January 17, 2022
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is grateful for the resolution of the hostage crisis at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. The crisis was resolved by an FBI rescue team nearly 11 hours after a lone gunman entered the synagogue and took four hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker. During the tense standoff, ISNA’s Executive Director, Basharat Saleem, issued a statement condemning the hostage-taking. “We stand in solidarity with the hostage victims. We are praying for the safe ending of this crisis and stand with the Jewish community. We pray that the local authorities and law enforcement can end this crisis safely,” he said.
The following day, Saleem praised American Law Enforcement’s brave men and women, who defused the crisis and secured the hostages. He added, “This recent act of terror is one that must be condemned by us all. It underscores the ongoing reality of hatred and extremism in our nation and the threat that persists against our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community and others including the Muslim community.” At the time of this crisis, Brother Azhar Azeez, former ISNA President and current board member, was present on the scene along with other North Texas Muslim leaders and partners from the interfaith community.
As a religion, Islam emphasizes the sanctity of life and the inviolability of houses of worship. The Prophet Muhammad is known, upon his migration to the city of Medina, to have established the Medina Constitution, a political document that secured the religious freedom and autonomy of all faiths in the land. The document forbade injustice between groups and established foundations of religious tolerance, a cornerstone of our faith tradition.
Moving forward, ISNA will continue its efforts as a national organization. We will stand with our partners in the Jewish community, oppose extremism, and strive for the common good. May God give us strength and success in all our endeavors, and may He always protect us.