Fadel Alkilani: Student leader removes 3K US flags from 9/11 memorial in viral clip
A student senator in Washington University 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.
Fadel Alkilani serves as the chairman of the student senate finance committee at the St Louis, Missouri university. He was caught on camera filling blue trash bags with the miniature flags used as part of the 9/11: Never Forget Project memorial. University officials condemned the act late Saturday, September 11, but declined to comment on whether the student would face disciplinary action, per student newspaper Student Life.
Alkilani was confronted by a cameraman in a video posted to Twitter by Young America's Foundation. "Who are you?" Alkilani is heard asking Nathaniel Hope, a member of the university's College Republicans, who was filming the vile act. Hope said Alkilani showed "no remorse" and claimed the flags were in "violation of school rules". He told YAF, "I did not violate any university or legal policy. Now go away."
Alkilani is said to have boasted about his actions on Twitter, where his account has since been set to private. The student leader reportedly claimed the move was in "protest against American imperialism and the 900,000 lives lost as a result of post 9/11 war." Meanwhile, on Instagram, he complained about the condemnation he received as the story made the rounds on social media.
"Republicans (are) attacking me in the replies," Alkilani wrote as he shared a post from Washington University's Instagram account. He subsequently posted a statement on social media, saying "there is currently a massive harassment campaign propagated primarily by Washington University College Republicans, as well as the national Young American's Foundation (YAF) regarding an incident that occurred around 6 am on Saturday, September 11, 2021." He denied he was stealing flags from the campus and claimed there was a "large amount of misinformation circulating".
In a statement to Student Life, WU College Republicans president Nick Rodriguez called for Alkilani's immediate expulsion. "At a minimum, I believe he should be removed from both SU [student union] and his [resident adviser] position, as what does it say to be a top American institution, and have yourself represented by a student leader who has no respect for property, campus traditions or the remembrance of thousands of lost lives," Rodriguez wrote. "Today is about remembering the tragedy, 20 years ago to the day, not to make a political statement. Any reason he can conjure to remove the flags I find ludicrous."
Julie Flory, the university's vice chancellor for marketing and communications, addressed the incident in a statement to the student newspaper. "We were disappointed to learn about the disruption to the 9/11 display on Mudd Field," the statement read. "We condemn the interference with the expression of support by the College Republicans for the victims of the national tragedy that took place 20 years ago today."
Students said that Alkilani had tried to destroy the memorial a night prior on Friday itself, but campus police stopped him from doing so. Fox News reached out to Alkilani, Washington University, and campus police, but hadn't received a response at the time of writing.