The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has admitted that Malik Faisal Akram, 44, the terrorist who attacked a synagogue during Sabbath services on Saturday and held four people hostage, “targeted” the Jewish community.
Initially, as Breitbart News reported, the FBI appeared to downplay any antisemitic motives, saying it was “not specifically related to the Jewish community,” perhaps because Akram said he wanted the U.S. to free a convicted terrorist known as “Lady Al-Qaeda.”
But after a wave of criticism, including from Jewish groups, the FBI reversed its position. ““This is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted, and is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force,” it said, according to a report by Fox News’ Jake Gibson.
Newest FBI statement on Colleyville just in – per Fox’s @JakeBGibson: “This is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted, and is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) January 17, 2022
The FBI’s initial reluctance to state what many people felt was obvious drew renewed outrage for a variety of reasons. One is a perception that the federal government is reluctant to identify terrorism as such when a Democrat is in the White House; the 2009 attack on Fort Hood by a radical Islamist, which killed 13 people, was called “workplace violence.”
Another is that the Department of Justice is currently pursuing right-wing extremism and recently launched a “domestic terrorism” unit, though it largely ignored left-wing violence for years. The media, too, has played its part, largely ignoring the racist motivations of a black radical who killed a Capitol Police officer last year, or the racist and left-wing extremist views of the man who carried out a massacre in Waukesha, Wisconsin, at a Christmas parade last year.
In the wake of the charging of several January 6 rioters with “seditious conspiracy,” while no such charges have been filed against the Black Lives Matter rioters and Antifa activists who attacked federal buildings, local governments, and law enforcement throughout 2020, the FBI’s reluctance to identify extremism from the left or from a perceived minority group has rankled critics.
There was also outrage at the FBI, particularly from the Jewish community, simply due to the fear that the government has not taken the threat of antisemitism seriously enough, even as there have been several attacks on synagogues in recent years.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.