A member of the same Virginia school board that came under fire for withholding information about students’ scholarships has raised eyebrows by saying the Battle of Iwo Jima, a major US victory against the Japan in World War II, was ‘evil’ and should not have happened.
The comments were made Thursday by Fairfax County board member Abrar Omeish, 28, in reference to the Day of Remembrance, a day of observance for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The holiday occurs on the same calendar day as the first US landings on the island of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945.
Lasting more than a month from February 19 to March 26 of 1945, the battle for the island of Iwo Jima is one of the most famous in the history of the Marine Corps. Nearly 7,000 U.S. Marines from the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions died trying to wrest control of the island from Japan’s Imperial Army of Japan.
Already inciting outrage, the remarks serve are not the first time the 28-year-old board member has come under scrutiny. Elected into office in 2019 at just 24, the Muslim official also has a history of anti-Israel rhetoric, and has candidly said that the district’s admissions policy has an anti-Asian bias.
Her father is also a member of the Board of Directors of a Fairfax mosque where three of the 9/11 hijackers had prayed before carrying out the heinous attacks.
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The comments were made Thursday by 28-year-old board member Abrar Omeish in reference to the Day of Remembrance, a day of observance for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II
Lasting more than a month from February 19 to March 26 of 1945, the battle for the island of Iwo Jima is one of the most famous in the history of the Marine Corps. Nearly 7,000 U.S. Marines died during the bloody, weeks-long battle, which has been memorialized in several movies and films, as well as this iconic piece of photography
‘Just a few days ago was Japanese Day of Remembrance,’ Omeish said Thursday, during a discussion with other board members.
‘Something for us to certainly reflect on… the days when, you know, Iwo Jima unfortunately happened and set a record for really what, I hate to say, human evil is capable of.’
The remarks almost instantly drew backlash – largely due to the fact the district has been on many radars already due to an array of other controversies, including its decision to delay notifying students they had received National Merit Awards.
Having withheld the distinctions as part of a progressive campaign designed to not hurt the feelings of students who did not earn a scholarship – in some cases for up to two years – the district is now facing ire from parents, and is the subject of an investigation by the state’s Attorney General.
Omeish is also the daughter of 55-year-old Esam Omeish, the chief of General Surgery at Inova Alexandria Hospital, and former President of the Muslim American Society (MAS). Essam is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque, also in Fairfax.
The mosque previously employed a man suspected of working with Al-Qaueda. That man, Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed by a US government drone strike, ordered by President Barack Obama, in 2011.
When asked to explain her comments amid the backlash, Omeish – the youngest Muslim woman to serve Virginia as an elected official – appeared to shy away from her characterization of the battle as an example of human evil
Notably, three future September 11 attacks hijackers separately attended al-Awlaki’s sermons in Fairfax in the 1990s and early 2001 before carrying out the terror attacks.
Despite hiring al-Awlaki himself, Omeish’s father was appointed to serve on the Virginia Commission on Immigration in 2016 by State Senator Tim Kaine, but resigned after a video from a 2020 rally showed him calling for support of the ‘jihad way’ as a solution to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.
Speaking on Thursday, Esam’s daughter – the youngest Muslim woman in Virginia to hold elected office – offered an equally crass characterization of one of WWII’s most famous engagements.
Footage of the board member’s statements have since circulated across social media, with one clip shared by an outraged parent drawing more than 60,000 views.
When asked to explain her comments amid the backlash by the Washington Free Beacon, Omeish seemed to backtrack on that reasoning that saw her decry the Battle of Iwo Jima – often shortened to simply Iwo Jima – as an example of human evil.
Omeish is also the daughter of 55-year-old Esam Omeish, the prominent chief of General Surgery at Inova Alexandria Hospital. Essam is also a member of the Board of Directors of a Fairfax Mosque that welcomed three of the 19 9/11 hijackers
Omeish’s mosque previously employed Anwar al-Awlaki,, a man suspected of working with Al-Qaueda. al-Awlaki was killed by a US government drone strike, ordered by President Barack Obama, in Yemen in 2011
‘There is no reason to warp what was said and reading more into it merely reflects biases forced in by the listener,’ Omeish told the conservative news outlet in an emailed statement over the weekend.
She added that she made the remark because the battle ‘fell on the same day’ as the 1942 executive order issued by then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt to incarcerate Japanese Americans, while noting that the order remained in effect ‘even after Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, three years later.’
Omeish, however, did not offer any explanation as to why she characterized Iwo Jima as ‘evil’, brushing off the battle by saying it ‘unfortunately happened.’
The bloody, weeks-long battle saw roughly 7,000 Americans killed and more than 20,000 wounded, and has been memorialized in movies and films such as Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima.
While costly, the victory proved crucial in capturing a strategic base of operations for escort bombers attacking mainland Japan during the tail-end of the war.
It also spawned on of the most iconic pieces of photography from the entire conflict, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, which shows six United States Marines raising the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi during the fighting – during the final stages of the Pacific War.
No notable US veterans’ associations have issued statements on Omeish’s comments – which are not the first to draw controversy.
Late last year, as the school district faced a federal class action suit For violating disabled students’ rights, private text messages revealed Omeish also acknowledged anti-Asian bias in the admissions process for the district’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (pictured)
In May of 2021, a series of anti-Israel social media posts made by the school board member came to light, in which she labeled Israel an ‘apartheid’ state that ‘kills Palestinians.’
Then, late last year, as the school district faced a federal class action suit For violating disabled students’ rights, private text messages revealed Omeish also acknowledged anti-Asian bias in the admissions process for
‘I mean there has been an anti asian feel underlying some of this, hate to say it lol,’ Omeish texted a fellow board member in fall of 2020. ‘They’re discriminated against in this process too.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the Fairfax County School District for comment.