New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS): Synagogue terrorist Malik Faisal Akram was being watched by British spies in the months leading up to his 10am siege in Texas over his links to extremism – but was released, the Daily Mail reported.
The Blackburn-born father of six, a career criminal and reputed member of an ultra-conservative Islamist sect, was placed under surveillance in late 2020 for four weeks, according to the report.
But a security source said MI5 closed the case after deciding he “did not present a terrorist threat at the time”.
He was not kept on the terror “watch list” that would have prevented him from flying to America, which security experts say was a big mistake given the surveillance that he was the object.
The latest blunder emerged as Britain and the United States were accused on Tuesday of ‘dropping the ball’ after letting him fly to New York amid police already searching for him and his links to a religious sect banned in Saudi Arabia for attempts to “purify Islam”. , reported the Daily Mail.
He was also determined to demand the release of “Lady al-Qaeda” Aafia Siddiqui, a convicted terrorist in a Texas prison who is a cause celebre for terrorist groups around the world.
Akram’s brother claimed he believed “someone helped him” through immigration because he had been back and forth in prison since he was a minor.
Akram became known to counter-terrorism police after he became “completely obsessed” with Islam and displayed extreme and disruptive behavior during Friday prayers during his last stint in prison, the report added.
He was also a regular at anti-Israel protests and marches for the release of Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, having been first put behind bars in 1996 as a juvenile offender and in and out of prison for 16 years. until he finds “religion”.
It emerged that Akram had a criminal record dating back more than 25 years, the Daily Mail reported.
He ended up in Borstal as a teenager before going to an adult prison in 1996, aged 19, for violent disorder after attacking a cousin with a baseball bat.
A year later, he was imprisoned again, this time for destruction of property, then in 1999 for harassment. He is believed to have taken to dealing drugs and was jailed again in 2012 for stealing £5,000 in cash and phones. But the case was subsequently stopped.
It was this stint at HMP Liverpool that began his path to religious extremism and where he was denounced by the prison’s imam for “worrying and disruptive behaviour” during Friday prayers, the report added.
However, Akram – who married and lived in Manchester with his six children – later told a friend he had “found Allah”. He stopped worshiping at his father’s mosque and started attending meetings of the Tablighi Jamaat group, created to “purify” Islam.
The group is banned in Saudi Arabia as “one of the gateways to terrorism”, although its 80 million followers worldwide insist its teachings are not linked to violence, according to the report.
He was photographed at protests for Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and in favor of Palestinian independence.
The second of six children, Akram was born in Blackburn where his father, also Malik, served as president of a local mosque after emigrating from his native Pakistan.