Funeral for British terrorist Malik Faisal Akram who was shot dead in Texas synagogue siege has been held in his home town in Blackburn
- Around 50 friends and relatives of Malik Faisal Akram attended the funeral
- His body was brought back from the US where he held up Texas synagogue
- Family members reportedly sobbed as he was buried in an elaborate casket
The funeral of the Blackburn terrorist who was shot dead in a synagogue siege in the US has been held in relative secrecy in his home town.
Around 50 friends and relatives of Malik Faisal Akram paid their last respects before his family released a statement apologising for his actions and speaking out against hatred.
The low key ceremony was held nearly three weeks after he held a Rabbi and three worshippers at gunpoint during a service at the Beth Israel Congregation Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.
One hostage was released after six hours and the others escaped several hours later on January 15 before Akram , 44, was shot dead by an FBI SWAT team.
The funeral of Blackburn terrorist Malik Faisal Akram who was shot dead in a synagogue siege in the US has been held in relative secrecy in his home town
Around 50 friends and relatives of the terrorist paid their last respects before his family released a statement apologising for his actions and speaking out against hatred
Akram held a Rabbi and three worshippers at gunpoint during a service at the Beth Israel Congregation Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas
The body of the father-of-six was flown back to London on Thursday before being brought back to Blackburn and kept overnight in time for the funeral at 9am on Friday.
Sources suggested that Akram’s family had to pay US authorities for the repatriation.
Janazah (funeral) prayers were said for him in the small prayer hall in the Muslim section of Pleasington cemetery on the outskirts of Blackburn, Lancashire.
Family members reportedly sobbed as he was buried in an elaborate casket next to his brother who died of Covid a few months ago.
Floral tributes of white flowers, spiked with red blooms and spelling out the words ‘Fes’, ‘Bro’, ‘Son’ and ‘Dad’ were placed at his graveside.
Most mourners wore Western-style jackets or hoodies because of the chilly weather, but some men were in traditional Shalwar Kameez attire
Janazah (funeral) prayers were said for him in the small prayer hall in the Muslim section of Pleasington cemetery on the outskirts of Blackburn, Lancashire
Most mourners wore Western-style jackets or hoodies because of the chilly weather, but some men were in traditional Shalwar Kameez attire.
Lancashire Police are said to have negotiated closely with the family because they did not want to see the funeral turn into a mass gathering with any glorification of Akram’s actions.
A source in Blackburn’s Muslim community said that the family had wanted the funeral to be held after traditional Friday prayers.
Police are said to have preferred the ceremony to be held in secrecy at 6am, and the family ended up agreeing a compromise time of 9am, according to the source.
The source added that false rumours were deliberately spread, suggesting the funeral would be held on Sunday, to minimise the size of the crowd
The Congregation Beth Israel synagogue is shown, Jan. 16, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas, where Akram held four people hostage before being shot by FBI and SWAT teams
A funeral notice circulated to Akram’s close family stated: ‘May Allah Swt forgive the deceased’s shortcomings and grant him a place in Jannat Al Firdous.’
Akram’s brother Gulbar said in a statement: ‘We would like to thank the police in the UK in particular Andy Meeks and Sarah O’Connor for their assistance in helping to return the body of our brother.
‘We would also like to thank everyone from the community and others who sent messages and also especially the messages from the Jewish community in the USA which were very surprising at this difficult time in our lives.’
Gulbar, 43, said the family were firmly against any forms of hatred and urged people to come together, saying: ‘I know a lot has been written and said in the past few weeks.
‘We know that right-minded people and those who believe in peace and the true message of Islam will never condone hatred and prejudice in all its forms.
Malik Faisal Akram, 44, died at the end of the 10 hour siege at a Texas synagogue on January 15
SWAT teams from the Colleyville Police Department responded to the synagogue after emergency calls began at about 10:41 a.m. during the Sabbath service
One of the four hostages is seen being escorted from the building shortly after 5pm. The other three would remain inside for several hours more
‘We will continue to apologise for his actions and hope that the victims who went through this horrible ordeal can move on with their lives.
‘As we have said before and will say again, this must and always will be about the victims and the experiences they went through.
‘As a family we feel a great deal of pain for those who went through this. We hope nothing like happens like this again the future.’
Last month Akram’s family had called for an investigation into how he managed to fly to the US, despite concerns over his extremist views.
He had twice been referred to the anti-terror programme ‘Prevent’ following the breakdown of his marriage and was investigated by MI5 in December 2020, but he was not considered a terrorist threat.
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
Members of the SWAT team are seen on Saturday outside the Colleyville synagogue
Akram was said to have been brought up in a ‘typically English way’, developing a love for loved Sunday roasts, Blackburn Rovers and the sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
But after spending time in a Pakistani military school in his teens and dropping out of business course in Britain, he became embroiled in an Islamic sect throughout his twenties.
He is said to have once burned £60,000 in cash outside a mosque in a stunt to represent the renouncing of his old life and movement away from ‘dirty money’.
Akram who once ran a chain of pharmacies bought the gun he used in the siege on the street for a reported $150 during his two weeks in the US.
He repeatedly ranted against the Jewish community after taking his hostages and demanded the release of jailed female terrorist Aafia Siddiqui – known as Lady Al Qaeda for attempting to kill US military personnel in Afghanistan.
Akram made a final call to his brother Gulbar in which he ranted about ‘f***ing Jews’ and declared he was ‘ready to die’.
He added in an audio of the call which was leaked to the Jewish Chronicle : ‘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’.
Four men who were arrested in Birmingham and Manchester in connection with the synagogue siege have all since been released without charge.
Who is Aafia Siddiqui, the ‘Lady Al Qaeda’ terrorist who planned chemical attacks on Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge
Siddiqui, who was a biology major at MIT, said in 1993 that she wanted to do ‘something to help our Muslim brothers and sisters’ even if it meant breaking the law.
She jumped to her feet and ‘raised her skinny little wrists in the air’ in a display of defiance that shocked her friends.
An in-depth account of her journey to infamy also reveals that she took a National Rifle Association shooting class and persuaded other Muslims to learn how to fire a gun.
Siddiqui lied to her husband and after they wed over the phone he was stunned to discover she was just marrying him for his family’s connections to better enable her to wage jihad.
Two handout photos of terror suspect Aafia Siddiqui released by the FBI in May of 2004
She was arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 by local forces who found her with two kilos of poison sodium cyanide and plans for chemical attacks on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building
Siddiqui, a mother-of-three, eventually got her twisted wish and became the most wanted woman in the world by the FBI.
She was handed to the Americans and convicted of attempted murder in a U.S. court in 2010.
But her hatred for the U.S. was so strong that during her interrogation she grabbed a rifle from one of her guards and shot at them shouting: ‘Death to Americans’.
A 2014 Boston Globe profile of Siddiqui’s time in Boston sought to answer what happened during her 11 years as a student in the U.S.
Something happened to radicalize an intelligent and devout woman who not only graduated from MIT but also got a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University.
At MIT she made few friends and was remembered as intelligent, driven and a regular at the Prospect Street mosque, which would later be attended by alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
She wore long sleeves and the hijab and was seen as ‘very sweet’ for a former roommate at her all-female dorm.
The focus of her life was the Muslim Student Association but things appear to have changed with the start of the Bosnian War, which seems to have been the beginning of her radicalization.
Siddiqui became involved with the Al-Kifah Refugee Centre, a Brooklyn-based organization which is thought to have been Al Qaeda’s focus of operations in the US.
Terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann said: ‘Aafia was from a prominent family with connections and a sympathy for jihad. She was just what they needed.’
In 1993 as she and some friends debated how to raise money for Muslims being killed during the Bosnian War, one of them joked that they didn’t want to go on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
Waqas Jilani, then a graduate student at Clark University, said: ‘She raised her skinny little wrists in the air and said: ‘I’d be proud to be on the Most Wanted list because it would mean I’m doing something to help our Muslim brothers and sisters’
‘She said we should all be proud to be on that list’.
Jilani added that Siddiqui said in her speeches that Muslims should ‘get training and go overseas and fight’.
He said: ‘We were all laughing like, ‘Uh-oh, Aafia’s got a gun!’
‘Part of it was because she was such a bad shot, but also because she was always mouthing off about the U.S. and the FBI being so bad and all.’
Siddiqui married Mohammed Amjad Khan, the son of a wealthy Pakistani family, in a ceremony carried out over the phone before he flew to Boston.
But upon arrival he discovered that far from being the quiet religious woman he had been promised, her life was very different.
He said: ‘I discovered that the well-being of our nascent family unit was not her prime goal in life. Instead, it was to gain prominence in Muslim circles.’
Khan described to the Boston Globe how she regularly watched videos of Osama bin Laden, spent weekends at terror training camps in New Hampshire with activists from Al-Kifah and begged him to quit his medical job so he could join her.
In the end he stopped bringing work colleagues home because she would ‘only to talk about them converting to Islam’.
Khan said: ‘Invariably this would lead to unpleasantness, so I decided to keep my work separate….
‘…By now, all her focus had shifted to jihad against America, instead of preaching to Americans so that they all become Muslims and America becomes a Muslim land’.
The breaking point was the September 11 2001 attacks after which Siddiqui, who was by now dressing in all black, insisted they return to Pakistan and got a divorce.
American officials suspect she remarried Ammar Al-Baluchi, the nephew of 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, though her family deny this.
Siddiqui and her children disappeared in Karachi, Pakistan in 2003 shortly after Mohammed was arrested.
The following year she was named by FBI director Robert Mueller as one of the seven most wanted Al Qaeda operatives, and the only woman.
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