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Synagogue Assailant Akram Had Troubles With Law, Mental Illness

Updated: Jan 24

In Blackburn, in England’s industrial north, Malik Faisal Akram was the guy who was banned from the local courthouse after he threatened officials. In a Texas mosque, he became aggressive when he was told he couldn’t stay overnight. Along his 4,600-mile journey from Britain to the Colleyville, Tx., synagogue where Akram would hold four hostages for 11 hours before being killed by law enforcement officers on Jan. 15, the 44-year-old terrorist managed impressive stealth, entering the U.S. without a hitch, eluding notice in New York for several days, and wandering around Dallas and its suburbs for two weeks without attracting much attention. Investigators are still examining where he slept, how he moved around and with whom he associated during his 18 days in the U.S., the Washington Post reports. After Akram landed in Dallas around New Year’s Day, he met up with a man who took him to a center for homeless people, walked him inside and embraced him before saying farewell. The FBI said it has learned many details about Akram’s movements and contacts, although key questions remain outstanding, such as how he obtained the gun he brandished at the synagogue. Akram began the trip he knew would end in his death at home in Blackburn, a heavily Muslim town filled with Pakistani and Indian immigrants. Akram's father, Malik, founded a mosque, one of more than 40 Muslim houses of worship in the town of 120,000. Akram had struggled with mental illness, according to his younger brother, Gulbar In 2001, days after the terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 Americans, took down the World Trade Center and opened a gash in the Pentagon, Akram was banned from courts in Blackburn after he said he wished he had been on one of the planes used as weapons of war on Sept. 11. It wasn’t his first brush with the law. He had been sent a warning letter several months earlier after he was accused of abusing and threatening staffers at another courthouse.

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