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Muslim school board member was against 9/11 tribute, wanted teachers screened for Islamophobia

The Georgetown Law student’s preferred curriculum also recommended teachers wear ‘cultural items’ from Muslim countries to create a ‘safe space’

A Muslim Georgetown University Law student, who also serves as an at-large school board member for the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, is facing blowback for statements and actions related to 9/11.

According to Fox News, Abrar Omeish (pictured) once “refused to vote” on a motion to honor victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, and had recommended a 9/11 curriculum which did not include the terms “radical Islamic terror,” “Islamic terrorists” and “jihadists.”

This “culturally responsive” curriculum states “There is much disagreement about what terrorism means, and it’s often used in a biased manner,” and says teachers “should screen themselves for biases against Arab-Muslims using an online test” before teaching about that fateful date.

It also recommends teachers “wear cultural items from Muslim countries” like a scarf to help create a “safe space” for  students, and that teachers focus “on the impact of 9/11 on communities of color, including Muslim Americans.”

Omeish had voted against the 9/11 commemoration due to it not being “anti-racist enough” and said the tribute “failed to address ‘state-sponsored traumas’ experienced by Muslims.”

MORE: High school bags 9/11 tribute because some might find it ‘offensive’

She stated:

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.

Omeish also described World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima as “unfortunate” and “evil.” She later clarified the comments, focusing on Japan’s Lieutenant General Kuribayashi and Prime Minster Tojo and saying “the unnecessary spilling of blood was not right.”

But Omeish added that “at the same time” our own government had interned 120,000 Japanese Americans: “The refusal of our own Government [sic] to release the Japanese prisoners was and should continue to be condemned.”

According to her Georgetown Law profile, Omeish worked as “senior organizer” at the Democratic National Committee, served as a spokesperson for the “#NoMuslimBanEver campaign” and was Virginia co-chair for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Omeish’s school board page notes she once served as a substitute teacher in Fairfax County’s schools, and believes “in the importance of holistic education– a framework that looks at the well-being of a child not only academically but also socioemotionally, mentally, intellectually, physically, spiritually, morally, and civicly.”

MORE: Law prof argues student who yanked 9/11 flags was just engaging in free speech

IMAGE: Fairfax County Public Schools/YouTube screencap

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