How Turning a Blind Eye to Anti-Semitism Paved the Way for the Colleyville Attack

January 19, 2022 | Daniel Johnson
About the author: Daniel Johnson, the founding editor (2008-2018) of the British magazine Standpoint, is now the founding editor of TheArticle and a regular contributor to cultural and political publications in the UK and the U.S.

Malik Faisal Akram, who held four Jews hostage at gunpoint in a Texas synagogue last Saturday, was a British Muslim who came to the United States apparently for the purpose of carrying out a terror attack. Since then, English police have taken two people into custody in connection with the case, and it seems that Akram should have raised red flags. Daniel Johnson writes:

Where did Akram acquire the beliefs that led him to commit such an act of terrorism? In Blackburn, where he lived, there is a large Muslim community; he is reported to be related to some of its most influential members. How is it that Akram’s hatred of Jews seemingly aroused no surprise or resistance in the community? Opinion polls have long suggested that Muslims are much more likely to hold anti-Semitic beliefs than the average Briton.

It is of course also true that Muslims are themselves subject to prejudice and attacks. This may explain but does not excuse the fact that reports on the BBC and other mainstream media made virtually no reference to Islamist anti-Semitism as a factor in Akram’s decision to target the Texas synagogue. Yet such lethal hatred is a daily reality for Jews on both sides of the Atlantic.

Turning a blind eye to “the oldest hatred” is not the action of a great nation and could never be condoned by decent Britons of all faiths and none. The transatlantic investigation of Akram’s crime must be rigorous and thorough. But the Muslim community, not only in Blackburn but elsewhere across Britain, should also take responsibility for the culture of casual anti-Semitism that allowed him first to drift into extremist territory, then to hatch his plot and carry it out, without anyone sounding the alarm. There have been too many Akrams before for him to be dismissed as just another “lone wolf.”

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