Council Issues Statement on Hostage Situation at Texas Synagogue

The Montgomery County Council released a statement following the events at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, on the night of Jan. 15, when a gunman entered during a service which was being livestreamed on Facebook.

“The Montgomery County Council stands in solidarity with the Jewish community and those who endured a 10-hour hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas at Congregation Beth Israel. We are thankful for the swift action taken by law enforcement and for their ongoing investigation of this attack,” said the statement.

Four people were held hostage during a 10-hour standoff, which came to an end when an FBI SWAT team rushed into the synagogue. The captor, British national Malik Faisal Akram, 44, died at the scene. The hostages escaped the building to safety around 9 p.m.

“We also appreciate the efforts of our Montgomery County Police Department which has stepped up patrols at Jewish facilities across Montgomery County.” Additional security was provided to synagogues around Montgomery County Saturday night out of caution.

“Religious freedom is a fundamental right, and we cannot allow our houses of worship to become places of fear,” the council’s statement read. “Saturday’s attack is yet another frightening and painful reminder of how important it is to combat and condemn antisemitism in all its forms.”

In August 2021, the FBI reported anti-Semitic hate crimes were up, comprising 54.9% of all religious motivated crimes in 2020.

“We must stand united against the rise of extremism across our nation, state and community. We encourage residents to remain vigilant and report all acts of hate. We continue our ongoing commitment to protecting all houses of worship in our community and our residents from acts of violence and terror.”

For information on reporting hate crimes and bias-related incidents, visit Montgomery County’s resource database.

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