A member of the Fairfax County School Board in Virginia — who told graduating high school students to remember their “jihad” in 2021 — called the World War II U.S. invasion of Iwo Jima “unfortunate” and a “record” for what “human evil is capable of.”
The Allied invasion of Iwo Jima in World War II — in which roughly 7,000 Americans died — occurred on February 19, 1945, and inspired the iconic photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press showing six U.S. Marines raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi. That photo was the only photo to ever win the Pulitzer Prize the same year it was published, and later inspired the Marine War Corps memorial, dedicated to honoring all Marines who have died in the service since 1775.
County school board member Abrar Omeish, speaking of the Day of Remembrance, which memorializes the Japanese-Americans interned during World War II, stated, “Just a few days ago was Japanese Day of Remembrance. Something for us to certainly reflect on as we learn our history and think about it. 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. So that’s something to remember.”
Asked to clarify her remarks, Omeish said, “There is no reason to warp what was said and reading more into it merely reflects biases forced in by the listener,” adding that Iwo Jima “happens to fall on the same day” as the 1942 executive order issued from Franklin D. Roosevelt to incarcerate Japanese-Americans.
In May 2021, Omeish tweeted that Israel was an “apartheid” state that “kills Palestinians.”
“This caused huge outrage among over 250,000 Jewish Americans here in northern Virginia, and it sparked outrage across all political lines and there were calls for her to apologize. She offered no apology. She doubled down on it,” one Fairfax County parent said.
In June 2021, giving the keynote address at the commencement for Justice High School in Falls Church, Virginia, Omeish declared, “Our world is overwhelmed with need. We struggle with human greed, racism, extreme versions of individualism and capitalism, White supremacy, growing wealth gaps, disease, climate crisis, extreme poverty amid luxury and waste right next door. And the list goes on,” Omeish said.
“The world sees the accolade, the diploma, the fruit of all your years yet be reminded of the detail of your struggle,” she told the students in English. When she gave the speech in Arabic, she used the Arabic word “jihad” for struggle.
Related: Dem Tells High School Grads They’re Entering A World Of “Capitalism” and “White Supremacy,” Encourages Them To Remember “Jihad” And Reject Objectivity