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Virtual event will address antisemitism in Colorado

Four people are OK after they were held hostage in a synagogue in the Dallas suburb of Colleyville on Saturday.

DENVER — After a rabbi and three congregants were taken hostage at a North Texas synagogue over the weekend, faith, community and government leaders in Colorado are hosting a virtual event to talk about antisemitism in the community.

> Video above: Colleyville rabbi describes being held hostage and escaping safely

RELATED: Hostage situation at North Texas synagogue ends with all hostages safe and suspect dead, authorities say

Responding to Antisemitism: An Interfaith Call to Action will take place on Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You can watch a livestream of the event here.

Speakers at the virtual gathering will include:

  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis
  • Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser
  • Rep. Iman Jodeh
  • Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet
  • Rabbi Brian Field, President of Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors
  • Rabbi Emily Hyatt, President-Elect of Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors
  • Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen 
  • Scott Levin, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Mountain States Region
  • Rabbi Jay Strear, President and CEO of Jewish Colorado 
  • Representatives from the Downtown Denver Islamic Center, the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, the Asian Pacific Development Center, and Colorado Sikhs.

The hostage situation in Texas began shortly before 11 a.m. CT Saturday, as services were going on at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in the Dallas suburb of Colleyville. One of the four hostages was released around 5 p.m. CT and the other three were rescued safely around 9:30 p.m., after being held in the synagogue for about 11 hours.

The suspect, identified as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, a British citizen, was killed. It's not yet clear how he died.

RELATED: FBI identifies hostage-taker at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas

Law enforcement has not confirmed a motive for the crime.

“This attack against a sacred community in the middle of such services should be of importance to all people. It is a bedrock principle that all of us, no matter our religion, should be allowed to pray free from fear,” Levin said. “Antisemitism has reached a high-water mark in the United States. The entire country should be alarmed when there is violence at any worship space.” 

The event Tuesday is sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, JEWISHcolorado, and Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors.

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