US Muslim Leader Calls for ‘Honest Reckoning’ With Islamist Antisemitism After Texas Synagogue Attack

American Muslim & Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) President Anila Ali.

January 18, 2022

Following Saturday’s hostage-taking incident at a synagogue in Texas, the head of a prominent U.S. Muslim organization is calling for an “honest reckoning” with Islamist antisemitism.

“We are relieved that the crisis at the synagogue ended with all hostages safe, and we are devastated that once again a Jewish house of worship has been attacked. Jews everywhere deserve to live in safety — and Muslim community leaders must step up to help ensure these attacks stop,” American Muslim & Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) President Anila Ali stated. “We appreciate Jewish community leaders who have urged that the synagogue attack not spark a counter-reaction of Islamophobia. The answer to hate is never hate.”

“At the same time,” she added, “silence is complicity — and we cannot stay silent about a climate of antisemitism tolerated by some Muslim leaders. Just as the Tree of Life Synagogue attack forced American society to confront far-right antisemitism, the Congregation Beth Israel attack requires an honest reckoning with demonization promoted by Islamist extremists.”

Ali specifically named Zahra Biloo, the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — who in a recent speech at a Muslim community event said, “We need to pay attention to the Zionist synagogues,” and described “polite Zionists” as “your enemies.”

“Labeling mainstream Jews as ‘enemies’ exacerbates intercommunal strife and creates the conditions for violence,” Ali noted. “Muslim leaders must insist upon zero tolerance for both overt and the thinly-veiled antisemitism — otherwise we betray our moral and religious duties. Let’s instead say the truth: the Jewish people are wonderful allies of Muslims. Shalom and Salaam!”

The perpetrator of Saturday’s attack in Colleyville — who was killed in a shootout with SWAT team members during the rescue operation in which the hostages were freed — has been identified as 44-year-old British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, from Blackburn, England.

Malik Faisal Akram.


Akram was seeking the release of convicted Islamist terrorist Aaifa Siddiqui, who is jailed at a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.

AMMWEC is a non-profit women’s rights organization empowering Muslim women to confront bigotry in all its forms, celebrate their heritage, and build strong bonds with fellow Americans of all backgrounds.

For the past two years, AMMWEC and the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) have co-hosted an interfaith Iftar event to mark Ramadan and promote peace, tolerance, and cooperation.

To learn more about AMMWEC, please visit: ammwec.org