Tag Archive for: Texas

59 Years Ago Today, This Young Couple Was Waiting to See the President

Going through a box of memorabilia from family and friends recently, I found two letters. (The story you’re about to read is true; the names have been changed to protect the innocent.) On the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, a young married professional in Dallas wrote to his parents. After discussing some recently purchased furniture, he added off-handedly:

In about three hours from now the President and his party will pass in front of our office. It is raining and the city is out with street washers washing it off and people out in the rain picking up paper. It is really comical. Laura has a Doctor’s appointment this morning and then she is coming by here and we are going to lunch. Aaron is going to meet us for lunch. Laura wants to go over to the Trade Mart for lunch so that she can see Jackie. I don’t know how much we will be able to see but I guess we will go over.

If it had kept raining, the 35th president of the United States would not have been riding in an open car. But the skies cleared up, and the program went on as planned.

This young man followed up with another letter on Nov. 23, 1963:

Dear Mother and Dad:

I am sure that you as well as we and the rest of the country find it hard to believe what happened yesterday.

Laura and I had gone to the Marriott Motel across from the Trade Mart to have a sandwich before going over to the Trade Mart to hear Kennedy. We had just paid the check and were walking out when we saw the two Presidential limousines pass the front of the Trade Mart. This was the route that they were to take and he was to enter the side door of the Trade Mart. I told Laura that they certainly were going pretty fast. We actually could not tell what had happened or if anything was wrong.

We went into the Trade Mart and most of the people were seated for the banquet. A friend of mine came up to me and told me the President had been shot. As most people would have thought we took it as a joke. We began to tell that he was serious and then someone came up with a radio. The people in the banquet area still had not heard the news and they were still playing music. We had been informed by a policeman that we would not be able to leave until the President left. I told Laura at the time that this was the time to get out before they announced it to the crowd. We got out and headed for the car.

There is more. Read the rest here.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

U.S. State GDPs Compared to Entire Countries

It’s pretty difficult to even comprehend how ridiculously large the US economy is.


Click here to view the U.S. State GDPs Compared to Entire Countries map.

The map above (click to view and enlarge) matches the economic output (Gross Domestic Product) for each US state (and the District of Columbia) in 2018 to a foreign country with a comparable nominal GDP last year, using data from the BEA for GDP by US state (average of Q2 and Q3 state GDP, since Q4 data aren’t yet available) and data for GDP by country from the International Monetary Fund. Like in past years, for each US state (and the District of Columbia), I’ve identified the country closest in economic size in 2018 (measured by nominal GDP) and those matching countries are displayed in the map above and in the table below. Obviously, in some cases, the closest match was a country that produced slightly more, or slightly less, economic output in 2018 than a given US state.

It’s pretty difficult to even comprehend how ridiculously large the US economy is, and the map above helps put America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $20.5 trillion ($20,500,000,000,000) in 2018 into perspective by comparing the economic size (GDP) of individual US states to other country’s entire national output. For example:

  1. America’s largest state economy is California, which produced nearly $3 trillion of economic output in 2018, more than the United Kingdom’s GDP last year of $2.8 trillion. Consider this: California has a labor force of 19.6 million compared to the labor force in the UK of 34 million (World Bank data here). Amazingly, it required a labor force 75% larger (and 14.5 million more people) in the UK to produce the same economic output last year as California! That’s a testament to the superior, world-class productivity of the American worker. Further, California as a separate country would have been the 5th largest economy in the world last year, ahead of the UK ($2.81 trillion), France ($2.79 trillion) and India ($2.61 trillion).
  2. America’s second largest state economy—Texas—produced nearly $1.8 trillion of economic output in 2018, which would have ranked the Lone Star State as the world’s 10th largest economy last year. GDP in Texas was slightly higher than Canada’s GDP last year of $1.73 trillion. However, to produce about the same amount of economic output as Texas required a labor force in Canada (20.1 million) that was nearly 50% larger than the labor force in the state of Texas (13.9 million). That is, it required a labor force of 6.2 million more workers in Canada to produce roughly the same output as Texas last year. Another example of the world-class productivity of the American workforce.
  3. America’s third largest state economy—New York with a GDP in 2018 of $1.68 trillion—produced slightly more economic output last year than South Korea ($1.65 trillion). As a separate country, New York would have ranked as the world’s 11th largest economy last year, ahead of No. 12 South Korea, No. 13 Russia ($1.57 trillion) and No. 14 Spain ($1.43 trillion). Amazingly, it required a labor force in South Korea of 28 million that was nearly three times larger than New York’s (9.7 million) to produce roughly the same amount of economic output last year! More evidence of the world-class productivity of American workers.
  4. Other comparisons: Florida (about $1 trillion) produced almost the same amount of GDP in 2018 as Mexico ($1.19  trillion), even though Florida’s labor force of 10.2 million less than 20% of the size of Mexico’s workforce of 59 million.
  5. Even with all of its oil wealth, Saudi Arabia’s GDP in 2018 at $683 billion was below the GDP of US states like Pennsylvania ($793 billion) and Illinois ($863 billion).

Overall, the US produced 24.3% of world GDP in 2017, with only about 4.3% of the world’s population. Four of America’s states (California, Texas, New York and Florida) produced more than $1 trillion in output and as separate countries would have ranked in the world’s top 16 largest economies last year. Together, those four US states produced nearly $7.5 trillion in economic output last year, and as a separate country would have ranked as the world’s third-largest economy.

Adjusted for the size of the workforce, there might not be any country in the world that produces as much output per worker as the US, thanks to the world-class productivity of the American workforce. The map above and the statistics summarized here help remind us of the enormity of the economic powerhouse we live and work in.

So let’s not lose sight of how ridiculously large and powerful the US economy is, and how much wealth, output, and prosperity is being created every day in the largest economic engine there has ever been in human history. This comparison is also a reminder that it was largely free markets, free trade, and capitalism that propelled the US from a minor British colony in the 1700s into a global economic superpower and the world’s largest economy, with individual US states producing the equivalent economic output of entire countries.

This article is reprinted with permission from The American Enterprise Institute.

AUTHOR

Mark J. Perry

Mark J. Perry is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Federal Court Upholds Texas Social Media Bill, Rules Corporations Do Not Have ‘Right’ To Censor

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals preserved Texas state law Friday that would stop large social media platforms from restricting particular opinions.

Texas’ HB 20 was signed last year and generally prohibits platforms with over 50 million monthly U.S. users from censoring them based on their viewpoints. The Computer Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the NetChoice organization, representing social media companies, argued that aspects of the law were unconstitutional but failed to convince the court.

“In urging such sweeping relief, the platforms offer a rather odd inversion of the First Amendment,” the court’s majority decision said. “That Amendment, of course, protects every person’s right to ‘the freedom of speech.’ But the platforms argue that buried somewhere in the person’s enumerated right to free speech lies a corporation’s unenumerated right to muzzle speech.”

The appeals court must give the district court that previously decided the case written instructions for the law to become effective, according to Politico. A 5-4 May U.S. Supreme Court ruling had halted the law from going into force after an emergency request by the CCIA and NetChoice.

Appealing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton celebrated the circuit court’s decision Friday, tweeting, “#BigTech CANNOT censor the political voices of ANY Texan! The 5th Circuit ‘reject[s] the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say.”

CCIA President Matt Schruers decried the ruling, stating, “Forcing private companies to give equal treatment to all viewpoints on their platforms places foreign propaganda and extremism on equal footing with decent Internet users, and places Americans at risk,” according to The Hill.

The Supreme Court could still be asked to directly consider the law’s validity, the outlet reported.

In May, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a block on enforcing parts of Florida Senate Bill 7072, which would require social media platforms to explain the reasons for individual acts of supposed censorship, deplatforming and shadow banning and stop them from censoring a “journalistic enterprise based on the content of its publication or broadcast,” according to The National Law Review.

“We are disappointed that the Fifth Circuit’s split decision undermines First Amendment protections and creates a circuit split with the unanimous decision of the Eleventh Circuit,” NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo said in a Friday press release. “We remain convinced that when the U.S. Supreme Court hears one of our cases, it will uphold the First Amendment rights of websites, platforms, and apps.”

NetChoice declined the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. The CCIA did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

AUTHOR

TREVOR SCHAKOHL

Legal reporter. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Facebook Spied On Conservative Users’ Private Messages, Fed ‘Leads’ To The FBI: REPORT

EDITORS NOTE: The Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

$2.1 Million Worth Of Meth Seized At Texas Border Crossing

Texas border patrol agents seized $2.1 million worth of liquid methamphetamine from a vehicle attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico, according to authorities.

The seizure took place at the Rio Grande City Port of Entry, and the total weight of the liquid drug amounted to 110 pounds, CNN reported.

The bust allegedly occurred last Sunday after a 2012 Dodge was stopped by federal officials for further inspection while attempting to cross the border.

Federal agents at the entrance point unveiled the hidden stash via “non-intrusive inspection system” technology and brought in K-9 units as well, according to New York Daily News.

The alleged driver of the vehicle was an unidentified 41-year-old American citizen, the outlet added.

Both the drugs and the driver were handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for additional investigation.

Earlier this month, San Diego County, California, experienced one of the biggest drug busts in U.S. history.

Officials followed a suspicious commercial-sized truck that crossed the border from Mexico, seized five thousand pounds of meth and arrested four men that hailed from Tijuana, Mexico.

AUTHOR

ALEXANDER PEASE

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Next Generation of Jihad Suicide Bombers is Being Trained at an Islamic School in Houston, Texas

Americans have gotten very comfortable thinking that 9/11 is in the rearview mirror and that after Afghanistan and Iraq, we’ve done enough and we don’t have to think about it anymore. Islamic terrorist plots keep happening and migration is changing the country’s demographics. Mehmet Oz’s GOP/MAGA Senate nomination in PA has been a political game changer that has mostly flown under the radar. Gitmo is being emptied. We think we’ve won when actually we’re losing. Badly.

Here’s a little preview of what’s coming.

The lines include, “I make an oath…one day when you need me, I will be your martyr.”

Here’s a little background.

The Islamic Education Center of Houston, Texas, is organizing a “group recitation” — sung by children as young as four — of a new Iranian anthem saluting Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

“The song Salam Farmande is an expression of one’s love for the Imam of our age,” says the center.

And a little more.

Iran has marked the 33rd anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s death with a new revolutionary anthem sung by boys and girls segregated in town squares, mosques and stadiums across the country.

In order to convey to the young generations the zeal of the 1979 revolutionary days, the regime has resorted to making multiple music videos of children born in the last decade, singing the anthem, “Salute Commander.” They give a military salute, pledging their unswerving loyalty to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The original Persian lyrics of the anthem are heavily ideological: “In spite of my small size, when the time comes I will rise up for you … I am a child but the life of my family and I belong to you.”

The children also raise their right arm and sing: “I make an oath to become your Qassem Soleimani when you need me,” and pledge to become Khamenei’s “nameless soldiers,” a reference to Iran’s intelligence operatives.

When the children in the UK sing “We wait under the flag of our leaders,” there should be no doubt that they refer not to the Queen, but to the Supreme Leader of Iran.

MEMRI had documented a previous effort by the Islamic Education Center of Houston.

On February 20, 2019, the Islamic Education Center of Houston, Texas uploaded to its YouTube channel a video of a February 17 ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Morteza Kazemian, a tenth grader, spoke and said that the United States continues to sanction Iran because it is scared of it and that America’s two goals in the Middle East are to support Israel and Saudi Arabia. The audience chanted: “Away with the humiliation… Allah Akbar! Khamenei is our Leader!” In addition, young boys wearing scarves and green headbands sang a song that went: “We are your followers, you are our Leader… We are your soldiers, and together we can all be your power… May Allah always keep your hand upon us… A warrior just like the Battle of Khaybar… May you always be the light to our guidance.”

Khaybar notes the beginning of the Islamic ethnic cleansing of the Jews which originated the phrase, “Allahu Akbar”.

The real war at home is still coming.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Representative Elect Flores Obliterates Kamala Harris With Just Three Words

Republican Texas Rep.-elect Mayra Flores needed only three words when responding to Vice President Kamala Harris’s claim about “progress” being made at the southern border Thursday.

“She’s honestly useless,” Flores said. “I don’t know why she’s in that position. She hasn’t been here in south Texas to see what their policies are creating, the mess that they’re creating in our country, and that their policies are hurting real people.”

WATCH:

Flores defeated Democratic candidate Dan Sanchez in a special election Tuesday to fill a vacancy until January 2023, flipping a seat in a district that is 85% Hispanic. She avoided a runoff by picking up 51% of the vote and will face Democratic Rep. Vincente Gonzalez in a redrawn district in November.

The seat was formerly held by Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, who resigned to become a lobbyist. Vela won his last election by 13 points in 2020, but Republicans have picked up support in the Rio Grande Valley and in Nevada, two formerly blue strongholds.

President Joe Biden appointed Harris as “border czar” in March 2021. Authorities encountered 239,416 migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in May after encountering over 234,000 migrants in April, United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reported Wednesday.

The last event Harris held regarding immigration and border issues was a January meeting with Honduran president Xiomara Castro. During that meeting, Harris and Castro discussed “root causes” behind migration, according to a White House briefing.

Flores and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

AUTHOR

HAROLD HUTCHISON

Reporter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Republican Mayra Flores Wins South Texas District Democrats Carried By 13 Points In 2020

Republican Mayra Flores, a first-time candidate for elected office, won the special election in Texas’ 34th District to complete the term of former Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela, who resigned in March.

With more than 70% of votes counted, Flores held 51% support, and Democrat Dan Sanchez garnered 43.5%. Despite the presence of two other candidates on the ballot, one Democrat and one Republican, Flores was able to avoid a run-off. Several elections analysts called the race shortly after 10 pm Eastern Time.

The special election was spurred on by Vela’s resignation on March 31. The five-term moderate had announced in March 2021 that he would not seek re-election in 2022, and left the lower chamber on March 31 to take a job at the Washington, DC-based corporate law firm Akin Gump.

Vela won re-election by 13.6% in 2020, and Joe Biden won the district by four points.

Flores, who received endorsements from House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, won the primary on March 1 to run in November’s general election against Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez. Gonzalez will attempt to switch districts from the 15th, which was redistricted into a toss-up seat. That new 34th District will lean 17 points towards the Democrats, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Elected Democrats and party strategists have repeatedly expressed concern that Hispanic and Latino voters are swinging towards the Republican Party. Biden’s approval rating with Hispanic and Latino voters sits in the mid-20s, several recent polls have shown, the worst of any ethnic group. The 34th District is 85% Hispanic, the U.S. Census found in 2020, one of the most Hispanic congressional seats in the country.

The Republican National Committee and GOP members of Congress have expanded outreach in Hispanic and Latino communities. House Republicans announced the Hispanic Leadership Trust in May, and co-chairman and Texas Rep. Tony Gonzalez campaigned for Flores. The RNC opened several Hispanic outreach centers in South Texas in 2021.

AUTHOR

MICHAEL GINSBERG

Congressional reporter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

American Southwest border sees 6000-8000 illegals a day, expected to ‘quickly double’

Not only is the Biden administration a global embarrassment, but it is also destroying America from within. The American Southwest border has seen a whopping 6000-8000 illegals a day enter, and it is now projected that the number will “quickly double” since the announcement of the end of the CDC Emergency Title 42 expulsion authority.

Since anyone is free to slip through America’s borders — including criminals, dealers and jihadists — it is no surprise that five sexual predators were arrested in the West Texas border sector in a week, or that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 123 pounds of drugs at El Paso area ports of entry over the past weekend.

While Biden builds a voter base comprising of illegals, America continues to crumble.

“EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: 250 Migrants Appear in One Hour in West Texas Town,” by Randy Clark, Breitbart, April 12, 2022:

EAGLE PASS, Texas — Border Patrol agents scrambled to respond to several large migrant groups early Tuesday. The migrants made landfall just south of the city in a steady flow to surrender. One subgroup of more than 100 were mostly Cubans.

Border Patrol agents took the group of mostly adult males into custody and began the task of gathering basic biographical information and inventories of personal property. Several Border Patrol trucks brought more migrants to a roadway from the riverbank. There were some female migrants carrying infants and young children.

According to a Customs and Border Protection source, the flow of migrants just south of the city has been steadily increasing since the announcement of the end of the CDC Emergency Title 42 expulsion authority. The CDC announced on April 1 that the emergency order will expire on May 23. As word of the program’s sunset spreads, the source says the increase in migrant crossings is likely to grow.

The source says daily apprehension totals are between 6,000 to 8,000 migrants per day across the entire southwest border – a figure which could quickly double. Even at the current pace, Border Patrol facilities are experiencing overcrowding….

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

TEXAS: Ranchers’ Lives Disrupted by Migrant Trespassers, Break-Ins, Gun Threats, Assaults, Destruction of Property

In a troubling exclusive that mainstream media continues to avoid, Breitbart reports about the crisis at the Southern border.

The role of government is to improve the lives of its citizens and prioritize national security, but that’s not Joe Biden’s concern.

In a relatively short space of time, Biden’s leadership has been catastrophic for America. His mishandling of Afghanistan, his reckless open-door immigration policy, his disastrous pursuit of a new Iran nuclear deal, his incompetence in dealing with Russia, and more — there is just no end in sight to the damage that Biden continues to do to American interests.

Few among media have adequately covered the crime and national security risks posed by the wide-open Southern border. On top of everything else, there is a jihad threat. In 2019, the Mexico “terror path” was proven, as jihadis infiltrated the refugee stream and entered the U.S. Judicial Watch stated:

More evidence has emerged that Middle East jihadists are entering the United States through the Mexican border. The organization long has presented evidence that terrorists have entered through Texas and reports of ISIS training camps not far from the U.S. border.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Border Crisis Disrupts Texas Ranchers’ Lives ‘Worse than Ever,’ Says Governor

by Bob Price, Breitbart, March 14, 2022:

EAGLE PASS, Texas — Thousands of migrants marching through Texas ranches as far as 80 miles from the U.S. border continues to disrupt the lives of those who live and work in these regions. Governor Greg Abbott told Breitbart Texas the chaos and crime in these areas are “worse than it has ever been.”

“Their lives have been disrupted like never before,” Governor Abbott said in an exclusive interview late last week. “There are people coming in across the border and going onto the land, cutting fences that hold in cattle, sometimes cattle are lost as a result of it.”

He said these trespassers are “breaking into homes, destroying property, sometimes, pointing a gun at people’s heads. It is worse than it’s ever been.”

The governor said the volume of migrant crossings adds to the created chaos on ranches in south Texas. He added that this is not simply unaccompanied minors or family units that are making the trek through the ranches.

“These are people who are trying to not get caught,” Abbott explained. “People who are coming here, some of whom have criminal records. We know that because of some of the people we have arrested.”

Breitbart Texas spoke with officials with the Texas Military Department about the arrests taking place by brush team soldiers on ranches.

“Over the past 90 days, the brush team has supported more than 1,000 apprehensions along the Texas-Mexico border,” TMD Director of Communications Rita Holton told Breitbart. “Approximately 30 percent of these individuals apprehended had a prior criminal record for activities such as sexual assault, drug smuggling, and human smuggling.”

A TMD military officer who commands the brush team operations told Breitbart they are the “last line defense” against the migrants who intend to get into the U.S. interior without being screened or apprehended.

“We use a variety of sensors and techniques to identify where these folks are coming from and where they are going,” the officer stated. “We are on our feet eight to 15 miles per night using ‘old school tracking’ and the technology available for our mission.”

He explained groups range in size from five migrants to more than 50 at a time. “Some of these have criminal histories that include narcotics smuggling or sexual assault.”…

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All  rights reserved.

PODCAST: The Texas Synagogue Attack and Alien Voting

In this episode, we address 3 major immigration developments. We analyze the new alien voting law in New York City, discuss the massive expansion of publicly-funded healthcare to illegal aliens in California, and answer how the the Texas synagogue terrorist was able to enter the country in the first place.

Listen to Episode 48 of Understanding Immigration.

WHAT IS UNDERSTANDING IMMIGRATION?

FAIR’s bi-weekly podcast bringing you the most important news about immigration hosted by Communications Manager Matthew Tragesser, Government Relations Manager Preston Huennekens, and Director of Research Spencer Raley.

RELATED ARTICLE: British Terrorist Situation in Texas Underscores Failures of Current Intelligence and Immigration Systems

EDITORS NOTE: This FAIR podcast is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Did the Texas Synagogue Jihadi Act Alone?

In the wake of the turbulence surrounding the 15 January 2022 Texas synagogue attack, it may be useful to take a step backward to review those events from a broader strategic perspective. John Guandolo at Understanding the Threat has done an excellent job explaining how this attack fits into the overall Islamic Movement jihad campaign against Western Civilization and the United States Constitutional Republic and the Jewish people in particular. Here, though, let us focus on the particular involvement of two international aspects: the Tablighi Jama’at Islamic revivalist/missionary organization and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

First, the event itself: from what we know as of this writing, a Pakistani jihadi with British citizenship named Malik Faisal Akram entered the Reform Jewish Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, TX (a Dallas-Ft. Worth suburb) around 10:40 the morning of 15 January 2022 during Shabbat services. The shul’s prayer and services schedule is helpfully posted online at its monthly calendar page. Services were being livestreamed for the benefit of congregation members praying from home, so much of the event and subsequent 10-hour stand-off with law enforcement was captured on audio, although apparently not on video.

Akram initially approached the closed front doors of the synagogue and was let in by Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, affectionately known by his congregation as ‘Rabbi Charlie”. At first Rabbi Charlie didn’t suspect anything untoward, but interrupting Shabbat services, decided to make tea for Akram. In a 17 Jan 2022 interview with CBS News, Rabbi Charlie recounted the moment when things turned terrifying. Reportedly, Akram pulled a gun and made claims about bombs. According to a portion of the synagogue livestream broadcast obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Akram is heard saying, “I’ve got these prisoners” and “I am going to die.” While his key spoken demand was the release from U.S. federal prison of the Pakistani jihadi known as “Lady Al-Qa’eda” – true name, Aafia Siddiqui – that was but a pretext for a broader objective. Akram claimed that he and Siddiqui would be “going to Jannah (Muslim belief of heaven) after he sees her,” according to a statement from the FBI on Saturday night.

What neither Rabbi Charlie, his congregation members, nor apparently Local Law Enforcement Officers (LLEOs) and the FBI have understood was that, with these statements, Akram was reciting his belief in core Islamic doctrine. As Robert Spencer wrote in PJ Media, antisemitism is deeply rooted in the Qur’an itself, where it is written that “Jews are called the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); they fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); they disobey Allah and never observe his commands (5:13), and Muslims should wage war against them and subjugate them under Islamic hegemony (9:29), among many other slanders.” Further, as Spencer writes, the abduction of infidels as hostages is also sanctioned in the Qur’an (Sura 47, Verse 4), where it is stipulated that Muslims may choose to kill hostages, enslave them, ransom them, or “show favor” and release them. Similarly applicable is Sura 9, Verse 111, which offers the promise of paradise to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah, in the act of jihad, thus becoming a shahid.

While it is a tremendous relief to know that Rabbi Charlie and all the other hostages got out of the situation alive and unharmed, their unfamiliarity with these Qur’anic passages may well have contributed to their unquestioning acceptance of interfaith dialogue associations that in retrospect may be seen as unwise. Indeed, as the synagogue’s Mission Statement declares, “we believe in interfaith inclusion” and “Tikkun Olam (Repair the World).” Further, as the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue’s Facebook pages show, the Rabbi and his congregation had promoted interfaith events, including a 2 November 2019 and 6 November 2021 “Peace Together Walk,” with a photo of the walk beginning in front of the Colleyville Masjid, also known as the “Colleyville Association of Mid-Cities”. The Islamic Center of Southlake also was a participant. Unfortunately, each of these mosques has Muslim Brotherhood/jihadist connections, as documented by Understanding the Threat. Just one of those connections, for example, is the Imam Siraj Wahhaj, of the Brooklyn, NY Al-Taqwa Mosque, who was specifically named in a list of the unindicted co-conspirators at the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial.

Now, to the Tablighi-Jama’at and Pakistani connections. As we now know, Akram entered the U.S. through JFK Airport in late December 2021 with his British passport on the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)’s visa waiver program. He would have obtained that entry permit through the CBP’s online portal. Once waived through Customs at JFK, Akram was free to travel onward anywhere in the U.S. that he wished. It is unlikely that CBP is aware of what Tablighi Jama’at is or that Akram was affiliated with it. CBP should have, but possibly didn’t know either about Akram’s criminal record, as revealed by his brother. As Ilana Freedman documented in her excellent October 2016 monograph, “Gateway to Jihad: Tablighi Jama’at,” Tablighi Jama’at (TJ) is a global Islamic proselytizing organization with millions of followers in at least 80 countries. Although TJ is jihadist, it is not known to commit terrorism per se, but rather sends its missionaries to preach in mosques and Islamic Centers to strengthen the commitment of Muslim faithful to the essential doctrine and law (shariah) of Islam. Such dawah efforts, however, in many cases, serve as a conveyer belt or gateway to kinetic jihad, as was the case with Akram.

Akram himself, born in the United Kingdom (UK) of a family that hailed from the Jhelum district in the Pakistani Punjab, reportedly had traveled abroad on just such missions. According to reporting from the Hindustan Times, in the Blackburn, Lancashire area of England where Akram grew up, he “served as the head of the Rondell Street Islamic Centre in the London area, also known as Reza Masjid, where largely Muslims of Pakistani origin prayed. He also prayed at the Eldorado Masjid that was frequented by Gujarati Muslims in the region.” Two teenagers, possibly Akram’s sons, were arrested by UK Counterterrorism police in South Manchester on Sunday 16 Jan 22 and held for questioning.

As we can see, the connections to Pakistan are many. Nevertheless, it must be said that any possible connections to the Pakistani government or to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency are premature at this point. It is instructive, though, to recall the many Islamic terror attacks in which ISI has been involved. We may begin with the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India, in which, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) drawing on classified Indian government documents, the ISI was “heavily involved”. The following year, on 30 December 2009, according to declassified U.S. government documents, a Jordanian doctor reportedly recruited and dispatched by the ISI, detonated a suicide vest at the CIA’s Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, killing seven and injuring an additional six. Then, on 2 December 2015, U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani wife, Tashfeen Malik carried out a deadly shooting attack at Farook’s office Christmas party in San Bernardino, CA.  The couple had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State online and expressed support openly for Islamic jihad. Malik had attended college and the Al-Huda International Welfare Foundation women’s Islamic seminary in the Punjab before marrying Farook through an online arranged wedding that took place in Saudi Arabia in 2014.

Once again, while direct ISI involvement in this attack has not been publicly documented, the area of the Punjab where Malik studied is known as a stronghold of Deobandi jihadist groups, such as Lashkar-e Jangvi and Lashkar-e Taiba, both closely affiliated with the ISI. Then, in June 2016, Omar Mateen, who identified himself as “an Islamic soldier” in talks with a crisis negotiator, opened fire inside the Orlando, FL Pulse nightclub, killing 49 people and leaving 53 wounded. Mateen, age 29, was a U.S. citizen, born in Queens, NYC to Afghan immigrant parents. At some point, Mateen had attended the Islamic Center of Ft. Pierce, whose imam, Syed Shafeeq Rahman, quickly after the shooting, named Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, a local leader of the Hamas-related Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), as the mosque’s new spokesman. Rahman, also a General Practitioner medical doctor, obtained his medical degree from the Ayub Medical College in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Finally, a brief mention must be made about the 2018 cybersecurity breach involving multiple Members of Congress. The Pakistani Awan brothers, who were given access to highly sensitive government information without a background check, were permitted to work remotely – from Pakistan – up to several months at a time, according to investigative reporter Luke Rosiak.

In summary, then, there are far too many Pakistani connections to jihadist attacks and operations, spanning many years, to ignore. Nevertheless, those connections would appear to be rarely noted and only perfunctorily investigated.  Certainly, in this most recent attack on the Texas synagogue, there must have been an extensive support network that conducted the pre-attack casing and surveillance, recruited and prepared Akram, and arranged for his travel to and within the U.S., his lodging, and provision of the funding and knowledge for how to purchase a gun on the street. Clearly, the Muslim Brotherhood/CAIR network in and around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area has been vocal in campaigns to get the Pakistan-born convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui released from prison. Siddiqui not only tried to kill U.S. personnel in Afghanistan in 2008, leading to her conviction on terrorism charges in a 2010 Manhattan trial, but had been married to a nephew of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, who remarked on her “obsession” with jihad. Educated at MIT, Siddiqui earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University in 2001, before returning to southwest Asia in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. She is serving her sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, Ft. Worth, located some 24 miles from the Congregation Beth Israel. Note: This does not automatically mean that CAIR was involved in the synagogue attack, but rather that it shares Akram’s antisemitic animus and purpose in obtaining Siddiqui’s release from prison.

This analysis is offered in the interests of encouraging the situational awareness of faith communities, law enforcement, and national-level security agencies alike. Comments such as that made by FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno at a press conference following the end of the hostage crisis attest to the critical need for such education. Although roundly criticized later, that evening, DeSarno said that the “hostage taker was specifically focused on an issue not directly connected to the Jewish community” and added that there was “no immediate indication that the man had was part of any broader plan”.

The fact that UK police and counterterrorism officials are assisting their U.S. counterparts in the investigation does indicate that the overall investigation extends internationally. At the same time, comments such as made by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Sunday 16 Jan 22, who said that it was “too soon to tell” if the Texas synagogue hostage situation was part of a “broader extremist threat” and that they were looking into “what this person’s motives were and whether or not there are any further connections” demonstrate just how far we yet have to go.

COLUMN BY

Clare M. Lopez is the Founder/President of Lopez Liberty LLC and serves as a senior advisory board member for the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement (NEC-SE).

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Psaki claims Texas synagogue jihadi was checked ‘multiple times’ before being admitted to the U.S.

If Psaki isn’t lying outright, which is possible, this makes the Biden administration look even worse, in that they didn’t find anything on this dedicated and hardened jihad terrorist.

Jen Psaki says British synagogue terrorist was checked against US government databases ‘multiple times’ before he entered the country as House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy demands answers

by Elizabeth Elkind and Jennifer Smith, DailyMail.com, January 18, 2022

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that the British national who was able to fly to the United States despite having a criminal history and hold four people hostage at a Texas synagogue was checked ‘multiple times’ before he entered the country.

‘Our understanding, and obviously we’re still looking into this, is that he was checked against US government databases multiple times prior to entering the country,’ Psaki said on Tuesday.

A short while earlier, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released a blistering statement demanding answers from President Joe Biden’s White House and raising alarms over ‘what national security concerns remain.’

In addition to condemning the attack, he and other national Republican figures like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have been grilling the administration over its handling of the incident.

There is growing outrage and demand for answers as to how the British terrorist gunman who took four hostages at a synagogue in Colleyville on Saturday was even able to enter the US on a tourist visa when he was known to intelligence agencies in the UK.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, flew to New York City from the UK on January 22, despite being known to MI5 and having a criminal record.

She explained that the government did not have any ‘derogatory information’ on Akram when he entered the country.

‘We’re certainly looking back, as I referenced, at what occurred to learn every possible lesson we can to prevent attacks like this in the future,’ Psaki said.

She directed further questions to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DailyMail.com has reached out to DHS for more information on whether Akram was ever on a US watchlist.

‘Over the past 48 hours, President Biden’s Justice Department has gone from denying the clear and religious, anti-Semitic implications of this attack to now backtracking to what we all already knew to be true. Now as more information becomes available, it only raises more questions,’ McCarthy said in a statement first sent to DailyMail.com….

Akram’s family say he had a criminal history but somehow, he was able to get an ESTA tourist visa – which are supposed to be off-limits to foreigners who have broken the law….

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How did the Texas synagogue jihadi get a tourist visa to come to the U.S. despite having a criminal record?

No one seems to know. That raises even more questions.

How was he allowed into the U.S. to begin with?

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy demands answers from the Biden administration about how British synagogue gunman with criminal convictions was let into America

by Elizabeth Elkind and Jennifer Smith, DailyMail.com, January 18, 2022:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is demanding President Joe Biden’s White House answer how a UK national with a criminal history was allowed to fly to the United States where he held four people hostage at a synagogue in Texas over the weekend.

In addition to condemning the attack, he and other national Republican figures like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have been grilling the administration over its handling of the incident.

Many accused the president of directing more federal law enforcement resources toward American parents protesting Critical Race Theory and mask mandates in public schools.

There is growing outrage and demand for answers as to how the British terrorist gunman who took four hostages at a synagogue in Colleyville on Saturday was even able to enter the US on a tourist visa when he was known to intelligence agencies in the UK.

The FBI has declined to comment on the matter.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, flew to New York City from the UK on January 22, despite being known to MI5 and having a criminal record.

‘Over the past 48 hours, President Biden’s Justice Department has gone from denying the clear and religious, anti-Semitic implications of this attack to now backtracking to what we all already knew to be true. Now as more information becomes available, it only raises more questions,’ McCarthy said in a statement first sent to DailyMail.com.

The top GOP lawmaker in the House of Representatives accused Biden officials of ‘downplaying’ the attack and demanded to know why the FBI ‘initially disregard[ed] the role anti-Semitism played in this hostage situation.’

‘How was it that someone with an apparent criminal record and suspicious travel history was allowed into the United States to begin with?’ he also questioned. ‘What national security concerns remain?’…

Akram’s family say he had a criminal history but somehow, he was able to get an ESTA tourist visa – which are supposed to be off-limits to foreigners who have broken the law.

Akram spent two weeks at a homeless shelter in Dallas, during which time he was able to buy a gun on the street….

‘How long did the FBI know a radical Islamist foreign national with a criminal record was in the country? Were they working with him or his associates?

‘How did this person get a visa? Did he slip through the cracks because they were too busy surveilling your conservative grandma?’ Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.

‘They don’t want us to talk about how a known jihadist got past the FBI and into the country, obtained an illegal firearm, and took hostages at a synagogue,’ Jasec Posobiec said.

Stephen Miller, Trump’s former adviser, tweeted that ‘every journalist’ should be asking whether Biden changing vetting laws for tourists contributed to the incident.

The Independent reports that Akram was known to MI5 but that they didn’t consider him a severe threat.

It’s unclear what he said in his application for an ESTA tourist visa, which asks whether or not applicants have a criminal record.

The ESTA website claims checks will be carried out to see if an applicant has any undisclosed criminal convictions on file.

But according to social justice charity Nacro, the US authorities do not have access to criminal records held on the UK’s Police National Computer.

There was equal outrage in the UK, where lawmakers demanded to know how he was able to by-pass America’s immigration rules, which are known to be some of the strictest in the world.

Tory MP Bob Seely told MailOnline there seemed to have been a ‘dreadful’ error at the UK and US borders caused by an ‘intelligence failure’ and it needed to be looked at.

‘This is clearly a failure of intelligence sharing. It is absolutely dreadful that he has been allowed to go to the States and hurt people.

‘Clearly something has gone wrong somewhere,’ he said.

Another senior MP with knowledge of the security services voiced surprise that the background had not been picked up. ‘How did he get into the US?’ they said. ‘You get picked up for walking on the cracks in the pavement.’

Yesterday, his brother, Gulbar, demanded how he was allowed into America despite a long criminal record.

He said Malik was mentally ill and was mourning the death of his brother three months ago, reportedly from Covid.

The extent of his criminal record is not yet clear, but it may be that some of his offences may have been too petty or too old to stop him being turned away from the United States’ border.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Texas synagogue gunman identified as Muslim from UK, Malik Faisal Akram who had ‘mental health issues’

Well, sure. All jihadis have mental health issues. Nothing they do has anything to do with Islamic texts or teachings. Don’t you know that by now, you greasy Islamophobe?

Feds Identify Synagogue Hostage-Taker as 44-Year-Old British Citizen

by Dia Gill, Daily Beast, January 16, 2022:

The feds on Sunday identified the gunman who was shot dead after taking four hostages in a dramatic 10-hour standoff at a Texas synagogue as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, a British citizen.

The Blackburn Muslim Community in the U.K. confirmed Akram’s death in a Facebook post on Sunday afternoon, asking the community to “avoid taking part in the sin of backbiting” as authorities continue to investigate the attack, which President Joe Biden has called “an act of terror.”

The group shared a statement from Akram’s brother, identified as Gulbar, that condemned the attack.

“We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident,” he wrote.

Hours before the FBI’s announcement, a spokesperson for the British Foreign Office said they were “aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities.”

“The FBI’s Evidence Response Team (ERT) will continue processing evidence at the synagogue,” the FBI wrote in its release. “At this time, there is no indication that other individuals are involved. The FBI’s North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force (NTJTTF), which includes member agencies from across the region, will continue to follow investigative leads. An FBI Shooting Incident Review Team (SIRT) will conduct a thorough, factual, and objective investigation of the events.”…

According to the Gulbar’s statement, the family was aware of Akram’s involvement during the crisis. They said that despite his “mental health issues,” they believed he would not harm his captives.

According to Gulbar’s post, the FBI is expected to fly to the U.K. and meet with the family later today.

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TEXAS: Muslim takes hostages at synagogue, says he will kill people if anyone gets close

Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, was in the middle of Shabbat services that were being livestreamed on Facebook, when a gunman burst in and took hostages. As of this writing, the situation is ongoing, but some details have already emerged.

Amichai Stein of Kan, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, reports that “The gunman says he is Muslim and holding at least 6 people says ‘he will kill people if anyone gets close to the synagogue.’” Before the livestream from the synagogue was cut off, the gunman could be heard ranting in a foreign language that, according to journalist and trial attorney Marina Medvin, turned out to be Arabic. Medvin noted that the gunman said, “Are you listening? I am going to die. So don’t cry for me…”

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.