Dear Community Member,
We have been monitoring what many of you have likely been following today, the horrifying hostage situation involving Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, where a man entered the Synagogue during Shabbat services earlier today, reportedly took four hostages and demanded the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui. Fortunately, and through the efforts of many law enforcement professionals, all of the hostages have been released. This continues to be an ongoing law enforcement operation and we expect to learn more in the days and weeks to come.
A team of ADL professionals mobilized and is on the ground in Colleyville working with law enforcement and local Jewish community leaders, the Secure Community Network (SCN) and the local Jewish Federation to share resources and intelligence as the situation develops.
ADL’s Center on Extremism is providing and sharing information about the suspect and the purported connection to Siddiqui. ADL CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, and Jewish Federation of North America President and CEO, Eric Fingerhut, have been speaking with national media (CNN and MSNBC) throughout the late afternoon about the incident's connection to antisemitism and international terrorism and the security challenges faced my Jewish institutions across the country.
Note that Aafia Siddiqui was found guilty in 2010 in a New York federal court of two counts of attempted murder, armed assault, using and carrying a firearm and assault of U.S. officers and employees for shooting at federal agents and American soldiers while she was detained in Afghanistan. She was sentenced to 86 years in prison. In recent weeks, months, and years protesters and activists have called for Siddiqui’s release from the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, TX. Protesters claim she is a “prisoner of conscience” and a “victim of the U.S. war on terror.” For more information on Aafia Siddiqui, see this backgrounder just re-posted on the ADL website from 2010.
Locally, ADL San Diego has been in contact with law enforcement, and there are currently no known threats to local Jewish communities in the San Diego region.
Jewish Federation of San Diego and ADL San Diego encourage all organizations to constantly evaluate their security efforts and to maintain vigilance in implementing them. As always, in a situation with an imminent threat, please call "911." In all circumstances regarding incidences of hate, antisemitism, and extremism, please enter a report into the ADL's Incident Response System.
We know that you join us in thanking law enforcement on the scene who worked hard to bring this to a successful conclusion. We are grateful for the peaceful resolution of this horrible incident; no one should feel unsafe in a house of worship.
Tammy Gillies, Regional Director of ADL San Diego
Heidi Gantwerk, President & CEO of Jewish Federation of San Diego County
For the most up-to-date information, please follow the ADL National Twitter feed or Federation’s Security Community Network’s Twitter Feed.
Please login to leave a comment