Controversial school board member endorsed curriculum that removes ‘Islamic terror’ from 9/11 history lessons






A Fairfax, Virginia, school board member recommended curriculum materials for teachers to use for their lesson plans which opposed using terms such as “radical Islamic terror,” “Islamic terrorists” and “jihadists” when discussing the history of the Sept. 11 attacks. 

Abrar Omeish is a school board member and Georgetown law student who has become marred in controversy over a series of controversial statements. In one instance, she refused to vote on a motion to commemorate 9/11 victims. 

Fox News Digital found that in 2021 Omeish recommended public school teachers use a “culturally responsive” curriculum guide for their lesson plans about 9/11 history. 

It said, “Do not frame the lessons as a chance to explore the definition of terrorism or a clash of two different societies/cultures.” 

Photo on the left: Fairfax County School Board member Abrar Omeish. Photo on the right: Radical Islamic terrorists attack the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.  (Fairfax County Public Schools | Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“There is much disagreement about what terrorism means, and it’s often used in a biased manner,” the guide continued. 

Teachers should screen themselves for biases against Arab-Muslims using an online test before educating students on 9/11, it recommended. To create a “safe space” teachers should “wear cultural items from Muslim countries as a show of support (e.g., scarf).”

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Abrar Omeish tweets in support of curriculum guide for teachers' lesson plans in Fairfax on the day before 9/11.

Abrar Omeish tweets in support of curriculum guide for teachers’ lesson plans in Fairfax on the day before 9/11. (Twitter/screemshot)

In order to be “culturally responsive,” teachers should focus “on the impact of 9/11 on communities of color, including Muslim Americans,” the guide said. 

Teachers should bring up “Islamophobia at the structural level (policies that were enacted at national, state, and local levels) and individual level (policies at the individual level, outside of government).”

“Muslim communities… responses of resilience but also depression and anxiety” should also be raised about the topic. 

New York City police officer salutes at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. 

New York City police officer salutes at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.  (David Handschuh-Pool/Getty Images)

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Fox News Digital reached out to Omeish for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Omeish was accused of attacking 9/11 victims after she refused to vote on a resolution to honor the lives of 2,977 Americans killed by al-Qaida terrorists on 9/11. 

The resolution was not “anti-racist” enough and failed to address “state-sponsored traumas” experienced by Muslims, she appeared to suggest. A local Fairfax County editorial board called the rhetoric “callous.”

The local GOP called for Omeish’s ouster, stating, “Her cruel attacks on the memory of 9/11’s victims and heroes should be the last straw. They were not just incredibly tone deaf — they were vicious and, frankly, anti-American.”

Firefighters make their way over the ruins through clouds of smoke as work continues at ground zero in New York, one month after the attacks on the World Trade Center, October 11, 2001. 

Firefighters make their way over the ruins through clouds of smoke as work continues at ground zero in New York, one month after the attacks on the World Trade Center, October 11, 2001.  (REUTERS/Stan Honda/POOL )

Omeish said, “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.” 

“Why are we forgetting the experience of these families, their traumas?’ Omeish asked. “I hope we can include these components in our broader anti-racist, [and] anti-bias work.” 

A firefighter breaks down after the World Trade Center buildings collapsed September 11, 2001 after two hijacked airplanes slammed into the twin towers in a terrorist attack. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A firefighter breaks down after the World Trade Center buildings collapsed September 11, 2001 after two hijacked airplanes slammed into the twin towers in a terrorist attack. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Omeish was also named in a complaint to the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights by the Zionist Organization of America on anti-Semitism in Fairfax. The DOE agreed to investigate anti-Semitism in Fairfax as a result of the letter. 

In May 2021, Omeish tweeted that Israel “desecrates the Holy Land” and engages in “apartheid and colonization” as its civilian areas were bombarded with Hamas rockets.

“Anyone who thinks Israel is an apartheid state is either historically illiterate with no understanding of how apartheid operated in South Africa or is willfully lying in the name of demonizing Israel. Some Fairfax County residents demanded the School Board censure Omeish for her comments,” Virginia’s 11th Congressional District GOP Chairman Michael Ginsberg told Fox News. 

Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept rockets fired from Gaza Strip, near Sderot, Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept rockets fired from Gaza Strip, near Sderot, Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The executive director of the pro-school choice EdReform Virginia, Nathan Brinkman, said the woke agenda Omeish is pushing shows the importance of school choice: 

“To be fair, some families might actually want Omeish’s ‘woke’ social justice worldview to inform their kids’ education. That would be fine, as long as the rest of us are free to send our kids — and our kids’ educational tax dollars — to schools that reflect our values, too.”

On Thursday, and soon after the 78th anniversary of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima, Omeish called the battle “unfortunate” and “evil” during a school board meeting. 

The Battle of Iwo Jima – which lasted from Feb. 19 to March 26, 1945 – was a significant victory for the U.S. during World War II. Nearly 7,000 American service members were killed while trying to capture the island from Japan.

View of members of the United States Marine Corps 5th Division as they raise an American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945. 

View of members of the United States Marine Corps 5th Division as they raise an American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945.  (Photo by Joe Rosenthal/Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“Just a few days ago was Japanese Day of Remembrance,” Omeish said during the meeting. “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.”

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Following the controversy over her remarks, Omeish released a statement to Fox News.

“I would like to set the record straight,” she said. “Before the battle at Iwo Jima in Feb 1945, Japan knew it could not defend the island, but its Government still demanded its military forces to fight to the death. Even though Lieutenant General Kuribayashi knew there was no possibility of winning the battle, Prime Minster Hideki Tojo sent him on a suicidal mission to inflict as many casualties as possible on allied forces and to never surrender. The unnecessary spilling of blood was not right.”

“At the same time, our own Government also knew in Feb 1945 that the overwhelming number of 120,000 incarcerated Japanese Americans posed no threat to American security,” she added. “By that time, the Japanese American 442 Infantry Regiment was already well on its way to becoming the most decorated American military unit in WWII. The refusal of our own Government to release the Japanese prisoners was and should continue to be condemned. Our government’s actions were also not right. During the school board meeting, I mentioned both points to nuance our discussion regarding these events.”

Fox News’ Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report. 








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