TX Muslim readers say the Colleyville Rabbi is a friend of the community



Hostages held at Colleyville synagogue

Authorities in Colleyville were negotiating with a man who had taken people hostage in the Beth Israel Congregation.

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Muslim organizations in Texas have condemned the actions of a man who took hostages at a Colleyville synagogue on Saturday and offered statements of support for the congregation’s rabbi and other hostages.

In the Facebook livestream of the Saturday synagogue service, an unidentified angry man could be heard ranting and sometimes talking about religion. The video did not show what happened in the building. The man repeatedly mentioned his sister and Islam and used swear words. He was heard pleading for the release of his “sister” from prison.

Jawaid Alam, president of the Southlake Islamic Center, told Star-Telegram that Congregation Beth Israel Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker is a personal friend and a friend of the Muslim community who has promoted peace and interfaith cooperation.

“He is a peace-loving man, a rabbi and a Jewish leader, but a true friend of the Muslim community,” Alam said. “He and his family are considered part of the Muslim community and he considers us part of the Jewish community.”

Alam said it was “unthinkable that this would happen in the synagogue of a peace-loving rabbi who promoted interfaith conversation.”

Cytron-Walker was a teacher for the region’s Muslim community, not just its Jewish community, he said.

“He taught us to live with people who are different from you and to love one another,” Alam said.

He added that the Southlake Islamic Center has not yet reached out to Cytron-Walker’s family to respect the space they may need, but wants them to know the community is there for them.

“The Muslim community is with them and we will do everything we can for them.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement condemning the hostage-taking.

“This anti-Semitic attack on a house of worship is unacceptable,” CAIR officials wrote in the statement. “We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and pray that law enforcement will be able to quickly free the hostages and bring them to safety.

This story was originally published January 15, 2022 7:35 p.m.

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James Hartley is a breaking news reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His passions are true stories, movies, baseball and good hot tea. You can connect with James on Twitter @ByJamesHartley or Instagram @JamesTakesPhotos. | Would you like reporters like James to help you keep up to date with your community? You can help Star-Telegram continue to provide great local, business, political, sporting and cultural news by purchasing a digital or print subscription today.


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