BLACKBURN: The funeral of a man killed in a Texas hostage shoot-out has taken place. Friends and family gathered for a small private funeral for Malik Faisal Akram at Pleasington Cemetery, Blackburn this morning.
Faisal Akram as he was known, 44, was shot following an 11-hour stand-off at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday 15 January. One hostage was released during the stand-off and three others got out which led to the FBI Swat team entering the building.
The body was returned to his home town in the UK by US authorities on Thursday (February 3) and the burial took place on 5th February just after 9am. Volunteers were on hand to assist with the burial which is a customary tradition for all Muslim funerals, Asian Image and other media outlets have reported.
Around 50 friends and relatives of Malik Faisal Akram paid their last respects before his family released a statement apologising for his actions and speaking out against hatred.
The low key ceremony was held nearly three weeks after he held a Rabbi and three worshippers at gunpoint during a service at the Beth Israel Congregation Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas.
Janazah (funeral) prayers for Akram were performed in the small prayer hall which is located in the Muslim section of the cemetery before the burial close by.
Mourners, mostly of friends, neighbours and family watched as the casket was brought into the cemetery just before nine O’clock Faisal Akram’s brother Gulbar said today: “We would like to thank the police in the UK in particular Andy Meeks and Sarah O’Connor for their assistance in helping to return the body of our brother.
“We would also like to thank everyone from the community and others who sent messages and also especially the messages from the Jewish community in the USA which were very surprising at this difficult time in our lives.”
Gulbar said the family stood firmly against any forms of hatred and urged people to come together, “I know a lot has been written and said in the past few weeks.
“We know that right-minded people and those who believe in peace and the true message of Islam will never condone hatred and prejudice in all its forms.
“We will continue to apologise for his actions and hope that the victims who went through this horrible ordeal can move on with their lives.
“As we have said before and will say again, this must and always will be about the victims and the experiences they went through.
“As a family we feel a great deal of pain for those who went through this. We hope nothing like happens like this again the future.”
Last month the family had called for an investigation into how the father of six managed to board a flight, spend weeks in the US, then buy a sim card and a gun. Concerns for his mental health had also been raised.
Following the incident, two people from Manchester were arrested by officers from the Counter Terrorism Policing North West. Both were released without charge. Earlier two other teenagers arrested were also released without charge.