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British terrorist’s nod to Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America?

Blackburn terrorist was on call with his children when he was shot dead by a SWAT team, his family claims

Father-of-six Malik Faisal Akram was speaking to his children when he was gunned down in a Texan synagogue, it was claimed today. 

His younger sibling Gulbar has said they are now trying to get his body home for a funeral – but that he will have been riddled with bullets.

Gulbar told Sky News said his brother was on the phone with his children when he was shot: “Why did they have to kill him? They didn’t need to do that’. Many relatives had been called into a Blackburn police station to convince him to give himself up, but they were unable to.  

Gulbar said: “When we bring my brother’s body back, I’m expecting there to be 10 or 12 gunshot wounds in him’, adding he ‘should never have been able to get through immigration. Someone helped him. He shouldn’t have been able to board a plane without any stringent checks’.

The British terrorist who held up a synagogue posing as a homeless man also conned US border force by claiming he was staying at a down at heel hotel on the New York street made famous by Eddie Murphy’s movie classic Coming to America, it was revealed today.

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, from Blackburn, Lancashire, told US Immigration officers he was checking in at an address on Queens Boulevard but never turned up, according to FBI sources.

The busy road, connecting Queens with Manhattan, was at the heart of Murphy’s 1988 hit movie, where he played Akeem Joffer, the crown prince of the African nation of Zamunda who was hiding from his father the King in New York to experience a normal life by working in a fast food joint, where he finds love with the owner’s daughter.

Akram arrived at New York’s JFK Airport on or around January 2 having boarded a plane from Britain despite a criminal record dating back more than 25 years and links to extremist Islamist groups and causes.

He reportedly told passport control, and wrote on forms, that he would be staying in a hotel in Queens Boulevard. The address he gave on his arrival papers appears to be the same as the Queens Hotel, which offers basic accommodation for $80-a-night. The receptionist said FBI agents had reviewed its CCTV but found nothing useful. 

Instead he is believed to have travelled from the airport to the New York Port Authority bus terminal and jumped on a coach to Dallas. The 39-hour trip goes via the capital Washington DC, Richmond in Virginia before crossing Tennessee, Arkansas and finally into Texas. 

He then posed as a homeless person and stayed at the Union Gospel Mission in Dallas in the week before the terror attack, and was able to buy a handgun ‘off the street’, according to US President Joe Biden

The shelter’s CEO Bruce Butler told CNN that staff saw him ‘come and go’ from January 6 – but he never mentioned religion or his plans to attack the synagogue.  One source claimed today that he was dropped off at one by ‘someone he appeared to know’.

Mr Butler said: ‘We were a way station for him. He had a plan. He was very quiet’, adding he left for the final time on January 13.  Police are trying to piece together what he did in the final 48 hours before launching the attack at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, around 22 miles away on the morning of Saturday, January 15. He posed as a homeless person needed shelter before pulling out his gun. 

Police are piecing together the terrorist’s final movements after arriving at JFK airport by January 2 before staying in a homeless hostel run by a Christian charity in Dallas before launching the attack on January 15 

Malik Faisal Akram, who was known as Faisal Akram, was a regular visitor to Pakistan (pictured) and reportedly a member of the Tablighi Jamaat group, set up to 'purify' Islam

He told US Immigration officers he was checking in at an address on Queen's Boulevard but never turned up, according to FBI sources, The street is where Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy is set

Malik Faisal Akram, who was known as Faisal Akram, was a regular visitor to Pakistan (pictured) and reportedly a member of the Tablighi Jamaat group, set up to ‘purify’ Islam. He told US Immigration officers he was checking in at an address on Queen’s Boulevard but never turned up, according to FBI sources, The street is where Coming to America starring Eddie Murphy is set

The address he gave on his arrival papers appears to be the same as the Queens Hotel in New York City, which offers basic accommodation for $80-a-night. But it is believed he never turned up

The address he gave on his arrival papers appears to be the same as the Queens Hotel in New York City, which offers basic accommodation for $80-a-night. But it is believed he never turned up

He entered the synagogue around 11am on Saturday morning as a service was live-streamed online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What are the rules on entering America if you have criminal record? 

The UK is part of the Visa Waiver Program, meaning travellers can enter the US for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.

Instead, tourists must fill out an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) form which includes questions on an applicant’s criminal past.

What are criminal history questions on the ESTA form? 

  • Questions on the form cover terrorist affiliation, travel history and drug use
  • One question states: Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority?
  • These constitute ‘moral turpitude’ offences and include murder, rape, assault, burglary, theft, fraud and bribery 
  • Anyone who has committed a crime of moral turpitude will not be granted entry to the US 
  • The only exceptions are if the offence was committed under the age of 18 and five years have elapsed since the date of conviction or release, or the maximum possible sentence for the crime was 12 months and six months were served
  • Anyone who has two or more offences, regardless of whether they were crimes of moral turpitude, in which the total sentences exceeded five years , will also be barred entry to the US

Can an applicant lie on the form? 

  • The ESTA website claims checks will be carried out to see if an applicant has any undisclosed criminal convictions on file 
  • But according to social justice charity Nacro, the US authorities do not have access to criminal records held on the UK’s Police National Computer
  • If authorities have concerns about a traveller, they can request information from the Home Office, although this is said to be very rare
  • This means it could be possible to lie on the form and enter the country 
  • Charity Unlock, which helps people with previous convictions, says people who lie on the ESTA are ‘generally able to travel with no difficulties’, but it is a risk as it is a criminal offence

Travellers can instead apply for a visa but this can be a long and expensive process, involving an interview at the US embassy. 

He spewed anti-Semitic abuse and demanded the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, whom he referred to as his ‘sister’.

The location of the attack is significant because she is being held in a jail about 20 miles from Colleyville, at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth.

After agreeing to release one of his hostages, two more hostages were seen running out of a side door, chased by Akram waving a handgun. He saw armed police outside and ran back in.

Soon afterwards a FBI rescue team stormed the building – firing bullets and throwing stun grenades. Akram died in a hail of bullets at around 10pm on Saturday night. 

Akram’s family have expressed their disbelief that he had been let through customs at New York’s JFK airport around January 2.

But it appears that police were looking for him, with two detectives arriving at his home around that time, but he wasn’t there. 

‘About three or four weeks ago, two detectives knocked at his door asking for him,’ said one neighbour. It was not clear whether the attempted contact was connected to his plans to travel to the US just days later.  

His brother, Gulbar, said he worked with the FBI in attempts to end the stand-off. 

In a post on the Blackburn Muslim community Facebook page, Gulbar said that although his brother was suffering from mental health issues ‘we were confident that he would not harm the hostages’.

He said he had spent ‘all night’ in an incident room at Greenbank Police Station ‘until the early hours liaising with Faisal (Akram), the negotiators, FBI etc’.

‘And although my brother was suffering from mental health issues we were confident that he would not harm the hostages,’ Gulbar said.

‘At around 3am the first person was released, then an hour later he released the other 3 people through the fire door unharmed.’

He added: ‘A few minutes later a firefight has taken place and he was shot and killed. There was nothing we could have said to him or done that would have convinced him to surrender’.

Gulbar added that the FBI was due to arrive in the UK on Sunday to speak to Akram’s family.

He said: ‘We would also like to add that any attack on any human being be it a Jew, Christian or Muslim etc is wrong and should always be condemned’.

One hostage had been released uninjured at about 5pm local time on Saturday and the rest came out a few hours later.

Dramatic video shot by a local news crew showed some hostages fleeing out of a door to the synagogue.

They included Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker who was leading the service at the time.

Akram can be seen briefly leaving the building in the footage while holding a pistol before going back in.

Moments later SWAT teams moved in and gunshots were heard.

The standoff was watched by some members of the synagogue’s congregation on the live stream as they sat at home.

Akram could be heard saying in a Northern English accent: ‘If anyone tries to enter this building, I’m telling you…everyone will die.’

Stacey Silverman, a member of synagogue, said: ‘The perpetrator was completely deranged, foul mouthed, swearing, saying anti-Semitic tropes, talking about Israel and Palestine and Islam and that he had a gun.

‘He implied he had a bomb in his backpack and that he could let it loose at any minute. It was horrifying and it went on for a few hours. I was terrified.’

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, (pictured) was shot dead by the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team after holding four hostages for more than 10 hours at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, (pictured) was shot dead by the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team after holding four hostages for more than 10 hours at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, (pictured) was shot dead by the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team after holding four hostages for more than 10 hours at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday 

One of the hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel in, Colleyville, Texas, was released and taken to his family. Authorities have said all hostages are now out and safe after the terrorist was shot

One of the hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel in, Colleyville, Texas

British terrorist who took four people hostage in a Texas synagogue was on UK terror watchlist over 2020 lockdown but then DROPPED from it before he flew to New York as it emerges he has criminal record dating back to 1996 

Synagogue terrorist Malik Faisal Akram was being watched by British spies in the months before his 10-hour siege in Texas because of his links to extremism – but was let off the hook, it was revealed today.

The Blackburn-born father-of six, a career criminal and reputedly a member of a ultra-conservative Islamist sect, was put under surveillance at the end of 2020 for four weeks. 

But a security source said MI5 closed the case having decided that he ‘didn’t present a terrorist threat at that time’. He was also not put on the terror ‘watchlist’ that would prevent him flying to America.  

The latest blunder emerged as Britain and the US were today accused of ‘dropping the ball’ after letting him fly to New York despite police already hunting for him and his links to a religious sect banned in Saudi Arabia for attempts to ‘purify Islam’.

He was also fixated with demanding the release of Lady al-Qaeda Aafia Siddiqui, a convicted terrorist in a Texan jail who is a cause célèbre for terror groups around the world.  

Akram became known to counter-terrorism police after becoming ‘completely obsessed’ with Islam and displayed extreme and disruptive behaviour at Friday prayers during his most recent spell in prison.

He was also a regular at anti-Israel demonstrations and marches for the release of Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, having first been put behind bars in 1996 as a juvenile delinquent and going in and out of prison for 16 years until he found religion. 

In 2001 he was banned from his local court, where he was a regular in the dock, for turning up to abuse staff and ranting about 9/11. He was a regular visitor to Pakistan and reportedly a member of the Tablighi Jamaat group, set up to ‘purify’ Islam and banned from Saudi after the kingdom described the group as a ‘gateway to terrorism’.

One US senator, briefed on the case the Department for Homeland Security and a former Pentagon official, told The Daily Telegraph today: ‘Certainly someone let the ball drop.’  

ABC News reported that the Akram claimed to have bombs in unspecified locations and that he had explosives in backpacks with him.

In a post on Facebook Rabbi Cytron-Walker said: ‘I am grateful that we made it out. I am grateful to be alive.’

The FBI and police in the town, which is around 27 miles from Dallas, are now liaising with the Metropolitan Police in London as part of an investigation with ‘global reach’.

A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it was ‘aware of the death of a British man in Texas and are in contact with the local authorities’.

Assistant Chief Constable Dominic Scally for Counter Terror Policing North West said authorities are ‘assisting with the investigation being led by the US Authorities’.

‘Police forces in the region will continue to liaise with their local communities, including the Jewish community, and will put in place any necessary measures to provide reassurance to them,’ he said.

Akram had only recently travelled to the US, according to Sky News, raising questions about why and how he targeted this particular synagogue.

Lead FBI special agent Matthew DeSarno confirmed Akram was a British citizen and that ‘at this time there is no indication that other individuals are involved’.

Speaking on a trip to Philadelphia, Joe Biden said: ‘This was an act of terror; it was an act of terror.’

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss Tweeted: ‘My thoughts are with the Jewish community and all those affected by the appalling act in Texas.

‘We condemn this act of terrorism and anti-semitism. We stand with US in defending the rights and freedoms of our citizens against those who spread hate.’

The Texas Department of Public Safety had said in a statement as the situation was unfolding: ‘The man claims he and his sister will be going to Jannah (Muslim belief of heaven) after he sees her.’

Before the livestream was cut off Akram made the chilling comment: ‘I am going to die today. Are you listening? I am going to die. Ok? So don’t cry over me. Ok, don’t cry over me’.

It is unclear why Akram demanded the release of Siddiqui, who was jailed for 86 years after being arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 for the attempted murder of a US Army captain.

The Pakistani-born neuroscientist was found with two kilos of poison sodium cyanide and plans for chemical attacks on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.

A lawyer representing the woman’s brother denied he was involved and said he had no idea why she was being mentioned.

The incident comes amid rising numbers of anti-Semitic attacks in the US and police in Dallas and major cities like New York stepped up patrols outside synagogues.

In 2018 a gunman shot dead 11 people and injured six at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during Shabbat morning services.

‘He told us to get on our knees, but I said no’: Hostage details breathless escape from British terrorist inside Texas synagogue after ‘hero’ rabbi threw a CHAIR at him

A Texan man held hostage by a British terrorist during the 10-hour synagogue siege told on Monday of their dramatic escape, as Senator Ted Cruz joined calls for an urgent investigation into the case.

Jeffrey Cohen, vice president for the board of trustees at Congregation Beth Israel, was one of four people held on Saturday in Colleyville, Texas, by Malik Faisal Akram, 44.

Akram had arrived in the U.S. in mid December, landing at New York’s JFK airport before making his way to Texas, buying a gun, and taking four people captive. Akram died on Saturday night shortly after the hostages fled – leaving many unanswered questions.

Cohen on Monday wrote a lengthy Facebook post detailing the siege, and praising the active shooter training for teaching him how to handle the intense situation.

‘First of all, we escaped,’ said Cohen, an engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 

‘We weren’t released or freed. We escaped because we had training from the Secure Community Network on what to do in the event of an active shooter. 

‘This training saved our lives – I am not speaking in hyperbole here – it saved our lives.’

Jeffrey Cohen, a NASA engineer, was among the four people held hostage in Texas on Saturday by a British terrorist

Jeffrey Cohen, a NASA engineer, was among the four people held hostage in Texas on Saturday by a British terrorist

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and Cohen both credited their active shooter training for helping them escape

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and Cohen both credited their active shooter training for helping them escape

Cohen told of the fear that he, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and the two others felt after the ‘calm and happy’ man who they had welcomed into their synagogue – Cytron-Walker made him a cup of tea, chatted with him before the service and introduced him to others – pulled out an automatic weapon.

He said it was very different from how it is depicted in films. 

‘Movies are scripted. Everyone knows exactly what every other actor will do. It is not surreal. 

‘On the contrary, it is quite real and realistic,’ Cohen said.

Cohen said that, when confronted with a gunman, fighting back is a last resort, because he feared the others would be shot.

He said he contemplated attacking him, but never got close enough.

Cohen explained how his training allowed him to make a series of careful decisions that may well have saved his life, and the lives of his fellow captives.

‘I keep my phone next to me during services, and that was important,’ he wrote. 

‘I quickly dialed 911 and put the phone screen side down on the chair and moved as commanded. But not exactly as commanded. Instead of going to the back of the room, I stayed in line with one of the exits.’

SWAT teams from the Colleyville Police Department responded to the synagogue after emergency calls began at about 10:41 a.m. during the Sabbath service

SWAT teams from the Colleyville Police Department responded to the synagogue after emergency calls began at about 10:41 a.m. during the Sabbath service

The standoff took place at the Congregation Beth Israel, in Colleyville, just 27 miles from Dallas

The standoff took place at the Congregation Beth Israel, in Colleyville, just 27 miles from Dallas

Cohen said that he remained mindful of the easiest way out of the building, and encouraged others to do the same.

‘Later in the day, I helped one of my fellows by moving him closer to the door,’ Cohen explained. 

‘While rubbing his shoulders, I whispered about the exit door. 

‘Still later, when we received the pizza, I suggested to our third hostage that he bring it back to us. 

‘We were all within 20 feet of the exit door. This proved critical for our escape.’  

Cohen said that he and the others tried to ‘keep the gunman engaged’, and ask questions that he hoped may ultimately be useful for the FBI.

The authorities are still piecing together Akram’s movements and motivations, and have said little about the ongoing investigation.

He is known to have called for the release of a female al-Qaeda terrorist, Aafia Siddiqui, who is currently serving her 86-year sentence in Texas.

Cohen said they remained calm, but towards the end of the 10-hour siege the situation deteriorated.

One of the four hostages is seen being escorted from the building shortly after 5pm. The other three would remain inside for several hours more

One of the four hostages is seen being escorted from the building shortly after 5pm. The other three would remain inside for several hours more 

Members of the SWAT team are seen on Saturday outside the Colleyville synagogue

Members of the SWAT team are seen on Saturday outside the Colleyville synagogue

One hostage had been released, leaving the rabbi, Cohen, and a third worshipper named Shane. 

‘At one point, our attacker instructed us to get on our knees,’ he said. 

‘I reared up in my chair, stared at him sternly. I think I slowly moved my head and mouthed NO. 

‘He stared at me, then moved back to sit down. 

‘It was this moment when Rabbi Charlie yelled run. 

‘Shane had one step on me. I grabbed him and pushed him through the door (we were so close, that the report said only 2 people came out – there were three of us).

‘Going out the door, I stumbled hitting the ground hard. I heard our attacker open the door. I was on the ground without my glasses, my plan became getting through the hedge line. 

‘In all honesty, I thought I was further under than I was. In fact, I was quite exposed. 

‘The lesson is that just because your head is covered doesn’t mean your body isn’t completely in the open. 

‘When I heard the door close and an officer yell, I got up and ran.’

On Monday night, an interfaith service was held in Southlake, Texas.

Whites Chapel United Methodist Church, where a special service was being held on Monday night

Whites Chapel United Methodist Church, where a special service was being held on Monday night

Community members arrive for a healing service for Congregation Beth Israel at White's Chapel United Methodist Church

Community members arrive for a healing service for Congregation Beth Israel at White’s Chapel United Methodist Church

Jawaid Alam, president of the Islamic Center of Southlake, told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Cytron-Walker is a personal friend and a friend of the Muslim community who has promoted peace and cooperation across faiths. 

‘He is a peace-loving person, a Rabbi and 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 is ‘unthinkable that this would happen at the synagogue of a peace-loving rabbi who has promoted interfaith talks.’

Ted Cruz, senator for Texas, said on Monday that there were significant unanswered questions, and called for a complete investigation.

‘I am grateful for the brave men and women of law enforcement who heroically freed the hostages and stopped the terrorist,’ said Cruz.

‘The publicly reported details regarding how this terrorist carried out his vile anti-Semitic attack are highly concerning.

‘A full investigation must be completed, and anyone else found to be involved in this attack or otherwise engaged in illegal activity should be brought to justice.

‘I will continue to work to ensure that law enforcement has all the resources they need to get to the bottom of what transpired.’ 

Most Britons visiting the US as tourists come on an ‘ESTA’ visa waiver – which involves filling out a form online where applicants must confirm they’ve never committed any crimes, or been a member of a terrorist group.  

Jesse Watters, the Fox News host, also on Monday demanded answers.

‘This guy wasn’t on your radar?’ Watters asked.

‘Mr President, you gave him a visa two weeks ago to come into this country. What kind of visa was it? Did you vet him? Was he on a watch list? 

‘Usually, the Feds are all over these people. And then they do a raid immediately in England with associates or people affiliated with them. 

‘So Scotland Yard didn’t know anything about this? MI6 had no clue about this guy?’

Watters also wanted to know how the British citizen was able to get hold of a gun so easily.

‘This guy buys a hot gun off the street two weeks after he gets here? Who is the guy who he bought the gun from?’ Watters asked. 

‘They don’t even know how he died. Who shot him? 

‘There’s a lot of suspicious things about this story and a lot of unanswered questions. And hopefully, Joe has at least one of those answers in the next 48 hours because he should be asked about this.’ 

Who is Aafia Siddiqui, the ‘Lady Al Qaeda’ terrorist who planned chemical attacks on Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge

Siddiqui, who was a biology major at MIT, said in 1993 that she wanted to do ‘something to help our Muslim brothers and sisters’ even if it meant breaking the law.

She jumped to her feet and ‘raised her skinny little wrists in the air’ in a display of defiance that shocked her friends.

An in-depth account of her journey to infamy also reveals that she took a National Rifle Association shooting class and persuaded other Muslims to learn how to fire a gun.

Siddiqui lied to her husband and after they wed over the phone he was stunned to discover she was just marrying him for his family’s connections to better enable her to wage jihad.

Two handout photos of terror suspect Aafia Siddiqui released by the FBI in May of 2004

Two handout photos of terror suspect Aafia Siddiqui released by the FBI in May of 2004

Siddiqui, a mother-of-three, eventually got her twisted wish and became the most wanted woman in the world by the FBI. 

She was handed to the Americans and convicted of attempted murder in a U.S. court in 2010.

But her hatred for the U.S. was so strong that during her interrogation she grabbed a rifle from one of her guards and shot at them shouting: ‘Death to Americans’.

A 2014 Boston Globe profile of Siddiqui’s time in Boston sought to answer what happened during her 11 years as a student in the U.S.

Something happened to radicalize an intelligent and devout woman who not only graduated from MIT but also got a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University. 

At MIT she made few friends and was remembered as intelligent, driven and a regular at the Prospect Street mosque, which would later be attended by alleged Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

She wore long sleeves and the hijab and was seen as ‘very sweet’ for a former roommate at her all-female dorm.

The focus of her life was the Muslim Student Association but things appear to have changed with the start of the Bosnian War, which seems to have been the beginning of her radicalization.

Siddiqui became involved with the Al-Kifah Refugee Centre, a Brooklyn-based organization which is thought to have been Al Qaeda’s focus of operations in the US.

Terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann said: ‘Aafia was from a prominent family with connections and a sympathy for jihad. She was just what they needed.’

She was arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 by local forces who found her with two kilos of poison sodium cyanide and plans for chemical attacks on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building

In 1993 as she and some friends debated how to raise money for Muslims being killed during the Bosnian War, one of them joked that they didn’t want to go on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.

Waqas Jilani, then a graduate student at Clark University, said: ‘She raised her skinny little wrists in the air and said: ‘I’d be proud to be on the Most Wanted list because it would mean I’m doing something to help our Muslim brothers and sisters’

‘She said we should all be proud to be on that list’. 

Jilani added that Siddiqui said in her speeches that Muslims should ‘get training and go overseas and fight’.

He said: ‘We were all laughing like, ‘Uh-oh, Aafia’s got a gun!’

‘Part of it was because she was such a bad shot, but also because she was always mouthing off about the U.S. and the FBI being so bad and all.’

Siddiqui married Mohammed Amjad Khan, the son of a wealthy Pakistani family, in a ceremony carried out over the phone before he flew to Boston.

But upon arrival he discovered that far from being the quiet religious woman he had been promised, her life was very different.

He said: ‘I discovered that the well-being of our nascent family unit was not her prime goal in life. Instead, it was to gain prominence in Muslim circles.’

Khan described to the Boston Globe how she regularly watched videos of Osama bin Laden, spent weekends at terror training camps in New Hampshire with activists from Al-Kifah and begged him to quit his medical job so he could join her.

In the end he stopped bringing work colleagues home because she would ‘only to talk about them converting to Islam’.

Khan said: ‘Invariably this would lead to unpleasantness, so I decided to keep my work separate….

‘…By now, all her focus had shifted to jihad against America, instead of preaching to Americans so that they all become Muslims and America becomes a Muslim land’.

The breaking point was the September 11 2001 attacks after which Siddiqui, who was by now dressing in all black, insisted they return to Pakistan and got a divorce.

American officials suspect she remarried Ammar Al-Baluchi, the nephew of 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, though her family deny this.

Siddiqui and her children disappeared in Karachi, Pakistan in 2003 shortly after Mohammed was arrested.

The following year she was named by FBI director Robert Mueller as one of the seven most wanted Al Qaeda operatives, and the only woman. 


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