'Expel Fadel Alkilani': Internet furious over snatching of flags from 9/11 memorial

Fadel Alkilani has defended his actions and spoken about what he referred to as 'a massive harassment campaign'

                            'Expel Fadel Alkilani': Internet furious over snatching of flags from 9/11 memorial
Fadel Alkilani was caught removing US flags from 9/11 memorial (Twitter/@YAF and Instagram/@fadeloh)

People online are calling for the expulsion of Fadel Alkilani, a student senator in Washington University, who allegedly snatched up 2,977 US flags that were meant to commemorate those who died in the 9/11 terror attacks on its 20th anniversary and discarded them in trash bags. Alkilani, who serves as the chairman of the student senate finance committee at the St Louis, Missouri, university, was caught on camera filling blue trash bags with the miniature flags used as part of the ‘9/11: Never Forget Project’ memorial.

Alkilani, meanwhile, has defended his actions and spoken about what he referred to as “a massive harassment campaign propagated primarily by Washington University College Republicans, as well as the national Young America's Foundation.” He said there was “a large amount of misinformation circulating” about the incident that occurred at approximately 6 am on Saturday, September 11.


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“I had no intention of removing the flags from the Mudd Field area,” he said in his statement, “and my full protest did not have the chance to be actualized. My planned protest was to place the bag of flags on Mudd Field along with various statistics explaining the human cost of 9/11 in the past 20 years.” While university officials condemned the act late on Saturday, September 11, they reportedly declined to comment on whether the student would face disciplinary action. However, online, many have asked the university to expel him.

“@WashUChancellor @Fadel Alkilani’s actions were deplorable and unforgivable. Stand up. Do the right thing and expel him for stealing just under 3,000 US flags at a 9-11 memorial and THROWING THEM AWAY,” read one such tweet. Another tweet said, “@WUSTL suspend or expel this student ‘senator’ Fadel Alkilani for their disgusting behavior. Defacing a 9/11 memorial not once, but twice.” One person tweeted, “So why is Fadel Alkilani still a student at your University??? Do the right thing and do not listen to the vocal minority!! EXPEL FADEL!”




Alkilani claimed that he did not “deface, destroy, damage, nor steal any flags, nor did I interfere with any registered event time.” He said that he did not violate any University Code of Conduct policy, “though the conduct process is undergoing,” adding that he was verbally and physically harassed by “numerous WashU students and WUPD officers, whom I plan to report through official channels.”

He explained that following the September 11 attack, Islamophobic hate crimes “have been higher than they ever were before. The United States invaded countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, and over 900,000 people have been killed because of the wars the United States has propagated. 37 million people have been displaced, with some reports stating that number reaches up to 59 million."

"Any memorial of 9/11 that does not contend with these facts is not only incomplete," he said, "but it also amplifies pro-imperialist sentiment and actively disrespects those who have died because of the American Invasion. A memorial that uses US flags is especially insidious, as it does not recognize those who have fallen, but uses a symbol that was on the shoulders of those who are responsible for the deaths of 900,000 people, and uses the innocent lives lost during 9/11 as a political prop upholding American hegemony.”

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