FBI director: Texas synagogue hostage-taking ‘an act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community’

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a webinar Thursday that the hostage-taking at a Texas synagogue over the weekend was “an act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community.”

The comment came during a webinar hosted by the Anti-Defamation League as the FBI has faced backlash after the agent in charge of the bureau’s Dallas field office said the suspect in the incident, Malik Faisal Akram, wasn’t motivated by an issue “specifically related to the Jewish community” when he took four people hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel on Saturday, The New York Times reported

“This was not some random occurrence,” Wray said, per The Times. “It was intentional, it was symbolic and we’re not going to tolerate antisemitism in this country.”

“We recognize that the Jewish community in particular has suffered violence and faces very real threats from really across the hate spectrum,” he added.

All the hostages were able to leave the synagogue alive following an 11-hour standoff on Saturday, while Akram, who is Muslim, was killed by federal agents.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a letter Monday that faith-based communities will likely continue to be “targets of violence by both domestic violent extremists and those inspired by foreign terrorists.”