Texas hostage taker’s Pakistan connection
According to official sources based in London, Malik Akram was a member of the pan-Islamic Tablighi Jamaat and had travelled abroad for works related to the organisation.
UK national Malik Faisal Akram from Blackburn, the hostage-taker at the synagogue in Texas on Saturday, hailed from the Jhelum district in Punjab, Pakistan, and his family had emigrated to the UK nearly 50 years ago. Akram, who died during the situation, had identified himself as Faisal Siddiqui, brother of Pakistan-born neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui and had asked for her release from a federal prison in Texas, where she is serving an 86-year sentence for attempting to murder US soldiers in Afghanistan in 2010.
According to official sources based in London, 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.
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His father is a known member of the Muslim community in London and the family also has political links through Malik Irfan, a Councillor linked to the Labor Party.
Further, Akram also briefly served as the head of the Rondell street Islamic Centre in the London area, also known as Reza Masjid, where largely Muslims of Pakistani origin prayed. He also prayed at the Eldorado Masjid that was frequented by Gujarati Muslims in the region. He is a known participant in demonstrations supporting pro-Palestine agenda and Guantanamo Bay prisoner rallies and approved of Jihad.
Meanwhile, two teenagers, believed to be Akram’s sons, were arrested from Blackburn, UK, on Sunday following a raid there.
Aafia Siddiqui, also known as Lady Al Qaeda, was married to the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Pakistani national and the prime accused in the 9/11 attack. Several pan-Islamic jihadist groups have made attempts in the past to secure the release of Siddiqui, who has doctorate from Brandeis University.