British synagogue terrorist was referred to Prevent before attack
British synagogue terrorist was referred to PREVENT: More questions for security services as its revealed hostage taker, 44, was flagged to counterextremism scheme in 2016 after bitter split from wife
- Malik Faisal Akram was reportedly referred to Prevent in 2016 and MI5 in 2020
- 44-year-old terrorist said he was ‘bombed up’ and ‘ready to die’ in US synagogue
- Final phone call to his brother Gulbar, who urged him to give himself up to police
- But terrorist reacted with fury, telling him he had ‘prayed for two years for this’
- He was ranting about US involvement in Afghanistan and bringing ‘war’ to them
- Blackburn native was shot dead by an FBI SWAT team shortly after calls to home
- His father Malik said his son had ‘destroyed his own life and the lives of his family’
The Blackburn terrorist shot dead as he held up a synagogue in the US had previously been referred to counterextremism scheme Prevent, it has today been revealed.
Malik Faisal Akram, 44, had also been investigated by MI5 in 2020. However the father-of-six, who was shot dead by FBI SWAT teams last week while holding up a Texas synagogue, was not considered a terrorist threat.
The fresh revelations will heap yet more pressure on the Home Office over the anti-terror programme, which is already under scrutiny following the death of MP Sir David Amess.
Ali Harbi Ali, 25, the man who is accused of, and denies, murdering the Tory MP in a knife attack in his constituency of Southend in October, had been referred to Prevent some years ago.
And there was outrage last year after it was revealed the anti-extremism programme had been warned by refugee groups that Reading terrorist Khairi Saadallah, 27, who stabbed to death three friends in the Berkshire town, would carry out a ‘London Bridge style’ attack.
The Home Office have refused to comment on the claims, first reported in The Times, saying that Akram’s death is the subject of a police investigation.
The Blackburn terrorist shot dead as he held up a synagogue in the US had previously been referred to counterextremism scheme Prevent, it has today been revealed
Malik Faisal Akram, 44, had also been investigated by MI5 in 2020. However the father-of-six, who was shot dead by FBI SWAT teams last week while holding up a Texas synagogue, was not considered a terrorist threat
The FBI believe he bought a gun on the streets and armed himself with it when he entered the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue (pictured) in Colleyville, Texas last Saturday
The paper reports that the referral was made in 2016, as Akram’s marriage broke down.
His brother, Gulbar Akram reportedly told the paper that his sibling was ‘bitter’ about his ex-wife Farzana after she took custody of their six children.
How does Prevent work?
Under the Prevent programme, local authority staff and other professionals such as doctors, teachers and social workers have a duty to flag concerns about an individual being radicalised or drawn into a terrorism.
This report is then be passed to a local official charged with deciding whether the tip-off merits a formal referral. Prevent referrals are handled by expert officers in the local police force.
A flow diagram showing how the Prevent process works
Cases are then categorised depending on the nature of the individual’s alleged beliefs – based on evidence ranging from comments they have been overheard saying to their social media history.
People who are not viewed as either far-right or Islamist are categorised as having a ‘mixed, unstable or unclear’ ideology.
Less serious reports may be sent to council services, which could include parenting support for families whose children have been watching inappropriate videos online.
This graph shows the types of professionals who make the initial referrals
Serious reports are forwarded on to Prevent’s Channel stage, at which a panel of local police, healthcare specialists and social workers meeting monthly will consider the case.
At this stage, counter-terror police will be involved and will receive information from counsellors, social workers or theological mentors working with the individual concerned.
The marriage had been arranged in 2004 in the village of Jandala, about 70 miles southeast of Islamabad, where her family remained.
Family members told the Times that Akram, who ran a chain of pharmacies in the north-west, had helped pay for their family’s mansion – said to be the ‘second biggest house’ in the village.
‘He paid for all her brothers to get jobs abroad and paid for her father’s cancer drugs and treatments,’ Mr Akram said.
‘The pharmacy chain was in his wife’s name. He was bitter because he felt like she took everything away from him when they split up, especially his children.’
It is understood that Akram was given a 28-day domestic violence protection order at a magistrates’ court in May 2016.
His wife moved with the children to Liverpool and then to Manchester. His two eldest son would visit him in Blackburn.
Family had previously told MailOnline how Akram’s descent into more extreme religious views and his controlling behaviour had led to the marriage breakdown.
As a result of the breakdown, Akram shut down the pharmacies, while Prevent stepped in amid concerns of extremism.
In 2020 MI5 also investigated Akram, but decided he was not a threat.
Responding to the reports, a Home Office spokesperson said: ‘It would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing police investigation.’
The latest claims come after it was revealed Akram had ranted about ‘f***ing Jews’ and urged more British Muslims to launch jihad in the United States in a disturbing final phone call to his family just minutes before he was shot dead, it was revealed today.
It is said his decision to kidnap a rabbi and three others at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville on Saturday was his own declaration of war on America, claiming: ‘I’ve come to die’.
In a recording of his last phone call to his brother Gulbar, 43, Akram said he had promised their younger sibling Gulzameer, who died of Covid last year, ‘that I’d go down a martyr’, adding: ‘I’ve told my kids to man up. Don’t cry at my funeral. I’ve been praying to Allah for two years for this. I’m coming home in a body bag’.
Akram, who had been in the US for a fortnight and bought his gun ‘off the street’ in Texas, said: ‘I’m opening the doors for every youngster in England to enter America and f*** with them’. And in a message for fellow jihadists he said: ‘Live your f***ing life bro, you f***ing coward. We’re coming to f***ing America. F*** them if they want to f*** with us. We’ll give them f***ing war’.
His ranting about ‘f***ing Jews’ further undermines the FBI’s initial bizarre and insulting claims that the British terrorist’s attack wasn’t ‘specifically’ anti-Semitic, despite his decision to target a synagogue 4,500 miles from home and threaten to blow it up after two years of planning.
Within hours of the attack Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the 10-hour hostage siege a ‘terrible and anti-Semitic act of terrorism’ – but it took the FBI almost 48 hours to backtrack and come to the same conclusion.
The extraordinary rant, revealed in audio leaked to the Jewish Chronicle and where he claims to have been planning an attack on US soil for two years, also piles further embarrassment on MI5 and their failure to put him on a transatlantic no-fly list.
British spies watched him for a month at the end of December 2020 but decided he posed no risk, despite multiple reports he had been radicalised.
He had also ceased to worship at his father’s mosque and began attending meetings of a sect set up to ‘purify’ Islam and banned in Saudi Arabia as ‘one of the gates of terrorism’. Akram also had a criminal record dating back more than 25 years.
It came as two men were arrested in Manchester and Birmingham by British counter-terrorism police, who are working with the FBI.
The 44-year-old from Blackburn arrived in the US at New York’s JFK airport on a tourist visa in late December. But new details show that despite having been investigated by MI5, no red flags were raised and he was allowed to enter the country
Police are piecing together the terrorist’s final movements after arriving at JFK airport by January 2 before staying in a homeless hostel run by a Christian charity in Dallas before launching the attack on January 15
SOUTHEND – October 15, 2021: Tory MP Sir David Amess was fatally stabbed outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea near Southend while attending a constituency surgery. The Met declared it a terrorist incident. Suspect Ali Harbi Ali, 25, was referred to Prevent seven years ago.
READING – June 20, 2020: Khairi Saadallah, 27, fatally stabbed friends James Furlong, 36, Dr David Wails, 49, and Joseph Ritchie-Bennett, 39, in a knife attack at a town centre park. He later admitted the murders and was sentenced to a whole life order in prison. The Reading Refugee Support Group warned Prevent officials he could carry out a ‘London Bridge-style attack’. However, he was found to not have a ‘fixed ideology, the Independent reported.
STREATHAM – February 2, 2020: Sudesh Amman was shot dead by police after stabbing two people on a busy street in the south London area of Streatham while wearing a fake suicide vest. He was referred to Prevent but the panel decided his case did not require intervention.
LONDON BRIDGE – November 29, 2019: Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were stabbed to death by Usman Khan, 28, at a prisoner rehabilitation event. A man and two women were also injured before Khan, who was released from prison on licence in December 2018, was shot dead by armed officers on the bridge. An inquest heard his Prevent officers had ‘no specific training’ in handling terrorists.
PARSONS GREEN – September 15, 2017: Ahmed Hassan’s homemade bomb partially exploded on a London Underground rush hour train, injuring more than 50 people. He was sentenced to life with a minimum jail term of 34 years. He was referred to Prevent 20 months before he planted the bomb.
Gulbar Akram told him what he was doing was a ‘sin’ and urged him to give himself up, claiming he could ‘do a little time’ in prison and come back to Blackburn.
But Faisal exploded with rage, screaming: ‘I’d rather live one day as a lion than 100 years as a jackal. I’m going to go toe-to-toe with [police] and they can shoot me dead. I’m coming home in a body bag.
‘I’m bombed up, I’ve got f***ing every ammunition’, raving: ‘I’ve asked Allah for this death, Allah is with me, I’m not worried in the slightest’.
Turning on America’s involvement in Afghanistan he yelled: ‘Why do these f***ing motherf***ers come to our countries, rape our women and f*** our kids? I’m setting a precedent’.
He also demanded the release of jailed female terrorist Aafia Siddiqui – known as Lady Al Qaeda for attempting to kill US military personnel in Afghanistan – and that she be brought to the synagogue so they could both ‘die together’.
He said: ‘She’s in [prison] for 84 years, they f***ing framed her’, adding: ‘We’ll go toe to toe with them (police) in the yard. Shoot me dead. Shoot her dead’.
As it became increasingly clear that he was not going to give himself up – and was using calls with his family to say goodbye, Akram insists he is ready to die.
The call to Gulbar ends suddenly, shortly before his death, where he says simply: ‘I’ve got to go’ before hanging up’.
MailOnline has learned he also warned ‘I have hundreds of bullets’ in calls to his family as he threatened hostages.
The 44 year old from Blackburn could also be heard ranting about American involvement in Afghanistan in calls home as he held hostages in a Texas synagogue.
He was shot dead by an FBI SWAT team police shortly after the calls home to Lancashire.
His father Malik Akram revealed yesterday to MailOnline that the distressing phone calls to family friends – and said his jihadist son had ‘destroyed his own life and the lives of his family too.’
His grieving father, speaking in Urdu at his terraced home in Blackburn said: ‘What my son has done, I have no words to explain it or to understand what he did and why he did it.
‘It came as the biggest shock of my life when I heard he was in America and in a synagogue.
‘When I heard this, I thought somebody was having a joke. He has destroyed himself and he has destroyed us. My wife has not stopped crying.’
UK terror police arrest two men from Birmingham and Manchester after British terrorist, 44, was shot dead in Texas synagogue siege
Two men were arrested in Birmingham and Manchester this morning as part of the probe into the Texas synagogue attack by British hostage-taker Malik Faisal Akram.
The siege at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, ended in gunfire on Saturday night with all four hostages released unharmed and Akram shot dead.
Greater Manchester Police and Counter Terrorism Policing North West said in a joint statement issued at 8am today: ‘Officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North West continue to support US authorities with their investigation into the events in Texas.
‘As a result of this ongoing investigation, two men have been arrested this morning in Birmingham and Manchester. They remain in custody for questioning. CTP North West officers continue to liaise with and support colleagues from other forces.’
The statement added: ‘Communities Defeat Terrorism, and the help and support we get from the public is a vital part of that.
‘So we would urge everyone to remain vigilant, and if you do see anything suspicious then please report it, in confidence, to police via the Anti-terrorist hotline or gov.uk/ACT. It won’t ruin lives, but it may well save them’.
He said his son had phoned home several times during the siege and during those calls ranted about the US war in Afghanistan and threatened that he was armed and had ‘hundreds of bullets’.
Akram had fallen out with most of his family in the years leading up to his Texas terror bid, angered and alienating them with his extreme views, it’s understood.
His extreme views helped lead to the collapse of his marriage to his wife Farzana who complained of his ‘controlling’ behaviour, a close family friend disclosed.
The family source said he had been a controlling husband – and his mental state deteriorated as his marriage broke down and his view of Islam became more and more extreme.
They said: ‘He was very controlling towards his wife who he married in Jhelum, Pakistan around 2004. He forced his wife to wear the Purdah and would not let her out of his sight he even went to the GP with her if she had an appointment.
‘He argued with his family over their lifestyles and things like the men’s beards not being in line with what he saw as Islamic requirements. He wished for a Caliphate Britain.
He added: ‘He had no regular job or income. But how he came to become a man with such extreme views is the burning question.
‘He would criticise anybody he believed was not living up to his Islamic beliefs. He thought women should stay at home and never leave without their husbands.’
He added: ‘He had been in trouble with the police His father had very close links to the mosques and is a well- respected member of the local community. ‘But, basically, his son became a pain when it came to his religious views and his wish for a Caliphate Britain.
Mr Akram is now hoping American officials to release his son’s body so he can have his remains buried in a Blackburn cemetery where another son was laid to rest a few months ago after dying from Covid related issues.
‘I came to this country in 1963. All I have done here is to work hard and provide for my family.
‘I could never, ever think of harming anybody or taking anyone’s life’.
Malik Faisal Akram (pictured), 44, could be heard ranting about American involvement in Afghanistan in calls home as he held hostages in a Texas synagogue
A Texas Synagogue hostage flees, watched by a SWAT team officer perched in an armoured car
FBI shamed for claiming Texas synagogue attack wasn’t related to anti-Semitism
The FBI took days to finally admit the Texas synagogue siege was an anti-Semitic terror attack after initially claiming it was not directly targeting Jews.
Malik Faisal Akram, from Blackburn in the UK, held four people hostage, including a rabbi, for ten hours at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, Saturday night.
He targeted a Jewish place of worship 4,500 miles from home and repeatedly ranted about ‘f***ing Jews’.
Yet speaking Saturday after the attack, which ended with the death of Akram in a hail of bullets, FBI Special Agent Matt DeSarno said: ‘We do believe from our engaging with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community. But we’re continuing to work to find motive.’
The comments caused a huge backlash, with Republican Lindsey Graham firing back at the ‘disturbing’ remarks from investigators and demanding further explanation.
It also caused significant anger and grief in the Jewish community.
In a statement late Sunday night, the FBI backtracked and admitted the attack was ‘a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted’.
The slain terrorist, a father of six, attended the funeral of his brother Gulzameer last October after he died from Covid-19, although they had fallen out and not spoken for two years.
His parents are preparing to bury the remains of their slain son in Pleasington Cemetery, Blackburn, alongside Gulzameer’s grave
Their pensioner father, who worked in a Lancashire mill before his retirement added: ‘We lost our son and what a wonderful and handsome boy he was.
‘Now we have lost another son. Can you imagine our grief?’
He said the terrorist had drifted between addresses in Lancashire after his marriage ended, but has stayed close to two of his sons who would visit him and attend mosques with him.
Police investigating the extremist’s background in Britain arrested two teenagers but have since released them.
At one location where he stayed for a few months last year, he had no furniture and slept on the floor.
Mr Malik Akram said he had no idea how his son came to be in America and his family were looking for answers themselves.
But MI5 had probed his background after he spent six months in Pakistan in 2020.
He also had links with Syria and it was claimed he had told his family that he had visited Dubai
Malik Akram had a criminal record and was once branded a ‘menace’ for raving about the attack on the World Trade Centre more than 20 years ago.
The terror suspect was given a rare Exclusion Order at Blackburn’s magistrates’ court – the first in 25 years – for abusing staff about 9/11 on the day after the attack that claimed more than 2,750 lives.
He was also reported to have convictions connected to a drug deal, violent disorder and driving offences.
In 1996 he was jailed for six months for a baseball attack on a member of his family and a year later was gaoled for destroying property.
But he managed to bypass the US’s strict entry rules on convicted criminals and arrived in New York on January 2nd, staying in a cheap hotel in Queens.
The standoff ended when the last of the hostages ran out of the synagogue, and an FBI SWAT team rushed in 10 hours into the standoff and shot Akram dead. All four hostages were unharmed. Pictured: The scene outside Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville
The White House press secretary said the federal government had no ‘derogatory information’ on Akram before he landed in the United States
Synagogue terrorist Malik Faisal Akram is arrested outside his Blackburn home and bundled into a police van in 2018
He travelled to Dallas, Texas, and talked about finding himself a Mexican bride, while staying in homeless shelters.
The FBI believe he bought a gun on the streets and armed himself with it when he entered the synagogue in Colleyville, Texas last Saturday.
His brother Gulbar, told Sky News the terrorist was suffering from mental health issues and that he ‘wouldn’t have done this at all’ if he was offered more help in the UK.
He said he travelled across the Atlantic to demand the release of jailed female terrorist Aafia Siddiqui.
‘He feels strongly about her incarceration, he feels it is an injustice, but he did not do this by himself’ Gulbar said.
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