Abrar Omeish: Virginia school board faces calls to ditch member for woke-washing 9/11
'I vote against this today, because our omission of these realities causes harm'
A Virginia school board is now facing various requests to ditch a member who took a moment of silence to mark the anniversary of the terror attacks would cause harm to minorities who faced persecution as a result of the terror attack.
On September 12, 2021, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, members of the Fairfax County School Board entertained a resolution for a moment of silence. It was intended to honor the first responders who endangered their lives to save many lives, as well as the nearly 3,000 victims who lost their lives and those who were injured as a result of the terrorist attacks carried out that day. But board member Abrar Omeish, who has earlier sparked outrage for alleged anti-Semitic remarks and promoting high schoolers to remember 'jihad', voted against the resolution, saying it was not 'anti-racist' and failed to address "state-sponsored traumas."
"I vote against this today, because our omission of these realities causes harm. We're levitating a traumatic event without sufficient cultural competence. The token phrasing around 9/11 is 'Never Forget.' As a nation we remember a jarring event, no doubt, but we chose to forget, as this resolution does, the fear, the ostracization, and the collective blame felt by Arab Americans, American Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus and all brown or other individuals that have been mistaken for Muslims since that day over the past two decades." she said.
"Why are we forgetting the experience of these families, their traumas?' Omeish asked. She later added: "I hope we can include these components in our broader anti-racist, [and] anti-bias work. Her speech saw a rebuke issued by fellow board member Dr. Ricardy Anderson, who accused Omeish of trying to derail a motion that had previously been discussed. Even though Omeish voted against the motion, it was ultimately passed thanks to votes from all other members of the board. It also sparked fury with a parent in attendance. "I'd expect that no parent can speak up to this, we are restricted about how..' she said before she was interrupted by board member Stella Pekarsky who asked her to 'please sit down and stay quiet."
A woman yelled inaudibly and was met with applause from other parents who were sitting in the auditorium. The woman was captured clutching her purse and shouting "Its a sham, its a show, enjoy it!" and then she walked out of the auditorium. Omeish's comments even led to a call from a local paper to censure and remove her from the school board. "As Fairfax County School Board Members, you must immediately issue a public statement separating yourselves from the hateful and callous rhetoric of your colleague and hold Ms. Omeish accountable for her words and actions, once and for all," the Fairfax County Times said in an op-ed.