Skip To Content
Fast Forward

FBI walks back claim that Texas attack was ‘not specifically related to the Jewish community’

The FBI released a statement late Sunday night describing the Colleyville hostage synagogue crisis as a “terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted.”

The statement is a departure from comments made on Saturday by the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas field office, who said the hostage-taker was focused on an issue “not specifically related to the Jewish community” — a claim that baffled and angered many Jewish leaders.

In the new statement, the FBI claimed to “never lose sight of the threat extremists pose to the Jewish community and to other religious, racial, and ethnic groups.”

The Saturday attack on Congregation Beth Israel by Malik Faiasal Akram, a British citizen, is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. President Joe Biden has called it an act of terror.

In a Monday interview with the Forward, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker said there was no doubt that antisemitic conspiracy theories drove Akram’s decision to hold him and several congregants hostage for 11 hours.

“This was somebody who literally thought that Jews control the world,” Cytron-Walker said. “He thought he could come into a synagogue, and we could get on the phone with the ‘Chief Rabbi of America’ and he would get what he needed.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.