Texas synagogue attack condemned by NJ leaders

New Jersey community leaders condemned Saturday’s attack on a Jewish house of worship in Texas and said the act reflected growing anti-Semitism across the country.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, a British citizen, took hostages at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday, according to the FBI and media reports. He appears to have acted alone, according to the office.

Akram was killed and none of the four hostages were seriously injured, according to USA TODAY.

Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg — a former Lakewood committee member and spokesman for the Lakewood Vaad, a group of Orthodox Jewish businesses and community leaders — said he was grateful the hostages were rescued by security forces. ‘order. Weisberg said he fears the incident is another example of the rise in deadly violence in community spaces that were once considered safe.

Law enforcement officials across the country increased security around Jewish neighborhoods, schools and places of worship in response to the attack, he said.

Police respond to a hostage situation at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on January 16 in Colleyville, Texas.

“It is so sad and tragic that our country, with its cherished principles of diversity and tolerance, is once again subjected to the murderous bigotry of hateful extremists,” Weisberg said. “This shame is further compounded by the location and activities of the attack – a place of worship during prayer services, and the well-known reputation of this temple and its rabbi as models of coexistence and mutual respect in their community. We can only pray for survivors to heal from this ordeal and trauma.”

The synagogue’s Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker was among the hostages, according to USA TODAY.

COVID update:Is this the peak of the omicron? NJ COVID hospitalizations drop for fourth day

WEATHER:The latest NJ weather forecast on Sunday calls for snow in the Northwest, flurries and flooding in Shore

US Representative Chris Smith, R-NJ, co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, said Saturday’s hostage crisis was a reminder of increasing acts of anti-Semitism and violence against the Jewish community .

“We must condemn hatred of Jews wherever it occurs and from wherever it comes, and Congress must continue to provide strong funding for the protection of synagogues and other places of worship,” he said. said Sunday in a statement.

U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, DN.J., said he was devastated by the attack on the Texas synagogue.

“My thoughts are with the Jewish community in Colleyville,” he said in a Posting on Twitter. “This tragic incident shows why we must fight the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States. Fortunately, all hostages are now safe and sound.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Twitter, said he was praying for the safety of the hostages.

“Members of the Jewish community should be able to practice their faith without fear,” he said.

The FBI investigation had extended to Britain and Israel, according to USA TODAY.

Amanda Oglesby is from Ocean County and covers the townships of Brick, Barnegat and Lacey as well as the environment. She has worked for the press for more than a decade. Reach her at @OglesbyAPP, [email protected] or 732-557-5701.