Malik Faisal Akram , the hostage-taker at the synagogue in Texas on Saturday, hailed from the Jhelum district in Punjab, Pakistan. His family had emigrated to the UK nearly 50 years ago.
Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue, that was termed as an "act of terror" by US President Joe Biden. Akram was killed on Sunday after a tense standoff. In light of this incident, an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute said Pakistan has once again emerged as a terror-sponsoring country after this hostage incident.
According to a report published in The Hindustan Times, Akram was a member of the pan-Islamic Tablighi Jamaat and had travelled abroad for works related to the organisation. He was married to a Gujarati Muslim woman and has five sons and a daughter. However, he also struggled due to marital problems and reportedly had poor relations with his father. He also lost a brother to the Covid -19 pandemic recently.
Akram’s father is reportedly a well-known member of the Muslim community in London. His family has political links through Malik Irfan, a Councillor linked to the Labor Party.
According to reports, Akram had previously served as the head of the Rondell street Islamic Centre in London, also known as Reza Masjid. The masjid mainly attracts Muslims of Pakistani origin. He also prayed at the Eldorado Masjid, where largely Gujarati Muslims prayed. A vocal supporter of Jihad, Akram has also participated in demonstrations supporting pro-Palestine agenda and Guantanamo Bay prisoner rallies.
The conviction of Siddiqui in 2010 had sparked outrage in Pakistan. Later, the Pakistani Senate had passed a resolution in 2018, calling her "Daughter of the Nation" and urged the government to take "concrete steps" for her repatriation.
While the news of Siddiqui's arrest passed with little notice in the US, her conviction led to widespread demonstrations in Pakistan and to demands that Pakistani authorities suspend the delivery of supplies for the war effort in Afghanistan.
"Siddiqui isn't well known in the US, but in Pakistan, she's a big name — many view her as an innocent victim. Also, at one point, ISIS had demanded that she be released in exchange for ISIS captives," Michael Kugelman, the deputy director of the Asia program at Washington's Wilson Center, wrote on Twitter. (With inputs from HT and ANI)