Less than two hours before a Pakistani-born British Muslim took four Jews hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas last Saturday, African-American Martial Simon pushed a young woman into an oncoming subway at the Times Square station in New York City.
In the first case, only the perpetrator wound up dead. In the second, it was the victim who lost her life.
These two unrelated incidents have more in common than immediately meets the eye. Both involved assailants who were well-known to law enforcement. Each was said by family members to be suffering from “mental illness.”
Let’s start with Malik Faisal Akram. Entering the synagogue during Shabbat-morning services and announcing his affiliation with Pakistani terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, the armed foreign national held the rabbi and three congregants captive for 11 hours straight. (The rest of the already dwindling flock was participating via Zoom, due to the spike in COVID-19 infection.)
For most of the day, FBI SWAT-team agents negotiated with Akram, whose reference to Siddiqui as his “sister” turned out to be an expression of ideological, rather than literal, kinship. But his emotional attachment to “Lady al-Qaeda” was strong enough for him to travel across the ocean to demand her release from the prison where she is serving an 86-year sentence for the attempted murder of US soldiers in Afghanistan and in connection with a plot to carry out a mass-casualty attack.
In exchange, Akram supposedly wouldn’t kill the innocent Jews he was terrorizing at gunpoint.
It was only through the grace of God, the resourcefulness of Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and the professionalism of the operatives that Akram’s was the only blood spilled that day at the temple. Thankfully, his victims – though undoubtedly traumatized – emerged physically unscathed.
A REVIEW of Akram’s movements in the lead-up to the vile deed shows that he arrived on December 29 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, having listed a hotel in Queens as the destination of his visit. Two days later, he was on a flight to Texas.
Though US President Joe Biden said that Akram “apparently” spent his first night in the city at a “homeless shelter,” and must have purchased his weapon “on the street,” police said he probably procured it in the Dallas area. Whatever the case, Akram had clearly and carefully calculated his moves prior to boarding a plane from the UK.
This didn’t stop his brother, Gulbar – an actual sibling, not like sister-in-spirit Siddiqui – from pointing to longstanding “mental-health issues” that “worsened” when another sibling died of COVID-19 some months ago, as the culprit.
He also accused US authorities of being lax about vetting. There’s irony for you.
“He’s known to police; got a criminal record,” Gulbar Akram said of Malik in multiple media interviews. “How was he able to enter America? Why was he granted a visa? How did he land at JFK Airport and not get stopped for one second? How was he able to acquire a gun?”
All valid questions. But anyone paying attention to the political and cultural climate in Biden’s America wouldn’t even bother asking. The very idea of conducting a background check on a Muslim causes Democrats in Congress to tremble in fear over the wrath of the “Squad.”
MEANWHILE, BRITAIN might want to engage in a bit of soul-searching where Akram is concerned, as well. According to a report on Monday in The Telegraph, he was barred permanently from the Blackburn Magistrates’ Court as far back as 2001. The rare “Exclusion Order” that banned him from the premises was issued in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, when he cursed at an usher by wishing he’d been killed on one of the planes that toppled the World Trade Center.
In other words, however ostensibly unstable poor Akram was during his life, his Islamist leanings were steady throughout. It’s no wonder, then, that he targeted Jews for his escapade in Colleyville. Antisemitism, after all, is an integral part, if not a key element of jihadism.
Just ask Siddiqui, who, by the way, is serving her time in Fort Worth’s Carswell Federal Medical Center, which houses female inmates of varying “security levels” and “mental-health needs.”
As Phyllis Chesler wrote on Wednesday for IPT (Investigative Project on Terrorism) News, “Siddiqui has revealed herself to be an inflamed Jew-hater. Her trial opened with a demand that her jury be genetically tested to ensure that there were no Jews among them. Her conviction was met by an outburst that it was ‘a verdict coming from Israel and not from America. That’s where the anger belongs.’”
In addition, according to Chesler, Siddiqui “reportedly wrote to [former] President [Barack] Obama, telling him the ‘cruel, ungrateful back-stabbing of the Jews... caused them to be mercilessly expelled from wherever they gain strength. This is why ‘holocausts’ keep happening to them repeatedly!’”
So much for any doubt there may have been regarding Akram’s choice of venue last weekend.
SIMON’S LOCATION of choice for his heinous crime was not random either. Pushing people onto the subway tracks has become a fad for the Big Apple’s “homeless” and “mentally ill.”
Michelle Go, Simon’s victim, was not as lucky as the Beth Israel worshipers. The Upper West Side resident literally didn’t know what hit her on that otherwise ordinary Saturday.
A woman who saw Simon charging through the platform with his arms positioned to commit the murder didn’t have time to do anything but move out of his way. In that split second, warning others of his onslaught wasn’t even an option.
Nor was anybody able to jump to Go’s rescue, in the way that a few heroic New Yorkers have done recently in the face of similar brutality, because the train was already on a fast approach. All that was left for those witnessing her plunge to her death was to scream in horror.
Simon, who exited the station as swiftly as he had entered it, turned himself in to police. This was fortunate, since NYPD officers were busy nearby quashing a demonstration against vaccine mandates. Had he disappeared into the crowd, he might easily have evaded arrest – as long as he’d been wearing a surgical mask, that is.
His sister, Josette Simon, wept on his behalf during an interview on Monday, telling the New York Post that she once begged a hospital not to let him out. She said that now-61-year-old had been diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was in his 30s, and that his condition “worsened” after their mother died 23 years ago.
“She was taking care of him,” Josette said. “She had to call the police on him a couple of times, but after that, he went downhill. He’s been in and out of mental hospitals [for] at least 20 years.”
She added that, at some point, “one of my sisters took him in. He stayed [in Georgia], and then he said, ‘I have to go back to New York.’”
THE NYPD said that Simon, described by most news outlets as “homeless,” has a long history of criminal activity, incarceration and parole. A comparison of his sister’s account with that of the police reveals a timeline that’s more than merely vague.
One certainty, however, is that he’s being charged with Go’s murder, as he should be. This doesn’t mean that he’ll be deemed competent to stand trial, though – being “mentally ill” and all. If he’d at least been shot and killed, like Akram, the question would be moot.
This is not to say that Akram was of sound mind and that Simon isn’t delusional. That’s for psychiatrists to determine, which, apparently, they already did. If so, they must have missed the genuine threat that these men posed.
Either way, they both should have been locked up for good long ago, either in jail or in an institution for the criminally insane. Akram is finally where he belongs. Let’s hope to be able to say the same about Simon. Anyone who feels otherwise needs to have his head examined.