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Diocese of Beaumont unites for Shabbat prayer in wake of North Texas synagogue hostage situation

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"I believe that to love your neighbor, you have to know your neighbor, and the best way is to show them how we pray, and what we do here."

BEAUMONT, Texas — In wake of the synagogue hostage situation in Colleyville last week, the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont Diocese united with our Jewish neighbors for a night of prayer at Temple Emanuel.

The service was held Friday at 6 p.m. The president of Temple Emanuel, Ken Parker, said the gathering was a packed house.

"I believe that to love your neighbor, you have to know your neighbor, and the best way is to show them how we pray, and what we do here," Parker said.

He said he hopes this is the first of many similar interfaith services in the future.

"I know that there's a lot of ignorance for Jews and it's probably the Jews fault that we don't proselytize, but we can sure promote our religion. It's a beautiful religion. We love the same God as the Christians. And I think if we invite our neighbors into the sanctuary we can stop some of the hatred that's going on."

The hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville on Saturday, Jan. 15, lasted nearly 12 hours before it ended shortly before 10 p.m. with all three of the remaining hostages making it out safe. A fourth hostage had been released hours before authorities said a rescue team breached the synagogue.

Federal authorities on Friday gave an update on the investigation, saying that it's being treated as an "act of terrorism" and "federal hate crime."

The suspect died at the scene. He was identified a day later as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, a British citizen. 

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