The big question remains, will any lessons be learned from this attack?

We live in hope, while we expect very little change.

Image: Thierry Ehrmann, via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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