The FBI has come under fire over its handling of the hostage situation at a Texas synagogue after the special agent in charge of investigating the incident said the suspect never made demands "specifically related to the Jewish community."
FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno made the remark late Saturday following the incident in which four people were held hostage by a British man later identified by law enforcement officials as Malik Faisal Akram.
According to DeSarno, Akram’s primary demand was for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill American authorities in Afghanistan.
"We do believe from our engagement with this subject that he was singularly focused on one issue, and it was not specifically related to the Jewish community. But we are continuing to work to find [the] motive," DeSarno said.
However, Kenneth Marcus, the founder and chair of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, said that "the FBI got it wrong," and described the incident as "obviously a matter of anti-Semitism," in an interview with Fox News Digital.
"Failure of the FBI to understand this is something of a pattern with law enforcement in the United States and frankly in Europe," he added.
"It seems that time after time, we see law enforcement officials fail to understand when an anti-Semitic incident occurs, even when it’s entirely obvious," he said.
The FBI in a statement Sunday said, "All of us at the FBI are relieved the hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas, was resolved without physical injury to those taken hostage. We never lose sight of the threat extremists pose to the Jewish community and to other religious, racial, and ethnic groups. We have had a close and enduring relationship with the Jewish community for many years. We continue to work tirelessly with the Secure Community Network, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federation, and others to protect members of the Jewish community from all potential threats."
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