Virginia School Board Member Opposes Moment Of Silence For Victims Of Hamas Attack
Will Newton for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fairfax County School Board member Abrar Omeish — who in September 2021 opposed a resolution honoring the victims of the 9/11 attacks — opposed a moment of silence for victims of the Hamas attacks.

Omeish’s father, Esam Omeish, has served as director of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, which hired as its imam Anwar al-Awlaki, whom President Barack Obama later ordered killed by a drone strike. The mosque was attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers as well as the shooter in the 2009 attack on Fort Hood, Texas.

“It might seem simple,” Omeish stated. “Aggressors attacking families in a state, seeking vengeance.”

She disparaged the idea of “humanizing” the 1300 Israelis murdered by Hamas, saying, “We often sympathize with and humanize the side that we relate to, the side that looks more like us which our biases guide us towards.”

Israelis physically look as disparate as any nation’s people, whether they come from Ethiopia, Thailand, various Arab nations, or Europe, not to mention Jews who have lived there for centuries.

“But doing so obscures the root of the violence,” she continued, referring to the savage attack by Hamas as an “escalation.” “Centuries of human history teach us that escalations happen when problems are ignored, realities are denied and voices are censored. When one narrative dominates from  the world stage all the way to our classrooms.”

She decried those who called for peace, saying, “We do our students no favors by calling for peace and being unwilling to back what peace requires,” adding, “As the old civil rights adage goes, no justice, no peace.”

In 2021, Omeish opposed a school board resolution calling for a moment of silence marking the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.


While 9/11 was “jarring” and a “historic turning point in our nation’s history,” she said, the resolution failed to address “state-sponsored traumas” to Muslims.

She said she trusted that the Fairfax County Public School’s (FCPS) “equity team will follow up with Dr. Amaarah Decuir and other state advisors whose expertise enlightens us on this topic. I hope we can include these components in our broader anti-racist, anti-bias work.”

Decuir produced a video for the Virginia Department of Education, which is led by Atif Qarni, instructing educators on how to teach about 9/11, which said:

We are not going to reproduce a false assumption of Muslim responsibility for 9/11. We’re just going to begin right there and name that there is no responsibility… We’re also not going to reproduce what’s understood as American exceptionalism… You name what happened and that’s it. There’s no need to further describe it, embellish it, name them, provide details. That’s not relevant… Don’t reproduce a single American narrative, that there’s only one way to understand 9/11.

In June 2021, Omeish gave a graduation speech in which she told a mainly immigrant class of high schoolers that they were entering a world filled with “white supremacy” and encouraged them to remember their “jihad” and reject the concepts of objectivity and neutrality. A photograph shows her as the only person without her hand over her heart during the pledge of allegiance at another graduation ceremony.

Related: School Board Member Whose Father Led 9/11 Hijackers’ Mosque Opposes Resolution Honoring Victims

Luke Rosiak contributed to this story.

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