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School board member encourages kids to remember ‘jihad’ in graduation speech

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A school board member called on graduating high school students to remember ‘jihad’ at their commencement as she warned they were entering a world of, ‘racism, extreme versions of individualism and capitalism, [and] white supremacy.’   

Abrar Omeish, the sole Muslim member on the Fairfax County School Board, in Virginia, addressed the graduating students of Justice High School on June 7.

In English, she told them that: ‘The world sees the accolade, the diploma, the fruit of all your years yet be reminded of the detail of your struggle.’ 

But when she repeated the speech in Arabic, she told students to remember their ‘jihad’ – meaning holy war waged on behalf of Islam, according to Merriam Webster. It can also mean a crusade for a principle or belief. 

The progressive board member, who was previously called to resign for her anti-Israel tweet, also told the graduating class that they were entering a world ruled by white supremacy and capitalism. 

‘We struggle with human greed, racism, extreme versions of individualism and capitalism, white supremacy growing wealth gaps, disease, climate crisis extreme poverty amidst luxury and waste right next door, and the list goes on,’ she told the group, who she referred to as the ‘Justice Class of 2021.’  

Abrar Omeish, the sole Muslim member of a school board in Virginia told graduating students at Justice High School to remember the ‘jihad’ of their upbringing at their commencement on June 7

‘The world may try to quiet you by deciding for you what’s cool, what’s weird, what is or isn’t objective. It may try to convince you that what you hold dear is too different to be accepted. But who gets to decide? 

‘You are walking into a world that will be uncomfortable when you seek to cause good trouble. And that may seek to intimidate you or make you think the truth is controversial,’ she said.

‘Every part of your being may scream in rage at the ways others have wronged you,’ but ‘let compassion for your fellow human beings, not anger or rage — and believe me this is hard to do — fuel you.’ 

Omeish has touted various progressive initiatives at the school such as a Black History Month assembly, that ensured, she said, ‘that we confront our history and answer honestly about the ills of our past.’

Others included the school’s first-time recognition of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year, and the school’s Equity Club, which she said had become a standard in the Fairfax School District.

She also sparked controversy recently for her tweet attacking Israel.

On May 13, she posted: ‘Hurts my heart to celebrate while Israel kills Palestinians & desecrates the Holy Land right now. 

‘Apartheid & colonization were wrong yesterday and will be today, here and there.’

Omeish recently faced controversy and calls for her to resign for a tweet critical of Israel

Omeish recently faced controversy and calls for her to resign for a tweet critical of Israel 

The tweet sparked such strong backlash that the Fairfax County Republican Committee called on Omeish to resign.

Instead, she refused and hit out at her ‘haters’ calling them a ‘different breed’ of cheerleader. 

‘No matter how many haters emerge, I’m sure you’ve encountered them yourselves, and believe me they’re a sign you’re unsettling the status quo towards justice,’ she said. 

‘Just consider them your cheerleaders of another breed. When they try to bury you, remind them you are a seed.’ 

The Daily Mail reached out to Omeish for comment. 

In 2017 the Fairfax school board voted to change the school name from J.E.B. Stuart High School to Justice, despite a school community survey that overwhelmingly favored keeping the school’s original name. Omeish was elected to the board in 2019. 

Omeish touted various progressive initiatives at the school and said she hoped the students would act as vehicles to bring them into the world

Omeish touted various progressive initiatives at the school and said she hoped the students would act as vehicles to bring them into the world

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