Bishop of Fort Worth asks for prayers for Synagogue hostage situation involving alleged Al Qaeda terrorist

Alejandro Bermudez   By Alejandro Bermudez for CNA

 

Breaking News / CNA

Fort Worth, Texas, Jan 15, 2022 / 20:02 pm (CNA).

Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, made an urgent request to Catholics to pray for those involved in a hostage situation that was still developing at a synagogue in nearby Colleyville Saturday evening.

“Please pray for the safety of the hostages, their families, this congregation, for the members of law enforcement, and for the peaceful surrender of the perpetrator(s) of this crime,” said Bishop Olson in a brief message posted on his Twitter account.

Authorities northeast of Fort Worth were negotiating with a man who took people hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas.  The service was being live streamed on Facebook on Saturday, Jan. 15 when a ranting man, claiming to be Aafia Siddiqui’s brother, interrupted the ceremony and took four hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker.

Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lived in the Boston area before returning to Pakistan, is a controversial figure. She is regarded by U.S. intelligence as a dangerous terrorist with deep Al Qaeda connections who plotted against U.S. military forces in Afghanistan; but she is seen as a national hero by Pakistan, who has repeatedly requested her release.

A mother of three and the only woman sentenced for terrorists actions in connection with 9/11, Siddiqui has been jailed at the Federal Medical Center-Carswell prison in Fort Worth since 2008 when she was convicted and sentenced on charges involving assault and firing of a weapon at U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan. The Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who defends Siddiqui’s innocence, announced in July 2021 that she had been attacked by another inmate and was in solitary confinement.

The attacker released one hostage at 5:00 PM local time; but by 8:30 PM, he continued to demand Siddiqui’s release and said: “I know that I am going to die.”

Saddiqui’s lawyer, Marwa Elbially, released a statement saying that “We want to verify that the perpetrator is NOT Dr. Aafia’s brother who is a respected architect and member of the community. Whoever the assailant is, we want him to know that his actions are condemned by Dr. Aafia and her family,” calling the suspect’s actions “heinous and wrong.”

Aafia has one brother and one sister.

Most of the press covering the live negotiations involving the FBI, local police, and a SWAT team are operating from Good Shepherd Catholic Church, a tenth of a mile away from the synagogue.

This is a developing story.

 


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