Home Islam The Texas Synagogue Hostage Crisis Was an Evil Islamic Terrorist Act

The Texas Synagogue Hostage Crisis Was an Evil Islamic Terrorist Act

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Hostages held at the Colleyville Synagogue

Colleyville authorities were negotiating with a man who had taken people hostage at Congregation Beth Israel.

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Updated late Saturday to reflect end of standoff.

Anything that made someone terrorizing a synagogue in Colleyville Saturday is a deeply evil act.

There’s a lot we don’t know about the hostage taker and his motives. Multiple networks reported that the man was demanding the release of a convicted terrorist imprisoned in a federal facility in Fort Worth.

But in a way, it doesn’t matter. Any complaint he has against the US government, the case in question, or even Israel does not implicate the individuals whose lives he violated.

Throughout the tense hours, the priority was the safe rescue of the hostages. Officers heroically burst in and rescued them late on Saturday, for which we should all be grateful. Now it is important to reflect with righteous anger, to recognize the wrong done, to name it and to identify where it came from.

The innocent faithful of Colleyville have nothing to do with the case of Aafia Siddiqui, which the hostage taker allegedly spoke about. Congregation Beth Israel appears to have been targeted simply because its members are Jewish. Nothing can justify this.

It is particularly twisted to target a religious congregation while worshiping in sacred space. So many houses of faith do so much to help others regardless of the political or foreign policy issues that separate us.

The Jewish people have had to live with general scapegoats for centuries, and synagogues constantly face specific threats. A little over three years ago, an armed man targeted a worship center in Pittsburgh, killing 11.

The scourge of anti-Semitism seems to be gaining ground, in the United States and around the world. It is the haven for both loose white supremacists and some leftists targeting Israel. American Jews are the victims of hate crimes based on religion in a staggering disproportion to their share of the population.

Violence in a place of worship is all too familiar here in Fort Worth as well. Just two years ago, a gunman shot at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement. Two members died, but the heroic response of an armed church member saved countless lives. And more than 20 years later, the horrific violence at Wedgwood Baptist Church still resonates as one of the worst mass shootings in our area.

The hostage-taking also reminds us that no matter how much we want to withdraw from the problems of the world, we cannot. Islamic terrorism has slipped off the radar as the pandemic, geopolitical and economic threats from China and Russian aggression in Europe take center stage.

We know that all too well in Dallas-Fort Worth. Administrative assistant to Osama bin Laden, Wadih al-Hage, lived in Arlington and worked at a tire shop east of Fort Worth before he was convicted of killing 213 people in the 1998 Nairobi embassy bombing.

In 2015, two Arizona men linked to the Islamic State attacked an anti-Islam rally in Garland that included a “draw Muhammad” cartoon contest.

In our connected world, political violence can appear anywhere. And he can target innocent people at any time. Congregation Beth Israel, unfortunately, is proof that vigilance is always in order.

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This story was originally published January 15, 2022 8:11 p.m.

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